“Yeah, but you don’t understand what I’ve been through”.
“The men I’ve dated never met my needs.”
“I’ll never find a woman like that.”
These are the battle cries of the cynic.
These are the lamentations of the victim.
These are the stubborn beliefs of people who have given up.
They’ve given up because they had expectations of how “love” was supposed to be and they were disappointed, crushed, abandoned on the side of the road and left for dead.
I’m glad you gave up on unrealistic expectations of what love is, but why use that as an excuse to take your chips and go home? You’ve already done the oh-so-important work of stripping away the bullshit that Disney sold us, so why stop there?
The reason people give up on love and go home is they thought it was supposed to be easy. They thought once you slipped a ring on someone’s finger that magic relationship fairies would fly down and wipe away all the resentment and hurt caused by your inability to communicate with your partner. They thought they could transcend the unconscious habits of their parents’ relationship without putting in the work. They thought being in love is enough, and let me tell you brothers and sisters. It ain’t.
If we saw love for what it is, instead of what it should be, we wouldn’t be so cynical and resigned. We would get knocked down and get back up. We wouldn’t see couples retreats as something for new age hippies, and we wouldn’t consider counseling and therapy as a last resort.
You gotta work baby, work.
Or not. The best way to avoid putting in effort into your relationship is to default to the expectation that it should be easy. There are certainly enough pieces of evidence to support that.
How often do you get to see a couple when they are in the middle of an argument? I think it’s beautiful, and when Paula and I argue, we don’t hide it from other people, we let them see it. I think on some level it’s incredibly healing to see a couple process their bullshit with each other. It’s like spotting a rare white elk, since most of the time all we get to see are couples in love and doing kissy-kiss with each other, especially on Facebook.
This is what the cynics miss. On some level they still think it’s supposed to be easy, so they take themselves out of the game, and that becomes a vicious cycle, because once we start holding back in love, it becomes even harder. We start putting up walls, writing out our list of conditions and suiting up our armor even before the game begins.
Love isn’t something you can let in, it’s something that emerges from within you. When someone you love dies, you are ripped open by love. It’s an inside job. How can you build walls to keep out something that doesn’t come from outside you?
I hope we give up on what we thought love was, because only then can we start to experience what love really is. It’s messy, it’s amazing, it’s frustrating, it’s nourishing, it’s everything.
Comic from ZenPencils