Love goes from a feeling to an action. To be fair, marriages that stand the test of time learn this same lesson. You don’t just “love” your partner with words. You love them through actions. You aren’t “in love”; you practice love. You know that when you stop doing so, that love starts to wither and fade.
Love goes from eternal to conditional. Even if you’re able to pick up the pieces and move on with life, finding someone that you connect with on a deeper level, you understand that love is more conditional than you were initially comfortable admitting in your youth. You know that even though you can love someone with all your heart and show them that every day, they can wake up one morning and say they don’t love you back, and all that love you thought would last forever comes crashing down. While that sounds terrible on the surface, it actually teaches you a valuable and much-needed lesson. You have to learn to love yourself before you can expect someone else to do the same. And then if they ever stop loving you, your life will continue to move forward and you will bounce back, knowing their love does not determine your worth.
Love still makes you nervous but for different reasons than before your first marriage. Once you’ve been through a divorce, you may be more nervous around love as the realization that there is so much at stake with no guaranteed reward can be overwhelming. Take the lessons you’ve learned from your past experience and put them to use for your good going forward.