There’s been a shift as of late, a space being made for someone new. I’ve met someone. And as I dip my toes into the feelings of “new relationship” – rushes of dopamine, hints of love drunkenness, and joys over the tiniest anything and everything – I watch myself. Curiously, critically (I am me, after all), and reflectively. I watch what I do and how I act. I wonder.

Am I love bombing?

Am I trauma bonding?

Am I doing that codependency-affection-flooding thing?

Am I going to mess this up, too? (she says, always laying blame inevitably at her feet)

Am I going to turn into my mom – again? (… see above)

I worry, as worrying is me, and poking with ALL the questions at ALL the things with ALL the thoughts is what I do.

I wish to not elaborate here on the answers to the questions above, however, as the answers to all of them are no (when I’m in my right mind, that is, however rarely that may be).

There is something that I keep coming back to though. It’s an excerpt from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernières, which reads:

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

During the last five or so years of my marriage, I thought of this quote often. Every time it came up on Facebook memories, I re-posted it. Be it to justify and make pretty the reality of my dying marriage, or to cling to it out of hope that where we were at was normal, this quote saw me through. All of our love had burned away, but we had roots. I couldn’t see at the time that those were roots of habit, stubbornness, predictability, and convenience, however. Roots that when finally given a proper looking at practically crumbled, but that’s a story for another time.

These days, I look to this quote in light anew. It is not the roots of it upon which I reflect this time around (there hasn’t been time yet for those roots to grow), it’s the temporary madness. It’s the breathlessness. It’s the passion. It’s awareness that these are times of pretty blooms.  It’s the curious inquiry as to how one helps those pretty blooms last longer. It’s the realization that I am (happily) one of those fools, but at the same time, possessing of agency and mindfulness this time around to better support and guide the narrative, choice, and decision.

It’s hope. It’s open eyes. It’s excitement. It’s tempering. It’s adoration. It’s balance. It’s foresight.


Something I would have given anything to have those sixteen years ago.  

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