Hi, my lovelies. Today, I want to talk about the three great loves theory. The other day, partly because of Valentine’s Day, partly because I have a series on TikTok called “Charlotte being dramatic”, I posted this video of Charlotte talking about the only two great loves you get in your life.
This little clip and also, something my therapist asked me in our last session reminded me of an article I read ages ago that claimed you only love three people in your life time. For a bit of context, my therapist asked a very on point question (like he always fucking does!) which was “have you felt loved by the people in your life”; or something along these lines. I think he meant in general, as in by family, by friends, by boyfriends. But I answered thinking of my ex boyfriends and -deep revelation moment coming- the answer was no, I didn’t. I told him the men in my life that I thought I once loved, I didn’t feel they had really loved me back. Which, in hindsight, is a bit harsh, and, also, I’m not sure it is entirely true. What I truly meant was, my love for these men was not real love. And that, my friends, is where the three great loves theory comes in.
I remembered the said article, and I realised, this is to the fucking T what I meant by my answer. You see, the three great loves theory goes like this: you only ever get to love three people in your lifetime, and these three people have something to teach you. I actually didn’t remember exactly how the article described it, so I Google’d it and found it and read it again, with my now 30 year old eyes (when I first read it I believe I was around 24-25)(how am I 30? I feel I’m having a pre-midlife crisis)(anyway). So, the theory is, you get the puppy love, the toxic love and the real love. (I see you laughing and I’m laughing with you, cause, you know, it’s funny cause it’s true!)
I don’t really like writing about my real life in this blog, my posts are very loosely based on things happening or that have happened in my life or situations/books/movies that I find intellectually stimulating. And I choose not to do so mainly for professional reasons that relate to my day job and, also, because this is not a “Dear Diary” WordPress blog. But, today, I do want to share a bit of my story. I want to share how mind blowing I found it that the three great loves theory is actually fucking true – at least in my humble opinion.
Love number one: The First “Puppy” Love
So, when I went to uni, I met a guy (as you do). And this guy, he made my stomach flip, I had trouble talking around him. It was the first time I felt this way and, even though I’m a bit rubbish with flirting and boys, I somehow approached him and very long story short, we got together. We had quite a few things in common, including our love for music, our love for art, we even were the same fucking zodiac sign (both Pisces – and that tells you everything you need to know really 😂). We were very compatible in bed too, if you know what I mean. It felt like a high school love, except it wasn’t high school anymore – even though eighteen is still technically “teen”s.
When I was with him, I legit felt I had never connected with a person like that in my whole entire life. I told him secrets no one else knew, and dark secrets for that matter. To an outsider (and some people did tell us) it was one hundred percent textbook puppy love. To me, it was meant to be, it was my best friend, and my boyfriend, and my confidant.
Looking back at it with my 2022 eyes, it was of course, the typical first love, the one that you will always remember fondly (or not so fondly in my case).
The three great loves theory depicts that – to quote this GoodMenProject article– the first love is:
“You fell in love so hard and fast, your young brain didn’t know how to process it. You’re just enjoying the rush of excitement. It feels like you’re in a fairytale and you believe you’ve found your life partner.
As time goes by, things don’t seem right anymore. The intensity you once thought was romantic is now tiresome and angry. You remember the fights, but you don’t remember what it was about. You feel you’re pretending to be someone else because you don’t know what it’s like to be yourself anymore. You’ll break up over something silly only to make up the very next day.
Eventually, the fights become too much for one of you. There will be a final teary, painful breakup. It’ll feel like your heart is being ripped out of your chest. It’ll feel like the end of the world and you’ll never find love again. You promise to stay friends and you meant it then. But you’ll learn that things sometimes don’t work out that way.”
This is pretty much what happened, and that’s why I’m in such awe of this theory and decided to write this post. My young brain (and his perhaps) didn’t know how to process my/our feelings. When he cheated, four months after we met, I was heartbroken, but he was calling me crying and playing songs for me with his guitar, and looked like he was genuinely sorry, and I believed him and I stayed with him for another three years. Until our fights became too much, until I was turning into someone I wasn’t (translation: I was looking through his phone, I was hysterically jealous of every girl he talked to) and I decided to end it. I told him we could stay friends, because I honestly felt like I was losing my best friend, he told me to go to hell (in a much more colourful language and in public) and I learned that things don’t always work out the way you think they will.
