“You know, I really love you! If I could just cut myself open to show you how much in love I am! Only if I could make you touch this thing in me, you would believe me. I had never hoped this would happen to me.” The first time my partner said these words to me, I was sitting with him in his bed looking at him. I could see how vulnerable he was. He was smitten. The only problem was—I strongly believed love takes time to develop.
I’m not one of those people who fall in love at the drop of the hat or is ready to be in a relationship, the moment a man makes me feel cherished or wanted. I take my time with these things, testing the waters, processing my own feelings, before concluding that I am ready for love.
True Love Takes Time To Develop
For me, love takes time to develop. So when he sprung this on me, I naturally freaked out. I wanted to run out of his house, jump into a bus, delete his number, block him on social media, go back to my room and cry into my pillow.
My last relationship ended a year ago, with my ex-partner begging me not to leave him and saying that he wouldn’t be able to bear it. He kept reiterating that he would do anything just to be with me. He was undoubtedly deeply and desperately in love with me. But I wasn’t, and sadly, he didn’t know that. We never discussed it openly but I’m beginning to realize that perhaps we should have.
I didn’t have what it takes to be in love but I kept things going for the sake of it. I should have just told him that I firmly believed love takes time to develop and I just was not in that place with him yet. But I did just the opposite and convinced him otherwise. Instead, I would always end our calls with the customary ‘love you’. I would always kiss him goodbye. I would buy him flowers and chocolates for Valentine’s Day and take him out on his birthday for a slow boat ride.
I decided to tell him the truth one day
Realizing that love wasn’t coming to me, that maybe he wasn’t the right person for me and that he deserved someone who could love him truly, I finally decided to tell him abruptly over dinner one night that I didn’t love him and suggested parting ways as amicably as possible. When I told him the truth, he couldn’t believe that I didn’t love him and that it was the cause of us splitting up.
He thought there was something else, perhaps someone else that I was actually interested in. He accused me of cheating and wanting to leave him to pursue that. He also wondered if it was something that he had done wrong and tried to talk it out with me. ‘What can I do differently baby? Please tell me,’ he kept repeating.
But soon, things hit the roof and he started losing it. He took a Nux Vomica seed I’d picked up from my med school and ran away to swallow it and die. It was a bit of a shocker, but thankfully, he was okay and that chapter was soon closed.
I am convinced that love takes time to grow
So when my current partner said that he loved me immensely, I was afraid and overwhelmed by his confession. I realized that I didn’t want to leave someone I really liked so much, even though I couldn’t give him what he rightly deserved—my love.
I’d never known love like this or felt love like it is shown in the movies—watching that beautiful face in a crowd and suddenly being unable to think about anything else, yearning for someone’s touch. I’d never felt what people call love at first sight. I never felt acute gushes of strong emotions for anyone. Love isn’t magical and love at first sight is a complete myth. It is an emotion to be cherished but it doesn’t blossom in a vacuum or even at the spur of the moment. Love takes time to grow.
Was something wrong with me?
I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. I thought maybe because of the inherent cynicism I wasn’t able to locate love in me. Perhaps, because I grew up witnessing conflict at home, I couldn’t relate to love. Maybe there was something neurologically aberrant in me, that I was some kind of beast maybe?
After hearing his confession, I wanted to run as far as I could but I didn’t. He gauged that I didn’t reciprocate and how overwhelming his sudden love for me was, for we had met only a few days back. He knew that I needed time and space, that love doesn’t necessarily come in the same form and ways for everyone, and for some, love takes its own time to grow and bloom.
He understood me
He explained that it was alright if I didn’t love him yet, at this very moment. Instead of jumping from one person to another looking for fabled love, I should give myself some time.
It is true and I believe in this strongly. Emotions that erupt like volcanoes don’t survive long if they are not anchored by something solid and fed by kindness and warmth. This is why I deeply believe that love takes time to develop and is not some train that is leaving the station.
It took months for me. Often I met other people who fascinated me, people I thought could become a part of my life and all of them passed by like seasons. I went on plenty of first dates but none of them showed me what it takes to be in love. What indeed was constant though, was my past love and his unbound patience.
I guess I had one major learning from this entire experience that I would like to share. You don’t have to accept anyone’s definition of what love is and how it should happen in one’s life. Sometimes, you have to define it for yourself.
Does Love Grow Stronger Over Time?
When we went to Colorado in December after my med school exams to meet his parents and spend the holidays, I was a bit afraid of the whole thing. I didn’t know what to expect when it came to living with his parents and spending so many days solely with him.
But I was glad I made that journey. I found how it felt in the rooms of silence we built during our walks around the neighborhood. We lived each second with each other. I was discovering love as a child discovers a lap and we got a chance to reconnect and relive that joy with each other.
After six months of spending time together without the pressure of hopes and expectations, I realized that I was finally in love. Yes, me!
So perhaps the moral of the story is this. Does love grow stronger over time? Absolutely it does if you put the effort, patience and persistence into it. The man I loved, waited for me, gave me my space instead of stifling me with commitment and expectations. I couldn’t be more content and we live happily together in a quaint midwestern town.
Yes. It can take days for some, months for others and even years to fall in love with someone. There is no expiry date or date of manufacture that determines how real or true one’s love is. That’s the thing. Love is so incredibly dynamic that for some love takes time to develop and others find it more quickly.
It can. There is no specific way to determine how long it takes to fall in real love. But yes, sometimes love takes time to grow and blossom.