1/15/2014 12:55 AM
The concept of finding your “one true love” has ruined relationships and lives of countless individuals. There is a common belief that once you find someone you love, that is where the journey ends. We have been taught by fairytales and romantic movies of sorts that finding someone to love, and finding someone who loves you in return, is where the story ends — the happily-ever-after ending, which has been reiterated throughout history ever since the concept of romantic love was discovered.
Most people are under the illusion that romantic love is something that has roots all the way back to the birth of man, something completely natural. Unfortunately, that isn’t at all true. The concept of love itself has been around for much longer, but romantic love in the form we understand it today — courting and all — has only been around for fewer than 1,000 years.
Instead of being helpful, the concept of love we have is where love-related issues stem from for many of us. You wait for things to be just as “magical” and perfect as they are depicted in chick flicks and romantic novels — it’s not your fault; blame pop culture. Moments in life are only as magical as you make them. Magic isn’t found in actions themselves, but rather, in our interpretation of actions and how that interpretation compares to the expectations we have.
If we expect something otherworldly, but interpret an experience as of this world, then we are bound to be disappointed. Disappointment is the killer of all potential love stories. If we wish to avoid ruining potentially great relationships, we have to tweak the way we see the world, adjust our expectations, understand that relationships require maintenance and understand why we are in a relationship in the first place.
Human beings do require social interaction — that’s a proven fact. If you don’t believe me, talk to any inmate who has been locked up in solitary for too long and has trouble talking or making eye contact of any sort. Likewise, we need to reproduce and improve the likelihood of our species surviving. There is nothing in our genetic makeup that requires us to “fall in love” or to be in love.
Arguably, we may need to love, but being in love and loving are two different things entirely. We associate being in love with intense emotions that “move us.” Love itself isn’t the same thing — we love our family and friends, but we are not in love with them. What’s the differentiating factor in types of love? In a nutshell, it’s sex.
“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Who hasn’t either heard or recited that statement in the past? I’m going to assume that most of you have been in this sort of situation before, either handing out or receiving this metaphorical kick to the gut. What is the first thing that goes when you begin to feel that you may be “falling out of love”? The sex. The sex loses its excitement and wonder, and then both parties begin to question whether or not they are still in love. Do you really love your partner if you don’t want to hump his or her brains out all day like you used to? No. But that’s only because being in love is basically an illusion. A very exciting, moving, almost magical illusion, but an illusion nonetheless. Love isn’t something that enters or leaves you. It’s a way of thinking; it’s a belief and it’s a choice.
If you haven’t found love, you can only blame yourself. Maybe you haven’t met the right type of person (notice I said “type of person” and not “person”), but it’s much more likely that you haven’t really tried. You likely find traits you don’t like about people and strike those prospects off your list as not being “right” for you. You don’t love every little thing about someone; therefore, you can’t love that person, right? Ridiculous.
I’m not arguing that you can fall for just about anyone, but it’s certain that you have passed up at least a handful of potentially beneficial relationships along the way. What’s even more likely is that you gave up on a great love story because you didn’t feel that things felt the way they should. You pictured your love life being everlastingly intense.
I’ve made that mistake before. We all have. It’s okay, though, because you have to learn to love. Loving someone romantically is not a natural occurrence, but it is something that can be learned. It takes time, patience and practice. It takes knowing yourself and knowing what you want out of life. What purpose do you have for being in a relationship? If the relationship isn’t beneficial, then it’s wasteful.
Being alone is almost always completely your own fault. You always have a choice that can be made. You can choose to make things work. You can choose to give people a try. You can choose to spend more time getting to know yourself so that when you do find someone worth your time, you’ll be better prepared for it. But chances are, you don’t. Chances are that you sit there and hope that your love story will fall into your lap just as it does in all those fictional stories fed by society. You hope that the relationship will work seamlessly and that there won’t be any ups and downs. Let me ask you this: How exciting is a steady relationship with no slumps or peaks?
Just about as exciting as running on a treadmill. It’s not trying to avoid these ups and downs that’s important; it’s learning to navigate through the slumps to get back to those peaks. If you wanted to be in a decent relationship, you could be in one tomorrow — not a great one, but a decent one. Chemistry, unfortunately, isn’t quite as easy to find, but also not as difficult as one may think. If you’re in a densely populated area and you set your mind to having a great relationship, it can be done. The only question is: Are you ready for it?