Love number two: The Hard “Toxic” Love
Fast forward three years later, I was living in England and I called a local taxi to drive me to Gatwick at 6am on a cold Saturday morning (you see where I’m going with this?). What do you know, the taxi driver was a charming young man, who started chatting to me about Macedonia and “North” Macedonia. If this is your first time in this blog, hi, I’m Maria and I’m from Greece; and my 6am sleepy Greek Macedonian brain woke up violently as a reaction to this Macedonia vs Macedonia argument (and you can read more about the reasons why here). So, for the one hour drive, we didn’t stop talking. It was still dark, and I couldn’t see him properly, but the energy was unmistakable. It’s true what they say, the eyes of the soul see clearer than our physical eyes (or not so clearly in my case, but I’ll get there🥲). And, then, he dropped me off at the airport and before he let me out of the car he said “I’d love to take you out for a drink”.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, this man was the hard one of my loves. And “hard” is the understatement of the fucking century. He was the toxic love, the on-off love which has ecstatic highs and devastating lows. It was the “love” that exposed me to emotional abuse and narcissistic behaviours that truly broke my mind. There’s no need to go into the painful details, but it ended when he decided he was done playing and went and got (arranged) married to a pure, submissive same-religion same-ethnicity girl, and, respectfully, that is all I am going to say, and if you know, you know.
To go back to our Three Loves Theory, the second love is the love that brings with it great pain in many forms, but it also brings valuable lessons. It’s the love that teaches you the most about yourself. When you meet this love, your sixth sense alerts you to all the red flags, but your infatuated mind ignores them and you fall head first for who you think will be “the one” you will marry and have babies with (yes, I’m talking about me, that’s how I felt).
To quote the GoodMenProject article again, which greatly, greatly describes this horrible type of love:
“You catch the betrayal and lies. You feel cheated, underappreciated, and worthless. You feel you’ve just wasted your years on someone who didn’t deserve a minute. This is the love that will make you take a break from loving someone else. And start loving yourself instead.”
I honestly couldn’t have written it better if I tried. This is what happened. He broke me, I almost lost everything I worked fucking hard for and, eventually, I grew, I changed and I became the person I am today. There is a song by a Greek singer that goes like (loosely translated) “the heart aches when it grows taller”. And that describes it perfectly.
Love number three: The Real Love
And that brings us to the third great love in one’s lifetime – the “real” love. I only know this love on paper. I haven’t felt it, I haven’t experienced it, and I believe this is what I meant when I told my therapist that the previous loves I had didn’t feel real. To quote, I told him they were just “loves” that at that point in time fulfilled my then needs – both emotional and physical.
The third love is supposed to be the love that hits you out of nowhere. The love you least expect will happen and it catches you off guard. It’s the love that will keep knocking on your door no matter how long you take to answer it.
It’s a very hopeful notion, to believe there is such a love. I experienced the puppy, silly love, I survived the hard, manipulative love and now, I can only hope that my real love is somewhere out there waiting to find me.
Apparently, it’s a love that breaks all the rules and any notions about how love should feel. It teaches you how to feel love again and how to give love back. It teaches you compassion and appreciation of your life and surroundings.
It is the love you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
I know I became a bit melo(dramatic) and perhaps, super romantic, but this theory truly knocked me off my feet. Like I said, I had read about it before, but, for some reason, it was this week that I read about it again that it all made sense. And what I want to know is, have you felt any of these loves? Do you agree? Do you think we only ever truly love 3 people in our whole life? Let me know in the comments!
PS. When I find this love, this “real” liberating love, I will come back to this post, and I will update it with the time and the date I met this love, and if I feel extra brave, I might even share his real name. But, until then, we wait I guess.
*featured image by Laura Amanda