Let’s get it out of the way; I don’t believe in love. Frankly speaking, if you ask me to explain what I mean, I wouldn’t be able to put it in words. That’s the beauty of the whole thing. Lust is what we mostly define as love anyway; you know ‘that feeling you’ve never felt before’….. (That you will feel again and again and again before you die).
Before the advent of our current thought process, many couples didn’t know each other till their wedding days or slightly before, in a more liberal case. A lot of those relationships made it. So where did ‘love’ play a role? In my opinion, love is never enough. We need to understand that healthy relationships require more than pure emotions or lofty passions. There are things more important in our lives and our relationships than simply being in love. And the success of our relationships hinges on these deeper and more important values.
When I think of all of the disastrous relationships I’ve seen or heard about, many (or most) of them were entered into on the basis of emotion — they felt that ‘spark’ and so they just dived in head first. Forget that he was a born-again Christian alcoholic and she was an acid-dropping bisexual necrophiliac. It just felt right.
And then six months later, when she’s throwing his shit out onto the lawn and he’s praying to Jesus twelve times a day for her salvation, they look around and wonder, “Gee! Where did it go wrong?”
The truth is, it went wrong before it even began.
When dating and looking for a partner, you must use not only your heart, but your head. Yes, you want to find someone who makes your heart flutter and your farts smell like party jollof rice, but you also need to evaluate a person’s values, how they treat themselves, how they treat those close to them, their ambitions and their world-views in general.
‘Love’ does not solve your relationship problems. How someone treats you or doesn’t, points you in the right direction at least.
The roller coaster of emotions can be intoxicating, each high feeling even more important and more valid than the one before, but unless there’s a stable and practical foundation beneath your feet, that rising tide of emotion will eventually come and wash it all away.
Love is not always worth sacrificing yourself for and that is the route most of us take. We completely invalidate ourselves (the female’s stock-in-trade) to completely validate the man. If we don’t, he and society label her the bad luck charm. It is time to learn that one of the defining characteristics of loving someone is that you are able to think outside of yourself and your own needs to help care for another person and their needs as well.
But the question that doesn’t get asked often enough is exactly what and why are you sacrificing, and is it worth it?
In loving relationships, it’s normal for both people to occasionally sacrifice their own desires, their own needs, and their own time for one another. I would argue that this is normal and healthy and a big part of what makes a relationship so great.
But when it comes to sacrificing one’s self-respect, one’s dignity, one’s physical body, one’s ambitions and life purpose, just to be with someone, then that same love becomes problematic. A loving relationship is supposed to supplement our individual identity, not damage it or replace it. If we find ourselves in situations where we’re tolerating disrespectful or abusive behaviour, then that’s essentially what we’re doing: we’re allowing our love to consume us and negate us, and if we’re not careful, it will leave us as a shell of the person we once were.
That’s why I don’t believe in love.
I believe instead in the commitment of someone to want to be with me despite my very rough edges, to bravely let me fly, to trust me, respect me, validate me and most especially, hold my hand when it all sucks. I believe in being there for the person, giving the person the freedom to be, to admonish, communicate and most especially to accept the person as he is. This pretty much sums up tolerance. Maybe that is what love really is.