There’s no getting away from it. It really is all around, everywhere you look and a subject more often talked about than most. We all want love yet ask anyone to describe what it is and why they want it and you will get so many replies as to leave you confused.
I have to admit as a young child i was very much of the happily ever after brigade. Brought up on tales of princes and princesses and happily ever after. Truly believing that one day my eyes would meet those of the man i was destined to be with and he would sweep me off my feet, just like in the movies. Beating hearts and breathlessness and a passion leading you to want to be together forever. How rude an awakening when i found that life really isn’t like that at all.
Love, i have decided, is very like any other addiction. There is the initial excitement, loss of inhibition and the buzz that comes with any new drug. A newly discovered euphoria leaves you craving more and slowly the addiction takes hold. Love takes over, blurring the fringes of your reality until it is all you can think about. How much better your life seems with a dose of love to boost you along. You cannot deny that there are those fortunate enough to sail on this happy tide for the whole of their lives never knowing the ill effects that often creep in over time. For others the toxic effects begin to take hold and yet still you continue even knowing that this is bad for you. Addiction is hard to let go of and so often we cling to its safe familiarity. Better to be in bad love than not in love at all right?
Recently i have been talking to a friend about the breakdown of her relationship and whilst i should never divulge the confidences of another, safe it to say that i puzzled greatly over the reasons for its sad demise.
Change. Or rather refusal to accept any change which comes along. I have to admit i pondered a long time over this. My own relationship, whilst being far from the fairy tales of my childhood, is a very good one simply because i had been willing to compromise my expectations. My partner will be the first to admit he is not the flowery, gushy demonstrative type and perhaps he would not be the man for any woman seeking open and obvious affection such as my friend. But i find our relationship has a solid foundation and affection comes in an endearing way unique to only him. I think if perhaps i were less sure about myself and our relationship i should be unsettled by what may seem to others an unloving man. Yet to me in all my familiarity of him, i find him affectionate and loving in a way nobody else can see. Hard won but worth it when it appears.
I tried to explain this to my friend. People change but sometimes we have to change with them and relationships cannot always stay the same. Just because love settles into a familar comfortableness does not mean that it is no longer love. Very like a new pair of shoes, all shiny and taking time to break in, but once done so they settle and mould into a comfortable fit. Well worn and often much loved but different from the new shoes you first bought.
My friend just cannot accept the changes in their relationship and has chosen to end this since it does not meet the idea that she has of how it should be. I feel sad for her that the love she has is no longer the love she wants and perhaps she is right not to compromise her expectations. I asked her if she loved her partner and she said yes but he’s not like he used to be. Perhaps, i pointed out gently, you are in love with who he was and not who he is now.
We are very different she and i and whilst i should find it hard to let go of love for the sake of change i cannot fault her for doing so. I find i am with Shakespeare when i say…
”Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds”
I find i myself have changed a lot over the years, very different from the girl i was in my younger years. I have had my share of that sweeping all encompassing love and found that it did not end well. It is not to say that i should never be open to that kind of feelings again but i find now i have learned to expect differently from before. Perhaps age has made me less idealistic or perhaps i have simply learned to heed the lessons of experience and compromise where once i should demand.
You cant always live with it but it seems we definitely cannot live without it. I think all any of us can hope for is someone to notice when we are not around. Someone to care and to love us in whatever way they can and perhaps if for some this is not as bright and shiny as for others then no matter. We all want to feel loved and wanted and id like to hope that for most we find what we are looking for.
Sometimes you just need to look that little bit more closely.