I cried. Hard. Not because we ended but because I realized Love would never feel like that again. My mother just finished explaining to me that First Love is the combination of new feelings and naiveté, ignorance and innocence. She’d meant it to comfort me. But I found no solace in that revelation. I knew too much now, I’d grown too much now, and that would keep me from Loving another man again. At least in that I-don’t-really-know-any-better-never-ever-felt-heartbreak kind of way that I had Loved him. And that Love felt so damn good. Now, I was Danity Kane damaged. With Erykah Badu baggage. So my half-hearted attitude towards dating someone else seemed completely justified! What was the point if I’d never get that old thing back? Could my next Love give me even half of what he’d given me? Would I always compare each new suitor to him? Ignorance really was bliss.
People always want to meet that one right he or she and fall in Love. But the keyword is fall–meaning it’s a fluke, a freak accident even. Like when you fall down the stairs (and who wants to do that on purpose?). But it’s because we don’t understand that it doesn’t start and end with First Love. First Love is simply the doorway to a much bigger and greater Second Love. And do you know why Second Love is better? Because you don’t fall in it. You choose it. You make a conscious decision and an intentional effort to Love and be Loved. Now, don’t misunderstand me. This doesn’t mean that First Love and Second Love have to occur with different people–a First Love can easily transition to a Second Love–but a First Love and a Second Love need to have different mindsets. A person in Second Love understands that Love isn’t a good enough reason to be together. Love doesn’t make a relationship work. And staying in Love for an extended period of time takes effort–because sometimes you have to show Love even when you don’t feel it. I couldn’t possibly understand back then that I would never feel for another man what I had felt for Mr. Lies-About-Everything because I’d never be that
insanely stupid naive again. My ignorance about my own needs and wants in a relationship made that First Love feel so great. I didn’t realize once I knew better, I’d do better. Heartbreak taught me to give my heart away with caution. The failure of our pairing proved that Love doesn’t always work like superglue. And I discovered the Love for a significant other often infringes upon the Love for self in an unhealthy twosome. I’ve never really been the kind of girl that makes the same mistake twice. As they say–fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m busting windows out your car. So to keep from becoming a bitter caricature of my former self, I took my sour batch of First Love lemons and turned them into sweet Second Love-ade.
Many of you park it in First Love and keep paying the meter simply because you’re afraid someone else will get your spot (missed pt. 1? check it out here). It’s in the lot but it’s not even the best spot in the lot. You still have to get out and walk a good ways. You’ve had opportunities to move closer but you stay glued to that one space–convince yourself you need the exercise. If you move and someone else gets to the new spot before you do, then what? And God forbid someone else takes your old spot. Then you’ll have no space in Love at all. So you never move and you never grow. Because someone told you that it’s better parked somewhere in Love than out on the street. But what you don’t know is that the Second Love lot waits a few blocks further down, closer to your dreams. And you’ll only discover it when you give up your spot here. You can only find it after you’ve done a little street parking.
Second Love, much like First Love, is a place. You can get here with the same person you got to First Love with or you can find a new passenger. This time, it doesn’t really matter who you’re riding with or who you are while you’re riding, but how you’re riding. Do you keep two hands on the wheel, alert and uptight? Or do you drive with your feet, reckless and inattentive? You have to take what you’ve learned about yourself in First Love and make it work for you in Second Love. It is a cerebral Love. It is a responsible Love. It is an evolving Love. It is NOT self-seeking. Second Love acts as the relationship land of milk and honey–meaning you can find the maximum relationship satisfaction here. And its inhabitants live by a simple mantra: Love, Learn, Grow. Unlike First Love, Second Love has a deeper, spiritual purpose. It lives to help you do what you couldn’t do alone. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there’s any average age people experience this because I believe many of us never make it to the promised land. As marriage rates decrease and divorce rates increase in the black community, it seems most of us get stuck somewhere between First Love lot and street parking. But I assure you that this place exists because–I’m here.
If You Lived In Second Love, You’d Be Home Now
Now I’m not trying to toot my own carhorn. I haven’t been here long. And I still have a lot to learn about living life here. But I made it because I found someone willing to grow with me, someone who addresses issues head-on, and someone who falls in line with my purpose in life. We don’t run on pure Love power, we run on Purpose power. I Love Mr. Right-For-Now. But that’s not why we’re together. We both understand that Love isn’t enough. So we’re together only because we can soar much higher helping each other than if we were flying solo. I’ve supported Mr. Right-For-Now in his quest to become a Certified Public Accountant. He supports my dream of getting my PhD. And when I say support I don’t mean we both said to each other “I support you”. I mean bona fide support which includes sacrifice–the kind of sacrifices you can’t/won’t make in self-absorbed First Love. I entertain myself and find new things to do when Mr. Right-For-Now can’t spend time with me because he’s studying. Mr. Right-For-Now plans to move away from his family so he can follow me to Atlanta where I’ll be attending graduate school. I do it for him and us. He does it for me and us. There’s no “I” anymore in Second Love. Everything is about the good of the unit. This may sound foreign to many of you. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s okay to be selfish. But it’s my belief that two people in a power couple have to take turns sacrificing in order for each person to reach his or her full potential. Like Michelle and Barack. Nicole and Boris. Will and Jada. Otherwise, they’re just–well–a regular couple. Think about it.