Does Love Fade as We Grow Older?


I used to fall hard. Those all encompassing loves that take your priorities and replace them with himhimhim -- your internal voice becoming a narration of everything you can't wait to tell each other, every moment lived without their witness wasted.

That kind of love can ruin your life.

So it's not without mixed feelings I wonder whether I'm capable of that anymore. I've become hesitant, skeptical -- less likely to jump into something and quicker to write someone off when I do, reasoning myself out of emotions then intellectualizing my failure to feel.

It's been almost 10 years. We spent every night together from the day we met. I put off recording my first record and moved to a new neighborhood, made new friends, rejected what separated us to reinforce our union and diminish our individuality.

It took six months to realize we were living different fantasies and another six to admit they were incompatible. Though I'm embarrassed I could have let that happen, I long to be so moved again.

If we were capable of such complete devotion it's because we were innocents who'd never been hurt and had no reason not to trust our instincts, like the young Romeo and Juliet. Their suicides were tragic because they had so much ahead of them but who would want a normal life after such intensity? Their actions were stupid, inexcusable and utterly beautiful.

However, we were also inexperienced, insecure and eager to have that "great love" -- the one place our fantasies converged. It may have been an illusion but it was no less intense. I've dated far more appropriate guys since but am yet to experience the same feeling, like an addict trying to recreate that first high while knowing it's toxic:

Is adult love a pale replica of our first romance?

I asked this on Facebook and though most responded with similar cynicism there were a few stories of love found late in life. It may be the exception but these romances were the real deal, these people knew themselves when they met and couldn't pretend to be anyone else -- for the sake of maintaining their own fantasies or that of a lover's. If youthful passion is based on mutual deception then these adult romances were the meetings of individuals to stand side by side, not merge into oblivion.

My consolation is that though I sometimes miss the intensity with which I used to fall in love I don't miss the relationships themselves -- they were exhausting, distracting and tumultuous. With clear eyes and a strong sense of self it may be harder to passionately idealize a stranger but I'm now ready to recognize a compatible companion should he come my way.

It may be less common to fall in love as we mature but it is a different kind I now look forward to -- one between two fully realized individuals who see each other as they are, not two children playing house and daydreaming right past each other.