No, falling in love isn’t always fun, but sometimes, the people we mistakenly fall for aren’t mistakes at all. They can teach us something important about ourselves- if we’re ready for the lesson.
1. The person who doesn’t fall back in love with you.
This is just going to be brutal, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it to make it less so. This is the time in your life when all your family and friends are going to descend on you like a pack of well-meaning vultures to gnaw the last bits of patience from your emotional bones, telling you about how not a big deal it all is. But the thing is, it’s an enormous deal. When you love someone and they don’t love you back, there is probably no worse feeling in the whole world. And all you can do is ride it out. I would say to take comfort in the knowledge that we’ve all been there, but when it’s happening to you, you could not care less what everyone else has been through.
2. The person you follow.
Whether it’s into another career path, another school, or another country, you are going to follow someone. There is going to be a point at which you are the perfect mix of not quite so sure what’s happening in your own life and head over heels with this person who is sure, and you’re going to find yourself living in Berlin for six months because the dick was just too bomb (or because you love the way they laugh, I don’t know your life). It could either end up being the change which kicks your life off in a completely new and amazing direction, or it could be the time you wasted two grand on a round-trip plane ticket to go to a school you drop out of after half a semester. You really can’t know until you do it.
3. The person you stop loving for no reason.
You just wake up one day and are fully grossed out by their presence in your bed. They didn’t do anything in particular to make you feel this way — it’s absolutely not their fault — but all of a sudden it feels like their fingers are entirely covered with a thin film of Cheeto dust and every time they touch you your whole body shudders with discomfort. You have just fallen out of love, and there is no more satisfying explanation than that. And it will be so weird, because only days before, you were deeply into everything. You may have even still been in the “they’re even sexy when they blow their nose” phase of infatuation. But when it’s done, it’s done, and you know it.
4. The person who doesn’t love themselves.
It will be like loving a brick wall. You are head over heels enamored with everything they are, and all they can see is this ugly collection of flaws and how undeserving they are of your love. It’s like when you hear the most amazing song and you show it to someone you love and you’re looking at them all expectantly like “Isn’t this song fucking life-changing huh huh huh” and they’re like, “Meh, it’s okay, I guess,” and you just want to commit suicide then and there. It’s just completely incomprehensible, as the pleasure centers in your brain which have fallen in love need for this love to be shared and understood and appreciated. But this person won’t be capable. And you can’t save them. You’ll start by thinking you can love them enough for two people — perhaps the world’s most futile endeavor, next to untagging unflattering photos which have already appeared on everyone’s news feed — only to realize that learning to love themselves is a journey they have to make on their own (or possibly with a shrink).
5. The person who proves you wrong.
You will go into it thinking that you aren’t ready to fall in love. You will think that it’s not the right time, that you’ve just had your heart broken, that the shop is closed for the time being. And then all of a sudden, without realizing what has happened, you will be hovering over your cellphone waiting for a mid-workday sext with a fervor usually reserved for deep-sea crabs in a feeding frenzy on a fresh whale carcass. You will be more pressed than the thinnest panini, and you didn’t even see it coming. They will make you question everything you were so sure about, and you’ll hate them for it, but let’s be real — you’ll also kind of love them.
Introduction by Raven Fon