Coming to the most complex of human relationships which no human has been able to figure out is the complex relationship between a male and a female; a state of being in love.
What makes this relationship complex? Why do people crave for it yet not know how to get it? These are few questions that come to mind when talking about it. This is one relationship, which is very very malleable, brittle and volatile and has indefinite boundaries. Earlier in previous posts, I wrote about the definition of love and the many ways it could be described. Well, this is that relationship in which you would find all those flavors and that is what makes it so complex. Every relationship is different and it is hard to put it all in one mould.
Even though this is known to be one of the most complex of relationships, it is also the most coveted. Everyone searches for it, wants to experience it and dreams of finding love some day. There are many terms associated with this experience, such as true love, soulmates, unconditional love, passion, commitment, and so on., Considering it is so difficult to find, when found, it is lost pretty easily too. If just finding a person to love is not difficult enough, staying in love is an equally daunting task. It has been rightly said that, love is not for the faint hearted. Love needs courage.
Many ‘love stories’ end even before it begins because some people lack the courage to step up and tell the other that they love them. The fear of rejection is so much more stronger than the fact that they are in love. Is acceptance so important? What happens if that love is rejected? Do they just move on to another? or do they never love again? Let me share a story about two people.
The story began while they were studying in college. The boy fell in love with the girl the moment he saw her. He stayed far and watched her everyday, fiercely protecting her without her knowledge from any trouble. She was completely oblivious to his existence, let alone his feelings. A couple of years later, some friends hinted to her about his feelings which she immediately disregarded. Towards the end of their college career, the boy approached the girl and earnestly told her about his feelings. He expressed his wishes to meet her parents and propose in the right manner. She said she was not interested as she did not know him. She politely declined and went away. After college they went their separate ways. Many many years later, she found out that after she rejected his proposal, he went to his parents and said he can never love another again so for their sake he will marry any girl they choose. And he did. When asked about it he apparently said, “Just because she said no, I can’t stop loving her. I loved her everyday for four years. My love was not conditional to her acceptance.”
Is this true love? Or is it love only when both are completely invested in it?
Lets move on to the scenario where the boy and girl are equally interested and find in each other what they had been looking for. Once the getting to know you phase is over, they start being themselves. This is the crucial phase because now they are revealing their true personalities. The lucky few seal their love in this stage because they realize that they are definitely meant for each other. For the rest, this is the beginning of a long agonizing period of arguments, distrust, setting rules and conditions, which ultimately destroys it completely. This tornado leaves behind broken hearts, wounded egos and unforgettable experiences. They try hard to mend it and the harder they try, the deeper the cracks run. Some do manage to survive, they pick up the pieces and set it straight again. For many its a fight within themselves to accept the failure.
How does it begin to go wrong?
As one gets closer in a relationship the demands increase, they want a lot of attention, they become very possessive and they try to control what the other person does, they even go as far as telling the other person what they should like or dislike, it other words some relationships turn slowly into a low level dictatorship. All this is suffocating and they start throwing temper tantrums. This is a person who had silently tried to fight being changed and then suddenly changes so much that he/she becomes unrecognizable to his or her own self.
They revolt. Then what?
The people who swear by the word freedom, and say that they would give their partners a lot of respect and freedom are the ones who curtail and suffocate the other. They become too demanding and somewhere here they have crossed the line and have moved over from love to devotion. They start demanding devotion. Many people start confusing extreme love to possessiveness. Possessiveness is love with lots of restrictions and demands. It is the need to know every minute what that person is up to. A need to be told everything that goes on in their life; it is insecurities at its worst. It is not giving the person their freedom or respect. It is expecting the person to be at their beck and call. Possessiveness is letting the other person think for you and take that as the guidelines for you to run your life by. Giving into possessiveness is killing ones self-respect and identity. These relationships can’t last long.
Love whose foundation is based on pity, sacrifice, materialistic matters and possessiveness will crumble. At some point it breaks free from all the restraints.
Then what is love?
