Fashion,  Love,  Thoughts

When Love is Not a Dream

When Love is Not a Dream | When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen my husband and I kissed for the first time, it brought about the sole largest crisis of our relationship. In my case, anyway.

Growing up in a more conservative family as a romantic, day-dreaming girl, I had always imagined and vowed that my first kiss would be on my wedding day. As a young woman who read many novels and watched many Austen/Bronte films, I imagined that kissing was a tender, wonderful, breathtaking thing. So, I thought, we would wait through however long it took to date and be engaged, and our first kiss would be incredibly special, a sign of our new life together, almost magical in its properties.

My husband, however, was not a fan of this idea. Being almost painfully shy in front of people he does not know, he didn’t want his first kiss to be a face-bump in front of strangers under a spotlight for everyone to see and record, awkward and tentative. And being pretty easily swayed by his coaxing and logic, I thought about it for a week or two, and decided giving up that wedding-day first-kiss was okay with me.When Love is Not a Dream |

Or so I thought. I told him that I had never wanted to kiss a man I wasn’t going to marry, so if he was going to marry me, he could kiss me. He asked what that even meant, and I shrugged. It meant what it meant, he could take it how he wanted, whether that meant he would eventually kiss me after we were engaged, or whether he definitely saw us being married at some point and took the jump early.

What I didn’t tell him was that I had dreamed and waited for that perfect day, my first kiss, which I had envisioned being on a special day in a romantic setting, symbolizing a new life, after years and years of waiting for the perfect person to do it. I didn’t tell him that I was afraid of disappointing my parents, who had raised us to be more reserved, and focus on personality and friendship, not physicality and romance. I merely left it at the statement of marriage, and hoped it would all work out okay.

So, a month after we had started dating, and a week after I had realized I loved him, our first kiss came in an unexpected-yet-expected way, and it was… nothing, really. It came and went so quickly I barely knew what he had done; standing in the cold, huddled together on a late ferry back from Seattle, watching the lights twinkle and shine in the blackness of the night, I looked up at him, he looked down at me, and with one swift peck, he touched his lips to mine and pulled away. When Love is Not a Dream |

It was not tender, or romantic; it was fleeting, tentative, awkward, barely even felt. I remember thinking — and maybe even vocalizing — “what was that?” and acting like it was no big deal. The next day, wandering the woods, he admitted he felt like he had gypped me, and maybe we should try again. So under dark, towering trees, standing on a muddy path where mushrooms sprouted about our feet and up the bark of the pines, he kissed me again.

I expected to feel a rush, butterflies, tingles, warmth, anything. I felt nothing. Nothing except slight confusion and the thought “are we even doing this right?” We kissed a few more times, and he admitted he felt the butterflies, the tingles, the excitement… but me? Nada. My heart didn’t skip a beat, my skin didn’t flush, my thoughts didn’t fall into a jumble. In fact, my thoughts were very, very clear: I felt nothing, did this mean he wasn’t right for me?When Love is Not a Dream | www.eccentricowl.comWhen Love is Not a Dream |

I have never been a believer in the whole “make sure you’re sexually compatible before you get married” stuff. Honestly, I believed (and still believe) that if this was the right person for you, you didn’t have to worry about the sex. God had created this person for you, why would you not be compatible in every area?  But in that moment I realized perhaps I at least believed that kissing, something so simple and romantic, would not be a complicated thing you had to figure out. Kissing the person you loved should have been easy, right?

That Monday perhaps two days after our first kiss and a day after our second try, I was a mess. I didn’t like kissing. And not for more obvious reasons — I didn’t find it gross, I didn’t find him unattractive, I didn’t find the entire idea repulsive. It just did nothing for me, and I wanted it to. I was dying for a kiss that stirred something in me, that twisted my stomach into pleasing knots, or made my heart skip a beat, or sent a rush to my head. But no, I just didn’t feel it.When Love is Not a Dream | So I decided that perhaps I really wasn’t ready, and I met up with him to tell him so. I regretted letting him kiss me so early, when clearly I didn’t know what I wanted and I wasn’t sure if I had been ready. I told him as much, through welling sad emotions, and we spent the entire day talking about it, drinking coffee, sitting on the couch and just being with each other. The entire time, I silently wondered if I had made a grave mistake, if perhaps he wasn’t the one for me. I never said as much to him, but I was terrified that this man, whom I had admitted to myself just a week before that I loved, was not the love of my life. I was heartbroken that I didn’t feel anything, that the person I had finally met who felt so right in every single other area, who I got along with and who shared my interests and made me feel like the most important girl in the world… was not the one.

