Sometimes we have our first while we are young, even in high school. It’s the kind of idealistic love that reminds us of the fairytales we used to read as children.

This is the type of love that motivates us to act in the best interests of society and, more than likely, our family. We go in with the conviction that this will be our one and only love, and we don’t care if it doesn’t feel quite right or if we have to swallow our own truths in order for it to work because we know in our hearts that this is how love is supposed to be.

Because in this form of love, how others see us is more important than how we genuinely feel.

It’s a love that seems fitting.

The second is supposed to be our “hard love,” the one that teaches us valuable lessons about who we are and how often we crave or require attention. It doesn’t matter if it’s done through pain, deception, or manipulation—this kind of love hurts.

Although we want to think that the decisions we make now are different from those we made in the past, the truth is that we make them all the time in order to learn from our mistakes. Our second love may become a cycle that we constantly repeat because we believe the outcome will be different this time. Regardless of how hard we try, things always turn out worse.

It can be destructive, out of balance, or even narcissistic at times. Manipulation, emotional, mental, or even physical abuse may occur; there will most likely be a lot of drama. The emotional rollercoaster of strong highs and lows in this plot is exactly what keeps us hooked because, like an addict seeking a fix, we endure the lows in anticipation of the high.

This form of love prioritizes working to make things work above whether they should or not.

It was exactly the kind of love we desired.

The third is unexpected affection. The one who frequently defies our previous views of what love should be and makes us feel absolutely inadequate about ourselves. This is the kind of love that looks unreal because it comes so naturally. It’s the kind that takes us by surprise because we weren’t expecting it and the link is enigmatic.

There are no ideal standards for how each individual should behave, nor is there any compulsion to become someone other than who we are. This is the type of love that occurs when we meet someone and it just seems right.

It shakes us to our core that we are just accepted for who we are.

Perhaps not everyone has the opportunity to fall in love during their lifetime, but that could simply be because they are not ready. Perhaps the fact is that in order to comprehend what love is, we must first comprehend what it is not.

Then there are those who have a single passionate love affair that lasts until the end of their life. Those old, fading images of our grandparents walking hand in hand at 80, looking just as in love as they did in their wedding portrait, make us wonder if we even know how to love.

It does not necessarily follow that something will not work out now simply because it has not in the past.

What counts most is whether we can love without bounds or whether we are limited in our ability to do so. We all have the option of staying with our first love, the one who pleases everyone while also looking gorgeous. We can choose to believe in the third love or to continue with our second because we believe that if we don’t have to work for it, it’s not worth having.

And it’s that possibility that warrants trying again whenever feasible since you never know when you’ll come across love.

You revealed qualities of myself that I was ignorant of, and I rediscover a love in which I had lost hope.