Swapping Prince Charming For The Boy Next Door

Today’s guest post is by Emily, my best friend of ten years and a girl who taught me that love is risky and terrifying, but oh so worth it. She taught me to make time for the people I love, no matter the miles, and to give love to strangers on street corners. She does nothing with only half her heart. Today is her and her boyfriend’s five-year anniversary.

We’ve all heard it.

Love is Patient. Love is Kind. It does not Envy. It Does Not Boast. It is Never Rude.”

And on and on it goes, painting a picture of love for us, a sweet and quiet, cookie cutter picture of love. It teaches us from the time we are little girls twirling around in ballerina tutus with plastic tiaras on our heads that happily-ever-after and prince charming are out there. Belle and Jasmine and their princess friends make that idea of love tangible, as if you merely need to reach out and grab onto it.

Fairy tale love is not something we stop believing in when we get too old for playground weddings with the boy who twisted his oreo in two and handed you the half with the cream. It is crooned to us through our car radio as we drive to school in the morning. It stares us in the face during Friday movie nights in our best friend’s basement.

We do not outgrow it; we just replace Prince Charming with the boy next door.

So, at 17 years old I believed in fairy tale love. And once upon a time in a diner not too far from here, on Valentine’s Day, a boy bought me a bouquet of deep red roses scattered with Queen Ann’s Lace. That boy walked me to my car, in true gentleman style hugged me goodnight and turned to leave.

I didn’t know very much about life at all but there was one fact I was sure of: that boy was all wrong for me.

That boy put too much sugar in his coffee. He talked too much and he wore a trench coat. That boy was everything I was not, yet something stirred inside of me when he turned to leave that night.

So instead of letting him slip away, my hand reached out for his hand and I pulled him to me. Without a thought or hesitation, I kissed him.

I never would have guessed the impact on my life that that kiss would have. It led to five years of kisses, and laughter and lessons of love with a boy who was all wrong for me.  A boy who taught me that the love we grow up dreaming about is not realistic. Because fairytale love is just not good enough.


I wanted to share what I’ve learned.

Love is Silly.

A realization that came to me when slipping his too-big shirt over my head and shimmying into his navy fleece pajama pants. Knotting them twice. All the while singing a spur of the moment song entitled “Pajama Time.” A song he joined in with. Love is tickling and playing and lying tangled with each other on the couch, whispering secret nicknames and jokes only the two of you will laugh at.

Love is loud.

It does not sit quietly and let you ignore it. It plays like a catchy song in all of your thoughts and runs like adrenaline through your body. It wants to be screamed from the rooftops and whispered again and again to the boy you cannot satisfy your craving of.

Love is made of small things.

I barely remember our one year anniversary. I cannot list off every Christmas and birthday gift. But what I can tell you about the boy I fell in love with is that he holds open doors for me. When it is down-pouring he pulls me outside because I confessed once that I always wanted to be kissed in the rain. One drink too many and he’ll text me the lyrics to my favorite Taylor Swift songs, even though he denies knowing them.

It is Always Changing.

I cannot tell you how it feels to be in love with someone because every time I think I have it all figured out something else in my heart stirs and I find the feeling once again indescribable.

It is not easy.

A thought playing on repeat in my head when I said words that stung my heart: “I’m moving. And you’re staying still. And I don’t know how to hold on.”

It punched me in the face as I lay sobbing into my best friends couch cushions about the cracks he carved in my heart. It was a bystander when we were screaming in a parking lot about jealousy and broken rearview mirrors.

But It is Always Worth Fighting For.

A realization made after every time I could have turned and walked away from him. But there is a reason I pulled him back to me that night five years. A reason even I cannot understand and still want to find out. A reason that I feel every time our hands find each other without realization or each time I catch him watching me with his green eyes.  

If there is one thing to carry with you and pull out on a rainy day it is that you shouldn’t keep looking for patient, kind old love. While it is a wonderful picture, it shields us from the idea that love can be loud and crazy and not want to wait until the timing is perfect.

It doesn’t have to be fairy tale because it can be better.

And Prince Charming? Well he is out there, don’t you worry. But if you’re only looking for the white horse and shining armor you might glance right over him.

In fact he might be the guy right in front of you, who pours too much sugar in his coffee and talks too much and wears a trench coat. Silly, I know. But that’s what love is.


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