Because of a kiss.

At the end of that day, which was the sole largest crisis of the relationship in my mind, I decided to try once more. We kissed again, awkwardly, tentatively, with no previous practice or experience, and I still didn’t get it. But I decided to go home, to breathe, and think, and pray… and I Googled it. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents so early in the relationship; I didn’t feel like I could talk to my mom about it (I wish I had; when I finally admitted we kissed to her, months and months later, it wasn’t even an issue), and I didn’t want to admit to anyone else that  we had kissed; everyone I knew was aware that I had determined to wait until my wedding day. What if I was suddenly a hypocrite for changing my mind?When Love is Not a Dream |

To my relief, Google brought me a slew of young women out there who had experienced this lack of feeling about kissing, and a plethora of answers saying that it sometimes didn’t click right away; sometimes it took practice, sometimes one or the other was just a bad kisser. Sometimes, things just don’t work quite the way you expected and dreamed the first time.

So, reassured by Google search and answer, I went to bed with only subtle worries about whether he was really “the one.” I reminded myself that I loved him, that I couldn’t imagine life without him, that he loved me, and that hey, even if I wasn’t getting it, he certainly enjoyed it, and I went to sleep. We continued kissing; stolen kisses, unsure whether our relatively conservative families would approve of these little trysts — and perhaps that was part of my overall displeasure with the process — and I let it go. I reminded myself that kissing was definitely not the most important thing in a relationship. I reminded myself that I still loved to hold hands, cuddle, and talk to him, and that we fit together better than I had ever imagined aside from the kissing.When Love is Not a Dream |

Had I been a little less serious about relationships in general, it might have ended right there. I might have decided I wanted to find a man that fluttered my heart with his lips, and I might never have had the life I have now. But I know, and subconsciously knew, that love is not always how it’s portrayed in novels and Hollywood. Nothing ever is. Love, for me, was not a wild and passionate thing; it was slow and sure, steady and calm, confident and unmoving.

And the physical side of us would not always be around; someday, I knew, we would get old and no longer care. What mattered most was that we got along, that we had a solid love, that we had similar values.

A week after our first kiss and The Crisis, though, it clicked. Suddenly I felt that warming of the heart, the excitement of a really good kiss, and everything was okay.When Love is Not a Dream |

Scarf, c/o Quotation Marks | shirt, ??? | skirt, self-made | tights, Target | belt, thrifted | shoes, Modcloth

Kissing is undoubtedly one of my favorite pastimes now. That and, well… other things we won’t discuss. Ha! The point is… love is not always what you think it will be. It’s not always a fairytale, a romance novel, a chick flick. Kissing, sex, physical attraction, relationships… they’re not always perfect, or perhaps they’re never perfect. They’re not Hollywood wonderful, they’re real. Messy, emotional, amazing, confusing, sometimes painful, ultimately… beautiful.

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    • Eccentric Owl

      Yes, I’m so glad we didn’t wait, because it would have been SO awkward, especially for my husband. And I would have been going through these feelings on our honeymoon, which would have been horrible.

  • skye

    Kristina, this was so lovely to read. You are very different from me, but that’s one reason I enjoy your blog so much. Many of the things you write about are initially alien to me, but you tell your stories with such grace and humanity that they become relatable.

    (Also, I’m dying for those tights with the shoes.)

    • Eccentric Owl

      That’s what I love about your blog, Skye, because we’re so different and it makes it SO interesting to read your experiences and thoughts and views vs my own. I love it!

  • Grace Dalton

    I can’t even tell you HOW much I loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing about your experience – I definitely think Hollywood and books set a high standard that’s very unrealistic.

    • Eccentric Owl

      I’m so glad, Grace! Hollywood (and books, too) sets a very high and super unrealistic standard for pretty much everything. Thankfully I had a mother who often grounded me in real life, or I might have had even worse expectations of all things romance.

  • Beth Woody

    I *love* that you posted about this. I’ve had… a very different experience with kissing… (ha! listen to us, talking about kissing now like we’re experts or something! when did that happen?!;)) and I’ve wondered about sharing my own perspective out of curiosity in reading others, and partially because not enough “stand-up” girls blog about such things which is a real pity. But since only a few very close friends and my mother (and maybe his?) know that we *have* kissed, it’s probably best to save the blogging for after marriage… like you did. 🙂

    But yeah, I’m really, really happy for you (and your adorable little family) that you stuck it out, even though kissing was not the magical wonder it was cracked up to be at first. I actually thought my first kiss would be a lot like yours, but…. well, I’ll save it for the post. 😉

    I seriously hope we manage to meet up someday, because I feel like you and I have kind of grown up together. We’re similar in a lot of ways, and I’ve always looked up to you as a faraway sister I admire. Meeting you *is* on my bucket list! So it has to happen!

