Love is a fickle bitch. It's so confusing. It can be so overwhelming that it turns people into love-crazed beings who will do literally anything for the sake of adrenaline coursing through their veins.
And, love can also be something that loses its meaning... after weeks, months and even years.
Our society tosses around the word "love" too easily. We lose sight of what the definition of love really means.
Love is the reason we give when we get out of a relationship that's lost its meaning, "I loved myself too much to stay." It's also the reason we give when we stay in a relationship too long. We justify that love can eventually comfort us the way an old pair of sneakers feels against our skin.
It's comforting, and yes, it may have lost its pep along the way, but once there was love, once there was meaning and once there was hope. We accept that this is just what happens when we stay in a relationship too long, despite the love no longer being there.
For me, I fell out of love two years before my relationship ended. I remember sitting in our bedroom, talking on the phone with my girlfriend and saying, "I can't believe I'll never kiss another man again."
I didn't say it in a way that was joyful. Nope, I said it with dread. I couldn't believe that I'd never feel the start of a new relationship again. I'd never again feel those butterflies when that first date ends, and the taste of their kiss still lingers on you.
I felt trapped in a dead-end relationship, with a partner, who I once loved, but didn't anymore.
That feeling was mutual, we didn't try to make us work. After months of convincing ourselves that the flame between us just needed to be rekindled, we both finally accepted that our feelings had changed.
There was too much damage -- we had said too much and resented each other for who we had each become. And, when it finally ended, I felt relieved, despite still feeling heartbroken.
That's why love is fickle. It can make you feel both feel grateful to be over, and devastated that it ended. When friends of mine asked me why I stayed two years past the point of being happy, I often tell them that it's because I wanted to prove to everyone that we worked.
I wanted to take him with me to my 10-year high school reunion, and show that I was still with the man I walked down the halls of my high school with.
I wanted to prove to the friends I'd lost, that our friendship was worth losing, prove to my family that love can persist when you're 18 and have found the "love of your life" and prove to myself that I had made the right decision, because it was easier than accepting I had made a mistake.
Not that love is a mistake; I'd choose love every single time, but this kind of love was bitter. This kind of love didn't suit me.
I stayed in a loveless relationship to prove to myself that I was still the smart, level-headed woman who thought she was capable of making such a grand decision. I wanted to believe that love was worth fighting for, and sacrificing for.
You should stay in a relationship because you want to be, not because you think that's what will look best and especially not because you feel like you have something to prove.