Since the quest for love is such a big part of human existence, and a large part of what girls who are real friends actually talk about, I think the questions involved are worth considering. Since I’ve been a-wandering for the past few years, and set to wander again till next September, I’ll start by reflecting on distance, since that was a factor in my first love. All writing is autobiography, right?
Does intimacy demand proximity? Maybe it does, sometimes. When eros is based partially on making sweet physical love to your beloved, and the oxytocin might flow so much more freely skin to skin and not through a screen, the answer might be yes. But it also might be no, because eros is just one component of lasting love, and maybe I want something a bit higher, more spiritual. Not that I disdain the throes of physical ecstasy, quite to the contrary, but if that is what sustains a relationship, maybe that is not the relationship I want. I’ve been in one long term relationship, admittedly as a child in many ways (I was 16 when we met and almost 20 when I broke up with him, a moment which I consider defining) and a good deal of its longevity past the point where we could and perhaps should have gone our separate ways was due to routine and convenience. Having a movie buddy, social crutch, and best friend is not all we had going for us during all of our relationship (besides the physical intimacy part), but honestly it is what sustained it past the point I hid from myself the realization that I didn’t admire his character anymore, and our tastes in everything pretty much were wildly divergent. It was a somewhat long distance relationship, as we only saw each other on weekends, and that degree of absence, of not seeing how the other person really spends their time, might have hidden a lot that would have put out the fires a long time before that as well. So in that sense, the lack of intimacy is what made the relationship sustainable for such a long period, even though it was not quite right.
The worst part of a relationship is the sometimes long decrescendo, where you know the end will come, the ship is sinking, but you haven’t bailed yet for one reason or another. This is the part where denial kicks in, we make excuses for our lovers, and fear of loneliness rather than love of the person (or even just strong like if it could never quite be called love or the word is too fearful to be used). After the long relationship, I had what can best be described as a bad romance. It wasn’t good for me, because being with him often lead me to feel bad about myself, and to call it a relationship, despite about 3 weeks in total over the course of a 2 year on-again, off-again vicious cycle, would do a disservice to the term. At this point, about 2 years after the last I’ve seen of him, although he had the gall to reach out to me a few months ago in an unsavory way after I decided to wish him well on his job weeks before, I can say he’s not really a good person, although the illusion that he was or the desire to believe it kept me running back. I would say that since the relationship was based on an illusion, it was just a big descrescendo after I realized he wasn’t all that he cracked himself up to be, the complicated villain rather than the wounded hero. I can’t really say when that occurred, but the delusional environment of a college campus didn’t help. But this is the most painful part, when you think those sweet moments were all a sham and you realize that le temps des cerises (the cherry time, the happy times in love) is over and les peines cruelles d’amour set in.
The upshot of the sad realization that starts the descrescendo is that you finally know what you often knew all along, and learn to trust yourself. Who knows what little thing (something that reminds you of the last date you had a good time, the final gift given in good faith the relationship would continue) will remind you, and if you are me, set you off to wanting to lecture to the nearest person on that moment and all you’ve become since then, and no, don’t waste your precious time, your only life, on someone once that moment has come and gone. People deserve second chances, but they don’t deserve for you to stay connected to them once you know the relationship is over. You aren’t really doing them any favors at that point, even if they depend on you for emotional stability or will be heartbroken to see you go. The best thing you can give anyone at that point is a clean break, not false hope, not more time to try and make it work. I speak from real experience here. One of my dirty rotten secrets is that my first love, in a way, went a bit crazy when I left him. Despite the damage that caused various aspects of his life completely unrelated to me and the dramatic way in which things went to pieces, I don’t regret leaving him and I KNOW the way I did it was the best I knew at the time. Without that experience, he wouldn’t be the person he is today, and independent of me. I never let him think we would get back together to make him feel better or to make me feel less guilty, and as much as the bad romance I got in to brought me down, letting my first love relationship be corrupted would have been worse.
Is love pain? I think so, sometimes. I haven’t met the right person at the right time in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had feelings for anyone. Btws, who am I to answer these questions? Haven’t had much luck with it these days, but I think I will be ready when the time is right. When you love someone, you fear for their wellbeing and for yours that your feelings will be given back in kind. Fear is pretty painful, and the sad is that people we care about more will hurt us more than those we don’t care about. Your mother and father have probably hurt you more than anyone, but they have also loved you and built you up more, I hope. If you’ve ever loved a child, you will know just how much it hurts when they don’t feel like giving you a hug even though that has nothing to do with whether they are doing their part in the relationship.
One thing I can be sure of is love is the willingness to accept risk. Not only the pain that comes with love, and the rejection it may be met with, but also the risk that someone is going to completely turn your life upside down. If you’ve ever loved anyone, really truly, even in a platonic sense, your life is not the same as it was before. You have changed because of them, not only in the sense that your care for them has become a fundamental part of your being, but the way you see the world has changed. When you decide to get a pet, you have to commit to feeding, picking up after, and meeting that little creature’s needs. That is a huge intrusion on what you could otherwise be doing, but plenty of people consciously become pet owners every day, and feel the unconditional love they feel from their pet, and to a certain extent, feel for their pet (I hope they love actual human beings more, just saying) is worth it. That’s right, it’s not just what you receive that makes it worth it, it is what you give. Because any form of love, even if it’s just loving jazz music, makes you a bigger person, more tied to this finite existence on this planet and the garden of good and evil it contains. Even if you love humanity in the abstract, or justice, or some principle, you are then tied to executing it on a day to day basis, and your life matters a little more to you, even it leads you to sacrifice your life for it. It might seem that you think whatever you sacrifice for is worth more than your life diminishes the significance of this life, but the truth is that it gives your life meaning and only amplifies its importance. So I think Socrates and Jesus and all those other philosophers and martyrs loved life more than anyone, even though they consciously sacrificed theirs. Less abstractly, when you love a person, be ready for her to rock your world!