    • Eccentric Owl

      We are total experts now, haha! I hope to read your story one day, too! (you could always email me, you know. 😀 Haha!)

      I feel the SAME WAY. I really, really want to meet you someday. It WILL happen; you’re not THAT far away from me, it’s not like we’re on the opposite side of the states. And I know a lot of people who live in California, so I could come visit and see you.

      • Beth Woody

        Hehehe! 😀 Oh, I suppose I could do that! Well, I’m awfully lazy this weekend (birthdays tend to do that) but if I think about it tomorrow, I’ll try to type it out for you. 🙂 Or at least… start it.

        YES!! Well, and even if we were ridiculously far away, I have a certain someone in my life who’s making it his life goal to get all MY bucket list things accomplished, and he’s always talking about travelling here, there, and yonder to make it happen. 🙂 He knows my bucket list better than I do, now! 😛 But if you’re here before I marry and move to OK, definitely let me know! 🙂 I totally would love that!!

  • Sarah Whiting

    Perfect. Just perfect. I think we all walk into a relationship with an expectation, and it can be soooo disappointing when it falls flat. Love you my friend!

  • Avra-Sha Faohla

    Wow, thank you for sharing this! I admit I never gave kissing much thought. I think I assumed that the butterflies and fireworks and whatnot that you read about are just exaggeration, but I didn’t think that kissing could feel like NOTHING.

    I don’t think I’m the sort of girl who would think a relationship must be wrong if kissing him doesn’t make her heart flutter. In fact, I believe in saving the physicality for after marriage, so my final decision on whether to keep the relationship or not won’t be based on anything physical. But it’s nice to know that when I do kiss my husband for the first time, if I don’t feel anything it doesn’t mean I can never enjoy kissing. 😀

  • Vicki Shuler

    This post is so wonderful. I’m so glad you shared it, because it really struck home with me, despite the fact that I’m not married quite yet. My boyfriend kissed me on our first date and as I saw him leaning in, I was so conflicted, after telling myself for so long that I was saving that first kiss for my wedding, and what if it ended up not working out, but I let it happen…and I was disappointed to the point where it felt like a crisis to me. I had always expected something magical, but I didn’t really feel anything…more than anything it just felt awkward. And I felt the same way for a while after that–it made me so worried that even though I really liked this guy, maybe he wasn’t “the one,” just because of a kiss. It ended up going very similarly to the way you described it…I fell in love with him not because he could flutter my heart with a kiss, but because of his personality and all his adorable little quirks. I don’t think I’d change a thing now, almost a year later. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Desarae

    Beautiful post! I loved reading this. So many good points. A kiss IS something very special, and shouldn’t be handed out flippantly, but it isn’t sacred and, speaking from experience, just because you DO get butterflies from the get go, doesn’t mean he is the right guy either. Oh well…at least I can avoid the awkward first kiss in front of everyone scenario- I agree with your husband, that bit never sounded appealing. 🙂

  • SaraLily

    I am so glad you linked to this in your recent winter post so I could read it! I am so glad you shared this. I don’t believe in the “heart fluttering, stomach dropping, dizzy in the head” reaction to kisses. I mean, there have been some major kisses between Cody and I where I’m just like “woah, that was a good one” but nothing dramatic.

    I do believe, however, in a kiss telling me how I feel about the person – I do think a kiss tells you a lot! When I was dating, typically I knew how I felt based on how the kiss went. For example, when this one fella kissed me (it was one that I got along really well with and went on a few dates with but couldn’t tell if I just felt friendship with him or if there was an actual attraction there), it was just WRONG. We didn’t, like, fit right and we couldn’t find a smooth rhythm (for lack of better word) and it was just a mess. Like I was 14 all over again and had no idea what I was doing. Haha but when when Cody kissed me the first time, it felt like we had already spent years perfecting it. We just kissed so well from the start and knew what to do and had no problem getting in sync, etc. So no butterflies but there was a comfort there for me, a certainty, and even a feeling of home? OK, now I am getting corny. Haha