In the book, excerpted below, Lopez opens up about the heartbreak surrounding the crumbling of her marriage to Marc Anthony, the strength her twins Max and Emme have given her, and how she eventually discovered the meaning of -- what else? -- true love.
On her marriage to Marc Anthony:
Things between Marc and me weren't perfect, of course -- our marriage was never the kind to glide along peacefully. From the beginning it was tumultuous, passionate, and explosive, but we also shared many fulfilling and joyful moments. Every marriage has its challenges, but it was about keeping that marriage together, having that family unit, and making the dream come true -- whatever the cost. In my family, when I was growing up, divorce was not an option. So when I married Marc, having already been through the disappointment of two divorces and a broken engagement, I wanted so much for our marriage to be "it." Marc was my guy, the one. The father of my children, the man I was going to grow old with.
On the common thread in all of her relationships:
Throughout my life, I’ve had a few serious relationships. Each relationship was different and each relationship had its issues. But there was one thing they all had in common: They all had a passionate intensity that I mistook, every time, for my happily ever after. Reality is hard to see through the adrenaline rush of a new love. It's easy to project your hopes and dreams onto a relationship when it’s new and exciting.
On mistaking passion for love:
I was lucky -- or unlucky -- enough to be with men who were really intense about their feelings for me. They did some crazy things, and I mean crazy things. Like releasing hundreds of doves outside my window, buying me a Bentley or two, giving me rare diamonds, throwing me giant parties, or sending me private jets to sweep me off somewhere. I'm talking about grand gestures of love, passion, or whatever you want to call it. And I loved it. It was intoxicating when it was happening. When a man does something like that, it's easy to think, Wow, look how much he loves me! But passion is a pendulum that swings both ways. As beautiful as it can be it can also get very intense. Yet, through thick and thin, I chose to stay in those relationships. Because how can you turn your back on a love so big, so amazing, so real? The problem is, it wasn't real love; it was passion. I just didn't know the difference yet.
On her split from Ben Affleck:
When Ben and I split up at the moment when I thought we were committing to each other forever it was my first real heartbreak, it felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest. People do lots of things to anesthetize themselves in moments like these. Some people do drugs, some drink and some go out and party. I sought out comfort in another person, tried to find someone who could make me feel loved and wanted in my loneliest hours. And that was the moment when Marc reappeared in my life.
On being mistreated in relationships:
The only way you can be mistreated is by allowing yourself to be mistreated, and that was something I did over and over again. I've never gotten a black eye or a busted lip, but I've been in relationships where I have felt abused one way or another: mentally, emotionally, verbally. I know what it feels like to for your soul to be diminished by the way your loved one is treating you ... maybe it's a push, a shove or a nasty word that stays with you.
On the moment when she and Anthony decided to split:
"I'm not happy." Marc was in the middle of venting to me about things between us that had been bothering him, and I was sitting there trying to figure out where he was going with it. Then he said it again, “I’m not happy. I'm here because we have a family, because we're trying to keep it together. But I'm not happy." I really thought I had done everything I could -- as a wife, as a partner, and as a mother to his children. What sense did it make to keep suppressing my own feelings of what was missing in the relationship? How long did I need to keep trying to make someone happy who was telling me flat-out that he wasn't?
On the final straw:
We sat down together. "This is not working. You know it's not working. We're not living like a family, and I don't see how things are going to change. Neither of us is happy, and the kids are wondering what's going on. I think we should move on with our lives." Deep down, I still wanted him to put up a fight for our family. But instead, he said, "Okay." On July 15, 2011, we made the public announcement that we were going to divorce. Hardest. Day. Ever.
The biggest lightbulb that went off was that I realized I wasn't recognizing the value of my own love. I never stopped to consider just how special my love was. I never stopped to look at myself and say, You know what? You deserve a love that is pure and special and good as the one you're giving. Your love has value.
On what she wants from a partner:
Keep the diamond rings, the Bentleys, the doves, the trips to Europe ... Keep all of it! I can buy all of those things myself. Give me your time, your honesty, your respect, kindness, patience, fidelity. Give me comfort when things are tough.
On her biggest epiphany:
What was loving yourself, anyway? Nobody teaches us what that means, but now I've discovered that it's the key to life -- because it's the key to loving someone else and allowing others to love you.
To find out more, make sure to pick up a copy of "True Love," available here.
Be sure to watch Jennifer's HuffPost Live conversation with Arianna Huffington here, and catch the livestream of her 92nd Street Y conversation with Hoda Kotb here, airing on Nov. 6th at 7:30 pm.
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