So long we just spoke about the darker side of love but there is the rosy side too. Love that has been made immortal in countless movies, ballads or a dashing couple from Mills & Boon. It can be rewarding and fulfilling. It can be best described as the next stage of a very good friendship. When people take a step further from being very good friends it turns into love. When there is a physical aspect involved in friendship it becomes love. When you feel happiness is in just being with the person, its love. When you feel happy just because the other is happy then that’s love. When you can feel what the other person is feeling and you can understand them completely then that is love. When in love you are able to look beyond their mistakes and give them a second chance. You are able to live in today, for today and not think of tomorrow. Everything around you looks beautiful, and you feel an inner peace inside you that leaves you smiling even when you are alone, when you feel very confident about yourself, when that special someone adds to your aura, when that person makes you a better person and becomes an important part of your life, when you want to share every joy every sorrow, every success every failure with that person, when you want to involve that person in your future, when you feel that this is the person you want to grow old with then that is LOVE. Love is being secure in your surroundings. Love is being sure of what you are and about your partner. Love just brings out the best in you and makes you a better person.
In my first post, I shared the definition of love which said that love is ‘something that is described as a liking for pleasure without compensation, gratuitously’ which means that you just give in love and do not expect anything in return. Yet we say that love satisfies some need in the other person. Two conflicting statements, but what it really means is that the need that is being satisfied is a subconscious need. You don’t go around looking for someone to satisfy you, be it, intellectually, physically, mentally, emotionally, artistically…. But when that happens then you do start liking that person because that person is making you happy and when you ask yourself why that person is making you happy the answer usually lies within you. There is something that you lacked, was a priority and defines who you are. That need is being fulfilled by this love. That is your identity. That should give you an insight as to what you are by just looking at what is important to you.
One of my first experiences I remember about the male-female relationship was when I was still in my high school. I had this neighbor who apparently liked me very much and so to prove his point he just went ahead and put down his feelings for me in blood on paper and sent it to me! I was aghast that someone would hurt themselves just to make a point. I didn’t like him because my only thinking was that how can a person be capable of respecting somebody when you can’t respect yourself. That was my first realization about how people go out of their way to make a point and what infatuation is all about.
Unfortunately incidents like these became the main reason that I was misled on the meaning of love and a good relationship with anyone. I never believed in love and didn’t trust anyone too. I figured there is nothing like love and what the other person felt was plain attraction and infatuation. Most of the cases that was true too but even if there was a chance of one developing into a true love, I never gave it a chance and never let myself be drawn into it.
I realized that for some people devotion is an extension of love and for some love is an extension of friendship. Those people who experienced love and devotion had a much more romantic and a more theatrical relationship with lots of highs and lows, thrills and extreme feelings, but for those who found love as an extension to their long friendship, it was very quiet, romantic, calm, peaceful, something which was very much present but not something you spoke about everyday but knowing that it was there and just feeling it.
If I had loved what would I look for?
If I were honest with myself, I would say that I would want someone to love me with the same intensity that I would love him. I don’t believe in the single track-martyr kind of love. I need to be repaid for giving out my love. I need to know that my love is being acknowledged and is being reciprocated. Without that I am sure I wouldn’t last long. I feel like I have so much love, which is so intense that, I worry that I could suffocate someone with my love if I let go completely. I would definitely require security, affection, friendship and some amount of devotion too from him. I wouldn’t require him to be perfect in everyway but I would respect him for knowing his shortcomings. Also, somebody who can be a constructive critic and make me a better person. He would have to be someone I could respect for the person he is. Likewise, I would want him to respect me and also the people around him. Someone who can keep me safe and someone who can bring out the best in me.
So I had to get my experiences about love from various books and the people around me who fell in love. Some succeeded, many failed. Each one though had a unique story of its own. I look back at those years when I had a chance at love and where I stand today in my present and realize I did good. I feel complete, I feel loved and I have people around me to share my completeness with.
More about it in my next post!
To sum it all up:
- “What’s the difference?” I asked him. “Between the love of your life, and your soulmate?” “One is a choice, and one is not.” ― Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein
- “There is no such thing as a soulmate…and who would want there to be? I don’t want half of a shared soul. I want my own damn soul.” Ely in Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
- “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” ― Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
- “When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.” ― Jess C. Scott, The Intern
- “I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.” ― Shana Abe