Stubborn Love


A very good friend of mine, recently asked me the question: "do you forego being in love with someone you know you will have a happy life with?"

Now I do not think I am the best person at all to be answering or writing on this subject; given my tug of war between whether I believe I deserve love, or will find love, and my failed attempts at such. But nonetheless I thought that rather than responding to this just as an email, it was a good excuse to debate it out loud - not just for him, but for me too.

The bases of his question was the fact that he has been head over heels a couple of times before, and it all ended pretty messily and in his words "made him a shitter person". He is currently in a relationship, and is very happy, everything is going along nicely, she gets along with all his friends, they have fun; basically it is good. But is good enough? He doesn't think he has those strong feelings that he had in the past; but those strong feelings are what can send everything upside down, back-to-front and inside out. So is it worth it?

I will briefly reestablish my most recent love story to add some personal depth. 
One and a half years ago now I was engaged. I was engaged to the most incredible guy I have ever met. He was funny, generous, kind, thoughtful, caring, spontaneous, trusting - basically anything you can think of that is required in a relationship he was. We only ever had fun when we went out together, and were best friends. So where is the but?...

Everything was amazing, but... something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it, which only added to my internal frustration and war within myself. There just didn't seem to be any spark... that raw fire...  So the above question is what I battled with for a long time. Until I broke down, and my internal dialogue came spilling out one night in bed. A mad rush of confused emotions and endless words; none of which coming close to explaining how I felt. No words can ever describe a feeling you don't quite understand yourself.

The result being that we took a break for a week, to give each other some space to work out what we wanted. After a week by myself of tears, confusion, anger, peace and more tears; I came to the conclusion that I just wasn't willing or ready to put the relationship first and try and make it work. Which sounds selfish, and maybe it was; but I could not bring myself to be IN something, but not be IN it 100%. Whatever this fear, or doubt was I needed to work it out. And the old saying 'if it is meant to be, it will be' came to mind. I figured that if we were truly meant to be together once I worked all of this out, we would end up back together. This was the best answer I could come up with at the time.

One and a half years on, and I am still trying to work it out. Not that I am still trying to work out if we are meant to be together. But where I stand in regards to love.

Back to the question, is it better to live a happy life with someone, without the spark of being 'in-love' or do you settle for nothing less than the crazy, stupid, beautiful all consuming LOVE??

My mind goes to two places with this...

1. Perhaps true love is not as obvious and explosive as the shooting star
While I said above that something was missing from my relationship; perhaps I just wanted what I didn't have, or gave up too soon, or maybe I just have an unrealistic expectation of what love should be like. Most of us have all been in love before. That head over heels, butterflies, the world looks all shiny and new feeling... but if we have felt this, then we also know the flip-side of this; the emotions, fears and vulnerabilities that come with having such strong feelings for someone else. This kind of love has the power to bring out the best in us and make us strive for heights we had never looked to before, but it can also release our ego's monsters; jealousy, anger, resentment, distrust, turning us into someone we no longer recognize. It is all consuming; and they don't say 'Love is Blind'  for no reason; it can make us lose sight of everything including who we are. So perhaps this isn't the sustainable kind of love. Perhaps it is more like a shooting star in our lives. A spectacular explosion and display of light across a clear nights sky. It fills us with all kinds of hope, wonder and amazement... that is all too soon gone. But that is okay, this is what it was for. To reignite and inspire us again, to briefly shine a light on something within us that we had lost or didn't even know existed.

But maybe the love that lasts, is that slow burning, enduring love. Nothing so explosive and spectacular as the shooting star; but a constant and faithful companion, that guides our way, stays with us and rather than fading out, it only grows in beauty and strength over the years.

So love evolves.

2. I want it all!
I had the perfect partner and companionship, and it just didn't sit right with me. I think I have long ago made a deep subconscious decision and commitment that I want nothing mediocre in my life. And while my relationship was far from mediocre, in fact in many ways it was like a fairy tale... there was still something missing. So I am in search of that.

Yet I know that this search will bring me more heartache than most; some of the highest highs, and lowest lows. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Life is to be lived. I don't want to sit on the sideline of my life. One day when I am old and grey the only stories I want to be telling are those of my life; of all the lives within a life that I have lived.

 "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming 
"WOO HOO, What a Ride!"

Maybe I did have love and gave it up. But for whatever else; I would not be where I am today without all of the loves I have had, and loves I have lost. I would not have met most of the amazing people that are in my life; seen everything I have seen or have half of the stories or adventures that are currently accumulating at an incredible rate.

So what is the answer? My friend is going to be so frustrated with this... I don't know. This is what I am still learning. I think the answer is, there is no answer. It is different for everyone. That is what makes it a journey and adventure. If there was one answer, surely every love story would sound the same. But they don't, not even in the slightest. And that is the beauty in it.

I am a pessimist and an optimist. I don't know that a love exists that has the raw and explosive nature to capture my imagination and heart (not to mention my lady bits); yet the longevity to stay by my side, ever evolving through the seasons of my life.

Yet I hold out hope for all of the above; because this is my life and I will accept nothing less.
It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all, the opposite of love is indifference...

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