Three Harsh Truths About Love
The problem with idealizing love is that it leads to us having inaccurate ideas of what love is and what it can do for us. These irrational expectations therefore destroy the same relationships that we cherish in the first place.
Allow me to give you illustration.
1. Love Does Not Equal Compatibility
Just because you fall in love with someone doesn't definitely guarantee they'll be a wonderful long-term spouse for you. Love is a highly emotional experience. The process of compatibility is logical. And the two aren't particularly complementary.
It's possible to love someone who doesn't treat us well, who makes us feel bad about ourselves, who doesn't respect us as much as we regard them, or who has such a disordered existence that they threaten to drag us down with them.
It's possible to fall in love with someone who has opposing ambitions or life objectives to our own, who holds opposing philosophical beliefs or worldviews to our own understanding of reality.
It's easy to fall in love with someone who isn't interested in our happiness or our well-being.
That may seem counterintuitive, but it's true.
When I think of all of the failed relationships I've witnessed or heard about from individuals, I realize that many (if not all) of them were started on the basis of emotion—they felt the "spark" and jumped in head first. Forget about the fact that he was a born-again Christian alcoholic and she was a bisexual necrophiliac who drank acid. It was simply the proper feeling.
They look around and wonder, “Gee, where did it go wrong?” six months later, when she's throwing her shit out on the lawn and he's praying to Jesus twelve times a day for her salvation.
The truth is, it was doomed from the start.
You must utilize your brains as well as your heart when dating and hunting for a partner. Yes, you're looking for someone that makes your heart skip a beat and makes your farts smell like cherry popsicles. However, you must also consider a person's values, how they treat themselves and others, their objectives, and their worldviews in general.
Because, as the ski instructor from South Park once observed, if you fall in love with someone who is incompatible with you, you're going to have a miserable time.
2. Love Does Not Solve Your Relationship Problems
My first girlfriend and I were head over heels in love. We also lived in different cities, didn't have enough money to see each other, had feuding families, and had weekly bouts of meaningless drama and fighting.
And every time we fought, the next day we'd make up and remind each other how crazy we were about each other and how none of those tiny things mattered because we're so in love and we'll figure it out and everything will be fine, just wait and see. Our love made us feel like we were overcoming our problems, even though nothing had changed on a practical level.
As you may expect, none of our issues were handled. The conflicts have place again and again. The squabbles became more heated. Our inability to see each other hung like an albatross around our necks. We were both so consumed with ourselves that we couldn't even converse well. I talked on the phone for hours and hours without saying anything. Looking back, there was no way it could have lasted. Despite this, we kept it up for three years!
After all, doesn't love conquer all?
That relationship, predictably, went up in flames and plummeted into an oil field like the Hindenburg. The breakup was a disaster. And the most important thing I learned from it was this:
While love can make you feel better about your relationship troubles, it does not solve them.
This is how a poisonous connection operates. The emotional roller coaster is addictive, each high feeling more meaningful and valid than the one before it, but unless you have a solid and practical foundation beneath your feet, the increasing tide of emotion will eventually sweep it all away.
3. Love Is Not Always Worth Sacrificing Yourself For
One of the defining aspects of loving someone is the ability to think beyond yourself and your own wants in order to assist in the care of another person and their needs.
But the issue that isn't commonly answered is: what exactly are you giving up, and is it worth it?
It's common in love partnerships for both partners to sacrifice their own desires, wants, and time for the sake of the other. This, I would say, is normal and healthy, and it's a large part of what makes a relationship so wonderful.
But the same love becomes troublesome when it comes to surrendering one's self-respect, dignity, physical body, ambitions, and life purpose only to be with someone. A meaningful partnership is designed to enhance, not detract from, our distinct identity.
If we find ourselves in situations where we tolerate rude or abusive behavior, we are essentially doing the same thing: we are letting our love to consume and negate us, leaving us a shell of the person we once were if we aren't cautious.
The Friendship Test
“You and your spouse should be best friends,” says one of the oldest pieces of love advice in the book. Most individuals interpret such advise positively: I should spend time with my partner as I would with a best friend, I should talk honestly with my partner as I would with a best friend, and I should have fun with my relationship as I would with a best friend.
However, it is equally important to consider the bad aspects:
Would you put up with your partner's bad habits in your best friend?
Surprisingly, when we ask ourselves this question honestly, the answer is “no” in the majority of dysfunctional and codependent relationships.
I know a young lady who recently married. Her husband was the love of her life. Despite the fact that he had been "between jobs" for almost a year, showed no interest in arranging the wedding, frequently deserted her to go surfing with his mates, and her friends and family expressed not-so-subtle reservations about him, she gladly married him.
However, once the wedding's emotional high had worn off, reality struck in. He's still "between jobs" a year into their marriage, trashes the house while she's at work, gets angry if she doesn't make supper for him, and tells her she's "spoiled" and "arrogant" whenever she complains. Oh, yet he still abandons her to go surfing with his buddies.
And she ended up in this circumstance by ignoring all three of the unpleasant realities listed above. She was a romantic idealist. Despite being slapped in the face by all of the warning flags he raised while dating him, she believed their love meant they were compatible in a relationship. It didn't work out. When her friends and relatives expressed concerns in the months leading up to the wedding, she believed that their love would eventually overcome their difficulties. It didn't work out. And now that everything had collapsed into a steaming shite, she sought counsel from her pals on how she could further sacrifice herself to make it work.
And the truth is, it isn't going to happen.
Why do we put up with things in love relationships that we would never put up with in friendships?
Imagine your best buddy moving in with you, trashing your place, refusing to work or pay rent, demanding you cook dinner for them, and becoming enraged and yelling at you whenever you complained.
The only way to properly appreciate love in your life is to choose to prioritize something else in your life over love.
Throughout your life, you will have the opportunity to fall in love with a diverse range of people. Individuals who are good for you and people who are horrible for you can both fall in love with you. There are both healthy and bad ways to fall in love. When you're young and when you're old, you can fall in love. Love is not one-of-a-kind. Love isn't anything extraordinary. Love is plentiful.
Your self-respect, on the other hand, is. Your dignity is also at stake. Your ability to trust is also in jeopardy. There may be many loves in your life, but if you lose your self-respect, dignity, or ability to trust, it is extremely difficult to regain them.
It's a fantastic feeling to fall in love. It's one of life's most unforgettable events. And it's something that everyone should strive to achieve.
It can, however, be good or unhealthy, just like any other experience. It cannot be allowed to define us, our identities, or our lives purpose, just like any other experience. We must not allow it to swallow us. We can't put our identities and self-worth on the line for it. We lose love and we lose ourselves the moment we do it.
Because life necessitates more than love. Love is a wonderful thing. Love is required. Love is a lovely thing. Love, on the other hand, is insufficient.
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