All of us have experienced love.
The euphoria and excitement of having someone who cares for us, wants to share their time, and be a part of our life.
Couplehood can be bliss.
But can love last eternally? Can we fathom a love strong enough to grow old with someone?
Life would be much easier if we could only wear a love-relationship-meter watch that shows the expiration date of the relationship so we could preempt what we are getting into.
I am learning to love myself again after a failed relationship of two years of co-habitating with my partner. My ideology of love has been ruined. I thought we were in madly in love. Everyone could see and feel the love. I was not deluding myself. We were planning a future, had a wedding date and we started trying for a baby. We even made bi-monthly visits to the fertility centers together to check on the progress of creating a new life. Commitment was evident, I thought.
Then he changed and was showing signs of having an outside relationship, and then he told me his love for me had died. I thought he was playing a joke on me. He denied a third party and said he just wanted to be alone. The wedding was cancelled.
He broke my spirit when I saw his true face after removing his mask. Warmness was replaced with stone coldness. I spiraled into depression and denial, and went into a self-destructive mode and escapism. Ashamed. I hated myself for my weakness, for hanging on to the memories, and refusing to move on.
Six months later, he married someone else and I was unaware until I had seen it on Facebook. The same adoration he had for me and the same love phrases he used with me were now showered upon his new wife. She looked pregnant in her wedding gown and I thought that explained why our relationship had ended so suddenly.
I moved on by grieving his death to me. I buried our past. A closure that bears no forgiveness.
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” ~ Osho
I have learned that there are several reasons why relationships fail. Some may last a longer than others but ultimately there are reasons why certain relationships won’t last.
Love is not about possession, but appreciation. There is so much appreciation in a new relationship, and we express our awe of knowing each other constantly. Over time, we express that appreciation of our partner less, or we expect them to know that we appreciate them.
As mothers tending to our babies, we become so busy with the toddlers that we neglect our husband who needs that constant reassurance of love. He may seek to replace the lack of emotional attention from a younger female, and an affair could occur.
Love can die due to discontentment when one is contributing more in the family, and giving more than receiving. The wife could feel that her husband does not love her that much, and end up disregarding anniversaries and seeking love from someone else.
We have to work hard at maintaining closeness. Closeness does not happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and become susceptible to emotional affairs which progress into sexual intimacies. Love is broken when trust is misplaced.
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” ~ John Lennon
We are all guilty of wearing masks. Some of us are willing to remove our masks earlier to expose our true selves to our partner and be vulnerable in love. An unguarded love. Some keep wearing masks until the fatigue of pretending to be who we are not settles in. We say that our partners change. Sometimes it’s not the people who change, it’s the mask that falls off.
The false perception of the person was the one we could accept love from, but the unmasked man remains a stranger we do not know or want to give our love to. However, everyone has a dark side. And we worry if our partner will still love us if we show them our dark side. Will we still deserve unconditional love or will they walk away when we show them the weak, raw, vulnerable, true face that we felt we had to mask to conform to societal expectations?
They say that true love can last through thick and thin. With love, they accept you at your strongest yet love and support you at your weakest. This seldom holds true.
I have seen a few of my friends who have had business failures and went into bankruptcies, and the marriage ended when they were at their weakest. Love is bullsh*t to them. It lasts only when times are good. Losing the wealth and fancy cars, they lost the spouse too, who bailed from them the second they couldn’t maintain the existing financial supporting system.
Love fails when we try to change our partners or when we have mismatched wants in life. It is good to update your dreams together regularly to make sure both are on the same path.
Men are not complicated and they tell us directly what they really want. If children are not in their plan, it would be wrong to start a relationship hoping that, in time, he would change and accept your desire for a child. When a woman says she loves her sexy body and doesn’t want to ruin it by having a baby, listen clearly to what she is saying. Do not marry her thinking that you can start a family with her. It will not happen.
Do not confuse sex with love. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love.
Listen—truly listen—to your partner’s concerns and complaints without judgment.
Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadness as well as hopes and dreams.
Initiate sex, even if you do not feel like it. To decide you will not be a physical partner in bed because you do not feel like it is like deciding that there will be no more conversation because he is not a talker.
My parents shared with me the most important success in a relationship is tolerance. No matter any differences that occur in a day, never go to sleep angry. It is best to sort it out before going to bed. Clear off any resentments and start a new day fresh.
Love is not an absolute, nor a limited commodity that you are in of or out of. It is a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. The feelings can come flowing back, stronger than before if effort is taken to discover new ways of interaction with each other.
Love can be a wonderful experience. Honesty, trust, respect, patience and understanding are building blocks to a lasting relationship. We have to love ourselves before we can love others.
Being single and completely out of relationships now, I value the freedom this new status has given me. It is not expressed out of bitterness but true honesty. I am much happier now.
Loving someone else besides yourself takes a lot of effort and energy. An emotional investment. We never truly know if the other person is on the same page and how long they will be. Love is not just for moments. Love and marriage are a lifelong commitment.
It is hard for me to trust someone again with all my heart. Love has changed me. I am no longer the same person who was so ready to jump into commitment and marriage a year ago. Love is a beautiful thing but it is definitely not my cup of tea now. I’d rather love myself and travel alone and be with my family and friends the people who truly matter most.
“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Author: Michelle Hardie
Image: Author’s Own
Apprentice Editor: Christy Williams; Editor: Travis May