Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

What I owe to my first Love

Probably my fucking soul…

A lot can be said for the affect of our relationships. They change us. Most of the time without us even realizing it.

Is it weird if I think that I owe her half of everything without ever getting married? Even years later?

Our first date wasn’t even really a date. It was…a meeting of sorts. We had a mutual friend that I guess that we might hit it off. Of course, as a guy I was all for it. She showed me a picture of her. Love at first sight my friends. True. Love.

Or infatuation and lust…

She had an AMAZING smile, short fine blonde hair, adorable soft brown eyes…and she was only 5'5". Just within range of my standards since I was 5'3".

We met at her house randomly one night. Is that even legal as dating goes? Our mutual friend who was her roommate invited me over. It was a heart pounding interaction, but very awkward. It was mostly surface level questions of each other’s lives. How much I went to the gym, how much wine she drank…and a disturbing amount of time watching her play with her dog-like cat Toulouse, and me chuckling at her spicy attitude and my machismo half-ass displays of false confidence and surety.

This was probably the closest I’d been to love at first sight in all of my life! I don’t know if it exists or if it’s even possible to love someone that quickly.

What I do understand now and fully embrace(whether you believe it or not), is that there is a sixth sense within the human experience. We feel each other when we really pay attention. And no, it’s not the lust, even though that feels like just about every interaction I had with a woman within a 10 foot radius of me until about 25.

The physiological effects of love

When we slow down enough and become very mindful of where we’re at emotionally and physically, we can literally feel what our mind and body does in the presence of people when we sense positive, magnetic energy:

  • We relax our shoulders and open our chests
  • We turn ourselves directly to them, our most vulnerable side accessible
  • Our ears and eyes are more prone to their movement and their words
  • Our bodies are more flush and skin more sensitive
  • Our breathing can slow or become rapid based off trust and affection

She was different than all the others I had dated. Yeah, the physiological effects were very similar to ones of lust, but it was the emotional and mental effect that she had on me that was the start to something completely new for me: she challenged me. And until the end, she never DIDN’T do that. She always said her piece and pushed me to think deeper and harder.

It was a cold January night where flirting and playing on the couch turned into something real. It was Sunday and I had to work the next morning. EARLY. She was two hours away in McCall, Idaho celebrating and staying at her parents cabin. It was already late, but I couldn’t resist seeing her. Obviously I went…

It was a night that I’ll never forget. And it was how it ended, definitely not how it started. We met with her friends, we laughed really hard, smiled even harder, I got challenged to a one hand push up contest, I arrogantly touched another man’s beard who threatened my life, and at the end of the night we had an argument that I never expected.

She told me her most recent past. Sitting in the car outside the bar, she told me about her ex and the pain she went through with him. She warned me about how dating her would be some difficult task. How she didn’t know if it was a good idea to date her…and out of a life’s worth of submissive behavior I spoke up with pure, blunt decisiveness and honesty… “it’s not up to you whether you’re good enough for me. That’s my choice.”

Obviously, a lot more was said that night, but there was definitely an overwhelming burst of trust, respect and vulnerability that night. We both chose to face demons. We both chose to roll the dice on something new, even if we both felt insecure and fucked up from our pasts(mine being resentful against women).

Our first kiss was that night. Alone in the cabin, while everyone else was out or passed out. The ridiculous romantic that I am, I left her with just that, making the two hour drive back home at midnight, exhausted by emotions and running around all night.

Relationships are always lessons

It was bound to fail; not because of the absence of love, but volatility of our pasts, our pain and our co-dependency.

I was childish. Afraid to lose my independence, and in fear of being responsible for another human’s happiness for the rest of my life. I was materialistic, had crippling fear of living my life doing work I hated, and having no clue how to handle the inescapable commitment of having a baby.

But for the first six months, I didn’t know anything but her. I was happy around her. Not even fake happy. She was witty, she made me laugh FOR REAL, and she could always hold her own. She was capable, she could banter and debate with me, and she could give me a look that made me realize when she was right and I was a dick.

Long story short, she moved in with me into my first home, I changed jobs taking a $9 pay cut, and in typical Zackary fashion, I caved into my anxiety and my insecurities that were the beginning of the end. I asked her to move out right at one year of us being together…and I listened to her cry almost every night for almost a month until she moved out.

After that, it got complicated. That’s another story though…

I missed her for a year. I almost still do, even six years later. But it’s not because I believe she’s my one and only. It’s not because I want to try with her again. It’s because I know what she did for me. I know that because of her love for me, regardless of my flaws and insecurities, she accepted me. Even in the end and full of pain, she told me I was making a mistake. I was…and I did…but every mistake has a chance to becoming something new.

Because of her

  • Because of her I found maturity, compassion and empathy.
  • Because of her, I took on a mission to work so hard on myself so I could never hurt anyone with my immaturity and selfishness again.
  • Because of her, I became an athlete.
  • Because of her, I’m quitting my day job to do things I love.
  • Because of her, I’ll never allow myself to be less than my best.
  • Because of her, the women that I love from now on will have the best of me.
  • Because of her I know how to love.

I owe her my new path. Honestly, I owe many of my lovers for most of the changes in me.

Yeah, I could argue that it was my choice to change, but that choice wouldn’t have existed if not for my relationship with her.

She’ll never know what she’s done for me. She’ll never know the catalyst she’s been. She’ll never know about the journal entries, the articles, the videos, and the changes because of her. And that’s okay.

I’ll love her until the day that I die, and she doesn’t even have to know.

SO…maybe I’ll write her into my will. Or maybe just say that I find the next woman that takes me. Meh…I’ll decide later.

Just because it’s heartbreak, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.

Keep loving.


Men, stop being assholes. I know we have goals and missions and success to attain, but women create something for us that we could never fully get ourselves. They’re worth it.

If you want to hear more of my ideas on love, masculinity and questioning, check out my podcast, the RMP on Spotify



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Zackary Henson

Zackary Henson

Podcaster and Writer who questions the fuck out of everything. Truth and love.