I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how love has changed for me. I look back on the way I felt about people and past relationships and think about how much I have learned and grown. The way I saw love in high school for example, is entirely different than the way I do now. I loved blindly. The main difference I’ve been trying to wrap my head around is the connection between loving with your head and your heart. When I first felt love, it was entirely with my heart. It was based solely on a connection. It is kind of endearing to look back on in a way. Loving without reservations. This isn’t to say I don’t get those feelings anymore and don’t find them important. I think it’s okay that the first loves that enter our life are sometimes built on just that simple connection. Because when it ends, we learn something about ourselves and are that much closer to discovering what kind of love fits into our lives.

The way that love has changed for me is that I love with my head and my heart now.  Saying this might make it sound like I love strategically, and don’t follow my heart. That isn’t at all what I mean. I’ve found that my head and my heart have finally decided to think in sync and it’s great. Take deal breakers for instance. I think this is the easiest way to get this point across. If you know that there is something you need in a relationship, and that person can’t provide it I think there is a little spark set off in both your head and your heart.

I also like to think of people I liked in high school that never really worked out. If those same people walked into my life today, would I still go for it? Would I still like them? For some, yes. For others, absolutely not. It seems so stupid to me the way I used to love, without hesitation. But when I think about it, it was important. When my first serious relationship ended, I was devastated. It took me a long time to get over as many of them do. As I moved from grieving about the relationship to accepting what happened, I started to see not only why it ended but why it was necessary it ended. There were so many inconsistencies existing in our relationship that would never have fixed. I was naive. I thought that loving someone was enough. The truth is, loving someone isn’t enough. Not if these inconsistencies exist. But I never would have really learned this if I hadn’t loved him.

And that has changed love for me. I know I need someone who is excited about life. I need someone with a sense of humor. I need someone who doesn’t judge me for being obsessed with The Bachelor series. My brain and my heart have realized this. This has made love so much better for me. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a “type” now but I know more of what qualities I need in a relationship. That initial connection is still important but knowing what I want and need has made love so much more special to me. It feels healthier and more natural. This might seem like such an obvious concept but it took trial and error for me to see it. It took falling in love with someone blindly in order for me to fall with my eyes wide open. And it’s made love that much more exciting.