What It Feels Like To Be In Love

By Michael Hickey // As told to Kristina Esdale

Kristina Esdale

More stories from Kristina Esdale


Love is hard to describe.

I never dated in high school. I only ever dated when I got to college, and even then it was still meaningless to me. Sure, I would like a girl and enjoy her company, but I had never loved a girl I’d dated. I’d never experienced anything beyond the love you feel for your family. I had no idea what love was like.

And then I met her.

Some say that love at first sight is real, but that wasn’t the case for us. As a matter of fact, we didn’t really like each other to begin with. She was in one of the choirs at the University of Illinois, and I was in the A Cappella group; we thought we were hot stuff back then. That’s why she thought I was a…well, let’s just say that she thought I was conceited.

Things started out rough. I thought she was stuck up, and she obviously didn’t think too highly of me. As a matter of fact, she actually got the stomach flu on our second date. The universe was giving us every sign to stop. But after about a month of dating I was hooked for a lifetime. I knew that something was different. Suddenly, I looked at other girls in a completely different light; I just wasn’t interested in them. Things escalated quickly, and before I knew it I was devoted to Susan: it wasn’t forced; it was comfortable. It was so easy.

I’d never experienced anything like the love that we shared. My heart told me that life without her wasn’t an option. As I planned my life after my final year of college, every plan had her integrated into it.

I planned my proposal for six months; I know, it’s kind of dorky. We would always play scrabble together; it was something that we always did to spend time together and enjoy one other’s company. When I decided that I wanted to pop the question, I stuck that ring right inside of the scrabble box and waited for her to pull it out. And by some miracle, she agreed to be my wife.

Our wedding was simple, traditional; we got married in her hometown and had a classic suburban wedding. But the decorations and the location couldn’t compare to the feeling of watching my bride walk down the aisle–heads turned to only look in her direction. I stood at the altar in awe. On that day, I married my best friend.

You always think you’re in love to a certain degree, until you have kids.

And then you fall in love all over again.

I never thought that I could love anyone as much as I loved my wife. I didn’t think my heart had more room to fit anyone else to love. But as soon as our kids came into the world, my heart doubled in size.

I never thought I could love Susan any more than I already did. But watching her be a mother to our children completely changed me; I fell even harder.

My whole perception of love changes all the time. The amount of care you have for someone or what you would do for them is constantly up in the air. I can’t help but love my kids more than I love my wife; they’re a part of me and that will never change.

You can’t describe love to someone until they feel it.