What’s truly important when it comes to those 3 little words?
Having been unattached for many months now, I must say, it’s nice to get the rhythm of my own life back. It isn’t nice to begin with, of course – this period is a real kick in the guts! But relationships fall apart because they are no longer good for us.
It’s funny how we often glorify relationships for a little while after they end, plucking out all the good moments which were scattered throughout the relationship, and forgetting the foundation of uneasiness, or “dis-ease”, that came with it. Even if it’s just the slight dis-ease of not being completely true to ourselves.
This seems like one of the more serious diseases, no?
Flashbacks of the laughing face of a past love with an outstretched hand as we ran across the road, a cheeky look, or the sparkle in the eyes before a goodbye kiss. It all sounds so grand – and it is. Grand, but delusional. Even nice relationships that fall apart do so for a reason. (Besides, they were never actually as nice as you think).
I know I’m not the only one guilty of this.
I have a close friend who had a very abusive partner. Years after his relationship ended, he would wake up in the middle of the night and remember the times they just held each other, or lay in bed and talked openly. The moments when there was nothing but their love, and they were simply “being”.
Love is grand, no doubt. But it’s also slightly insane, and has a terrible memory. What’s more important than the simple existence of the words “I love you”, is how we love. And not just in the scattered moments, but at the core of the relationship.
For me, it’s all about space. Allowing someone to be themselves with you, alongside you. It’s both a choice, and an honour. But it has to be founded on respect and kindness, too. I read someone once say, “If your partner isn’t your best friend, then something is wrong.”
I’ve known people who turn love into a business transaction: “You give me comfort, stability, support, sex, and I’ll give you the same”. To me, that kind of thinking is exactly what degrades love and turns it into something meaningless, almost fake. It bypasses the honour of giving a person space on our inescapably solo journey (no matter who we spend time with), and sees them as merely vessels for love, as if it were a commodity.
Luckily, the universe has our back, and these relationships end.
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about the “love of one’s fate”. When something happens which appears negative, such as a breakup, he maintains it must be what needs to happen. The universe constantly conspires for your best interests. Clearly, to hold such a belief is easier said than done, but I’ve found with relationships, this always holds true.
The older I get, the less I choose to be ruled by love. If I don’t think I can provide someone the space they need, I’ll give it a miss. If there isn’t kindness and respect at the core of things, I’ll pass. It will all be OK, regardless – but perhaps with some self-care people like my dear friend could be spared some sleepless nights?
Perhaps the trick is to find your own rhythm first, and value yourself enough not to invite in anyone who does not dance to the same beat.