I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. I’ve found they tend to be simple at their cores, but we complicate matters when we’re in them.
We’ve all experienced friends telling us complicated stories about things that are not right in their relationships, but in the same breath, they tell us how devastatingly in love they are with their partners.
In the next breath, however, they tell us they’re not sure they’re meant to be together forever.
They tell us that though they love their partners so much, they sometimes worry. They question their feelings.
They tell us story after story, some of which leave us believing they’re meant to be, and several that leave us questioning why they ever got together in the first place.
When we recount these stories, we tend to think they’re simple. We tell others they met at the wrong time, or they’re just not right for each other at this very moment.
Perhaps, some day in the future, they’ll become the right people for one another. Just not now.
We tell people they’re just too different, and from our perspective, this seems to be very clear. We can see where things unravel, why their fights last until dawn breaks and why each person is just too tired to keep things going.
Despite this perceived clarity, we watch them try. We see them struggle, fight after fight, with each tear as a painful reminder of another.
The lyrics of one of Billie Holiday’s most famous song offers an explanation that many have come to accept:
“All who love are blind… smoke gets in your eyes.”
But, is the intensity of love creating a smoke of emotion that clouds our perception of the truth?
We think the truth is there, and present each time we have that same fight. It’s there each time we cry those hopeless tears. It’s there each time we go to sleep angry, unsure of whether we’ll ever find a resolution.
Our feelings for the other person and the good times we can’t get out of our heads complicate the situation.
These memories become the gel that keeps us glued to the person we fought so hard to keep. Time after time, we think we see the truth — we weren’t meant to be — and it eats at us.
Like drowning sailors desperate to stay afloat, we cast line after line, hoping one of them will finally catch. We’re in love.
We’ve never felt this way before about anyone. When push comes to shove and the relationship comes to a breaking point, we miss the other person with an intensity of emotion we never knew existed.
We are desperate and we are lost. Pain like this shouldn’t be experienced, we think to ourselves. Pain like this is unreal. In the words of Jeanette Winterson,
“Why is the measure of love loss?”
I don't think we realize what the truth is and what it has been this entire time: The world has never been perfect, and it never will be.
We think things will always work out how we want, if we just try hard enough, and it simply isn’t true.
The world can be inexplicably brutal at times, without reason. An idea I think many idealistic minds were raised to believe is if you do your very best, the world will treat you fairly.
Our struggle to maintain that belief is what keeps us in this constant struggle for perfection. With that constant struggle and belief comes inevitable disappointment and frustration.
Much of our pain and disillusionment comes from that very expectation. Two unique, beautiful and intelligent people, who have very different ideas about how their lives will turn out, have a very small chance of agreeing on everything.
We don’t spend enough time thinking about what a miracle it is when you find someone to love. It is a greater miracle indeed, when the person your heart desires wants you back just as fervently.
I recall how difficult it was to find someone who made me feel like I finally found the person for whom I’d been searching. When that person fell in love with me, I remember thinking about how lucky I was to be with the one I dreamed about at night.
The probability of one person’s affections being matched by another was, in my opinion, infinitesimal, and I genuinely felt like the stars had suddenly aligned. I was pretty damn lucky, I thought, and I wasn’t about to let that luck get away from me.
You know that feeling you get when you wake up on a Sunday morning next to the love of your life, and you smile simply because you’re so happy he or she is next to you?
That feeling you get when you’re dancing with someone in your living room and you feel like you could die in his or her arms as the happiest person on the planet? That doesn’t come around very often.
In fact, I’d venture to say it might only happen once or twice in a lifetime.
I’ve found that many tend to take love for granted. One too many disagreements, and they tell themselves they’ll just hop back on OkCupid and find another love.
What I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about is the fact that our lives are very short.
Life will never be perfect, and it won’t always play out in ways we expect. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can make the best of what we’re given. And, in this imperfect world, the greatest thing we can do is lead lives that are lived passionately.
When you find a love that feels like the best thing you’ve ever had, one that makes you pinch yourself because you can’t believe your luck, hold onto it with everything you have.
I know when I leave this Earth, I would rather have died trying to live my life as a beautiful mess, rather than simply as an acceptable expectation.
“Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.” — Unknown