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During my early twenties I occasionally frequented an Asian restaurant near my rent-controlled apartment in Boston’s Back Bay. The menu included a list of soft drinks, with descriptions. I have forgotten its name, but there was  a Japanese beverage described as “the taste of new love.” Right under it was Coke, “the taste of old love.”

Old love vs. new has been on my mind lately — and not just because of Valentine’s Day.

A few weeks ago, after a particularly anxious morning, I leaned against my husband, wrapped my arms around his chest and rested my head on his shoulder as he stood with his back to me, looking out the kitchen window. When he reached up and grabbed my arms, my anxiety evaporated. “This is it,” I thought, “old love.”

Is old love really like Coke? Sweet, syrupy, and heavy? And is young love somehow lighter, more carefree —more fun?

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Well, I’d say that while both old and new love can be fun, they each have their share of angst. One is a fancy, new shoe that needs breaking in, and the other is well-worn and molded to every curve of your foot. One may pinch and cause blisters, the other sometimes feels a little tired.

Old love may lack the excitement of learning about a new person and seeing oneself through fresh eyes, yet when the partnership continues to grow, solidify, and reach new levels, it can delight as never before — with the added advantage of allowing both partners to feel safe in just being themselves in ways not always possible when love is new.

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I feel extraordinarily lucky to have made it to “old love.” When Paul put his arms over mine that morning, I felt a measure of love and safety that I can’t get anywhere else. That comfort not only reassured me, it rejuvenated me and enabled me to face the day with good cheer.

Our love may be old in years, but it makes us new every day.

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