By Kenneth Stepp

 

I have secrets… I have so many secrets it’s hard to keep them straight. You know what? So do you. We all do. I’ve even been a secret more times than I want to remember. I’ve had girls tell me they were single. One even had me over for dinner with her kids. They were married. One made me feel like a secret. Can’t be Facebook friends, kids can’t know, and a date consisted of me driving two hours to her house after she got off work and leaving when she went to work the next day. That isn’t dating. The only thing I can think of that could call that is not something I want to write here. The thing is. In our lives there are secrets. Thoughts and memories we will take to our graves. I’ll tell you something else about secrets. They are like a cancer that eats us from the inside. Always just under the surface. We dare not share them with anyone.

 

“I thought about how there are two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don’t dare to let out.”

Ally Carter

 

Love, dating, finding the one. These are the thoughts that flutter through my way too active brain most any day you ask me. Finding my forever love. You too, if you are single and on this journey with me, have this for your goal. And like me, if you are reading this. You have secrets. Some more normal than others. But they are your secrets and no one will ever be trusted enough to know them. This is what is in your mind every time the thoughts about your secrets pop into your head. One thing I have concluded though is that if there are secrets inside a relationship. That relationship is doomed to fail. It cannot stand.

 

“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.”

Cassandra Clare

 

So how can a person with so many secrets have a relationship that lasts? Unconditional love. That’s it. That’s the answer. Funny how that is the answer to so many things, isn’t it? Real love. Not the love you talk about when you say you love a movie, a type of food, or a car. These things do not evoke love. We have watered down the word love so much that it has lost it’s meaning almost completely. Only almost. I fell in love four and a half years ago. The break up is why I started writing. Writing helped me process the pain. But I remember some of our conversations. They flowed. We told one another everything and anything. We had no secrets left. We shared them all. The deepest and the darkest. Things we had never shared with anyone before. Things we never thought we’d share with anyone. But there we were. Completely open. How did that happen?

 

“I never understood why Clark Kent was so hell bent on keeping Lois Lane in the dark.”

Audrey Niffenegger

 

Real love. Unconditional love never judges. It accepts as is. We were in love. And that love exists to this day. The relationship has gone. But love never dies. It endures always. And where love exists. Freedom exists. The freedom to be who you are. Flaws, faults, bumps and bruises. Even though she shared everything with me. All I saw was perfection. There was no need for secrets. No place for them. If you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself in a relationship like this. Guard it with all you have. Protect it. You see, few find it, few experience real love. If you do. Well. I’, praying for a repeat. I’m praying I will have this again. Someday. It’s like buying a lottery ticket. You never know.

 

 

“Unconditional love” — in its most simplest form — means appreciating someone else for who they truly are. It means loving them when they are unlovable, and in spite of their imperfections and mistakes. At a deeper level, it means never, ever questioning whether you’ll feel any other way toward a person.

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