How learning love made me something else entirely

Zackary Henson
4 min readNov 25, 2021


There’s love.

There’s love…

And then there’s love.

Sound like the same thing? Maybe to you. But, not to me.

I think a huge mistake we tend to make is that we jump from relationship to relationship looking for one thing: our own satisfaction and fulfillment. So, when we come across someone new, we feel all the beautiful things again. Except do we really know how to love? Do we learn anything? Are all our partners the same? Does the depth and the actual health of each one get better?

I’ve learned a lot from my past three “loves”. What’s funny, is that the second lasted less time than the first, and the the third lasted less time than the second. Yet, somehow I dove deeper, felt something more, and learned more about myself in all three equally, regardless of the time.

My first love taught me one huge thing. I cared far too much about myself. Losing someone that genuine and dedicated broke me in half, knowing that I’d done far less for her and her needs than I had done for my own. She was my catalyst. She changed me not just in the way that I love, but she turned me into someone new completely.

My second love was so dramatic, yet it was so much more connected. I’d felt closer to her than anyone…regardless of how often I fucked up and made her cry. At many levels she showed me where I was missing the mark on love; where I could allow myself to be more empathetic, be more in tune and aligned with her, and where playfulness was far more important than working all the time.

My third was my best. Not only could I meet her emotionally, intellectually and spiritually…we built a relationship off of compatibility before chemistry. We were intentional, we checked for nonnegotiable issues, and we communicated everything regardless of the potential pain. We were closer because of these things. And not only was I in relationship with a beautiful human externally, but even more so internally. We both wanted self growth as well as growth for others. We were building lives of our own and could embrace each other without losing ourselves in the relationship. We were bonding in all the dimensions. It was healthy AF. And yet, we were honest enough with each other to realize that two things couldn’t be overlooked. She needed someone more mature and seasoned than I was, and I was in need of a relationship without children in the picture. Core values man…they’ll get ya.

And with that, we ended it honestly and without resentment. We weren’t going to compromise on what mattered to each of us.

I’m no god in the world of love, but I have to pat myself in the back for one thing…I loved love enough to get better. I looked for signs to better meet my partners, I humbled myself and took responsibility for my mistakes, and learned how to listen to my instincts on who actually would be good for me, not just listening to my “instincts” that would just get me laid (immature men will overlook red flags and value, just because primal needs blind us).

The truth is, as long as we seek love that is compatible, and built off of our individual core values, each relationship should be closer and closer to what we’ve always wanted. And I think when it comes to love, what we all want is something that is deep, raw, challenging, playful, and fucking honest. Let’s be real…none of us can handle games anymore when we’re past 30.

So, let’s face the hard shit. Let’s learn about ourselves, take responsibility for our pasts, and practice the hell out of dating and connecting to lovely people.

Love is love is love to an outsider. But on the inside of each one of us, love, love, and love are all unique. And the depths of that love is worth the heartbreak, the shock, the pain, the discomfort and the challenge. Even if that means repeating failures over and over again to find the best experiences with the best people.

I’m not even close to who I was. I killed off huge parts of myself. I chose to no longer be a victim and resent the ones who pained me and left me. I learned my lessons, saw the beauty, and decided to become something FOR the world rather than use the world.

Thank you to all my lovers and partners who have made me a better man, and more importantly a better human.



Zackary Henson

Writer who questions everything. Self, Behavior, Perspective, Connection. Truth and love.