By Dr. Rose
Psychologist, Author, Speaker & Life Transformation Coach


For as long as I can remember, I have loved love. I have been drawn to the concept of romantic love and everything that symbolizes it. I have an archive of diaries and journals dating back to elementary school that chronicles my affinity towards that 4 letter word. A few years ago, my daughters came across one of my childhood diaries. They got such a kick out of peeking into my girlhood years, and my frequent declarations of love for whatever boy caught my eye that week. One week it was the paper boy, the next week the cute new guy at church whose distinctive nose, according to my diary, had the regal-ness of a king. My girls especially got a kick out of my April 5, 1981 entry that proclaimed in big bold letters that, “My true love is Raphael”. Raphael happened to be a chocolate complexion neighborhood boy that I found myself fixated with one spring. Keep in mind, none of these guys ever knew of my infatuation with them, but my imagination was all I needed to create scenarios of love that would rival a romance movie on the Lifetime Channel.

From an early age, love inspired poetic writings from me. When I was 10 or 11, my mother, while cleaning my room, found one of the love poems I’d written. She stormed into whatever area of the house I was in at the time, paper in hand with the following words written in my handwriting:

“You said you loved me,

You said you cared,

It was new to me,

So I took a dare,

I loved you back.

We walked in the moonlight,

Hand in hand,

We swam in the lake,

We slept in the sand.

We loved that picnic

In God’s green grass

Aren’t we blessed with a love that lasts, forever and ever. “

Waving that paper in her hand, my mom demanded to know who I’d written that to. When I told her it was just a poem I’d written to no one in particular, she looked confused, as if to ask, “What do you know about any of this at your age?”

What my mother didn’t realize was that my knowledge of love was courtesy of her and my dad. As a little girl, I would catch my parents in random areas of the house kissing, hugging, dancing and loving on each other. Because I was a daddy’s girl, I would often times playfully wedge myself between them, but most of the times I just watched with the eyes of an innocent little girl, oblivious to how lucky I was to witness love in action.

Because of what I witnessed between my parents, I entered adulthood with the belief that the type of love and adoration they demonstrated towards each other was the norm. I naively entered romantic relationships with the expectation that my partner felt the same. I hadn’t considered that their idea of love was predicated on experiences much different than mine. Never had I considered in my young adulthood that people grow up with zero exposure to healthy romantic love. Or the examples they were exposed to were far from healthy and resulted in a belief system that love equaled pain, dissatisfaction, suppression and for some even fear.

Partners would criticize me as being a hopeless romantic and insist the type of love I sought only happened in the movies. Over the years, I’ve had friends accuse me of being unrealistic, suggesting I lower my expectations and stay in a less than fulfilling relationship. “It gives us something to complain about over drinks,” one suggested. In all honesty, the thought that perhaps I was being unrealistic crossed my mind over the years, but something deep in my core refused to allow me to give in and stay in relationships that didn’t resonate the love I knew was possible.

I even had one guy I dated briefly tell me love meant having battle scars. The example of love he referenced was his aunt and uncle who were still together even after she shot and nearly killed him. One thing I know for sure is that when the world of a hopeless romantic collides with someone who has this type of cynical outlook towards romantic love, the results can be one of the most disappointing, depleting experiences one can have.

Because of my parent’s demonstration of love in action during my formative years, I’ve been unable to accept anything that didn’t feel like the love I celebrated as a young girl. As a result of my disappointment after disappointment from romantic relationships, I’ve often questioned why would I have been exposed to such a beautiful example of love as a child yet have it elude me my entire adulthood. Sure, I had many relationships that looked good aesthetically, but love is not a look, it’s a feeling that shouldn’t be diluted.

They say love comes when you least expect it. Although I have known of Reginald for over 30 years (he was an upper classman in the high school I attended), the advent of social media over a decade ago connected us as FB friends giving us a glimpse into our respective lives throughout the years. Never in a million years did I think the connection would be anything other than virtual. In the summer of 2018, our paths crossed in real life as we happened to be in the same row together at a summer concert with our respective dates. A year later, our paths once again crossed as we literally walked into the door of an event side by side not realizing we were standing next to each other until crossing through the doorway. After exchanging numbers at this event regarding something totally unrelated to any romantic interest, we met for drinks about a month later and the rest, as they say, is history. I now joke about how, after our first meeting, which can best be described by me as a visceral encounter, I did not eat for nearly 48 hours after. The only way I’ve been able to explain it is that the feeling I’d long hungered for had finally been fed.

I now realize why the love I witnessed as a child eluded me for so long. I needed to truly understand and appreciate how rare, yet how possible it is. I needed to experience romantic struggles so I could empathize and relate with others who have lived a lifetime with no reference point of healthy love. The dichotomy of being showered with such affirming demonstrations of love as a young girl, only to be starved of it for most of my adult years, and later have that love find me has provided me with a new resolve to encourage others to resist finding comfort in complacency and to stop feigning fulfillment. Real love is possible and we all are deserving of it. On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my late parents Robert and Eliza Moten for introducing me to love and I am also grateful for all the relationships that love was denied because it has allowed me to regard and treasure the love I now have for Reginald for the gift it truly is.

Dr. Rose Moten is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker and life Transformation coach. She is the Founder of BLOOM Transformation Center a full service wellness center in Detroit, MI. Learn More about Dr. Rose: https://www.drrosemoten.com/