“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
How can you not love Anais Nin’s ever inspiring words?
Love. It is ever illusive, much sought after, and the greatest enigma of our lives. There are no words to explain love; romantic, friendly, familial, or otherwise. It is what it is. Inexplicable, extraordinary, all consuming, unceasing, and life altering no matter what the outcome.
When you’re romantically in love you think it will never end, you feel like you’re on top of the world, as if you can accomplish anything. So what happens when relationships end? Where does the love go? How can you go from having such passionate, genuine feelings for someone to being indifferent or hating them. This is not a ‘Sex and the City’ Carrie Bradshaw column, it’s an honest question.
We write songs about love, build the Taj Mahal, move across countries, quit smoking; we mold our lives around the people we love. Our significant others are what represent our faith in the goodness of the world in a sense. This is why when they let us down in one way or another we are so incredibly hurt. Inevitably we will disappoint one another and that is always hard to swallow. But what exactly is it that puts a strain on our love for one another or what ends it?
I am married to someone I love very much, but our love is not the love it was when it first began. We have had a very difficult relationship with ups and downs that are almost inexplicable. Ours isn’t something unheard of or unparallelled, but it hasn’t been the easiest. When I was a young, silly, beyond hopeful, and idealistic 17 year old girl and in love for the first time my husband was the greatest person on Earth to me. He was my favorite person to be around and at the time I could really call him one of my best friends as we had been genuine friends before we dated. I can say that we knew each other and enjoyed each others company outside of our romantic relationship. At first we were straight out of one of my favorite Olsen twin movies growing up (yes, I was a fan thanks to my best friends)…”It’s that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars over the fence, world series kind of love”. I was young and innocent and that’s always how you describe first love. I was untainted, never had been disappointed, and incredibly optimistic. Then time passes and things happen…
Our rocky road is a totally different blog post, but in summation that’s what it has been. When your love for someone grows and evolves a lot of things grow from it. For me, as time continues it has been my commitment to him, my faith in him, fostered by my love for him that have kept us afloat. When it comes down to it a woman is the one ultimately responsible for maintaining relationships because being a nurturer is not in a man’s nature, so you have to put in the work. Don’t get me wrong the guy has to show you he’s present and treat you well and give you the things you want, but the fundamentals are put in place and maintained by the woman. That isn’t a bad thing though if reading that turns you off…that’s good because it means you set the standard. Your commitment has to be unwavering especially through rough patches because that’s when it really counts. These are the times that really test your limits and when you learn what your limits truly are. You can claim all sorts of things and makes statements like, “I would never..”, “If he/she ever did..”, “There is no way that I would deal with/put up with…”, but it means nothing until you are put in the situation because you can’t ever be sure what you will actually do. I am the first person to attest to the fact that I was the reigning Queen of the previously mentioned statements. Obviously I was clueless and had no idea what I was talking about…
So, then it comes down to the disintegration of relationships gone bad. Where do you draw the line and say enough is enough? When does your love “die” or stop being enough? I think that answer is different from person to person. Ultimately the demise has to lie in being deceived and disappointed as those are usually what cause irreparable damage. There is also a difference between loving someone and being a masochist. Regardless, there comes a time in some relationships when there is no repair. But, if you believe love is energy, like I do, then it can’t possibly die right? Maybe you just learn to love yourself more than the other person and so your commitment to being your best self supersedes your love for said person. Then there is also the ugly part of broken relationships that you have to contend with…the thought of hating another person who you once so loved is terrible, but sadly a result of having been badly hurt. We are only human and when people wrong you there is going to be resentment and sometimes (depending on the severity of the wrong doing) people will never speak again, go through bitter divorces, and do vindictive things to each other, and that is so sad to see or be a part of. Sadly, like everyone else I don’t really know the answer to when enough is enough, I think if any of us did we would all be walking around this planet in blissful relationships.
There is also an alternate “death” to a romantic relationship…falling out of love. How the hell does that happen? If everything in your relationship is as close to perfect as possible on the inside, how do you stop loving someone? I guess we grow and not in the same direction and subsequently apart, or maybe there is damage that we don’t see or acknowledge. Sometimes we can no longer give the other person what they need or they can’t give us what we now require. Maybe you even fell in love with someone else? Can that happen when you still love the person you’re in a relationship with? No right? Who knows…love is fluid and different for each individual person. I define love differently than you, then my husband, than my neighbor, and the lady sitting next to me on the train, so our perception and needs vary.
Basically, regardless of the outcome love should be celebrated, cherished, appreciated, and marveled at because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Every single minute counts, every kiss and loving gesture means something. And one day all that might be gone, but it doesn’t make the time any less relevant. A spoiled love shouldn’t ruin you for the next one. We might not have a successful relationship with the “greatest” love of our lives, most people don’t, but the love is there, it always remains in the time and space in which it was. Don’t harbor resentment against former loves, appreciate what you had and all that energy you spend dwelling on the negative..take it and remember your time together for all the good times, even if they were few and far between. Be grateful that you had them because no matter what they DID teach you something, they gave you something you needed at the time, and the end of your relationship closes a door, but opens one too. Nothing has made me loose faith in love, I believe in it, can’t live without it, and if we didn’t need it, it wouldn’t manifest in so many forms in our lives. After all it’s what makes the world go ’round, right? A lot of songs tell us so at least…