Friday, November 30, 2012

Things no one told you about Love

When I was a little girl there was nothing more in the world that I wanted than to be in love. More than I wanted a pony, or to be a princess, or to not go to school, I wanted to be in love. Being in love is something that is force fed to us from birth pretty much. It is almost like it is programmed into us.

Nearly every fairy tale you read is about being in love. The fair princess and her handsome prince defying some great odds to be together. True loves kiss will solve all the worlds ills. There is always a happily ever after.

Here in the real world things work a little differently. Love is one of the greatest powers in the universe, I will  not deny that. True loves kiss, or at least the first kiss, can stop traffic and be accompanied by fireworks and singing angels. All of this I have lived and felt and loved.

The part they never tell you about in the fairy tales is it is not really 'happily ever after'. Hell sometimes it isn't even 'ever after'. It is not some magical smooth happy effortless thing that happens when you fall in love. Love, and marriage, is this really messy complicated difficult thing that you have to work at constantly. Constantly!

The thing is, we aren't wired to love anyone 100% of the time. It is hard to just like someone most of the time. Love is a wonderful powerful thing, but humans are annoying and there will always be some point when you just can't stand to be around one another. All those annoying yet endearing habits your significant other has will eventually make you want to throttle them.

Is this a bad thing? No not really. This is a normal thing. This means you aren't stagnant. This means that you are alive and feeling. This just means you sometimes have to work a little harder at the whole loving and being together portion of the deal. Sometimes you just have to stop yourself from smothering the other person with a pillow.

Also, no one ever tells you that people change. People, by nature, are constantly changing. You are not the same person from day to day let alone year to year. All the things that happen to you in your daily life change you. Sometimes it is subtle and sometimes it is huge, but it is there. No one tells you that eventually you will wake up next to this person and realize they are not the person you fell in love with, and you aren't the same person either.

Again this isn't a bad thing. This is just the way things are. You have to grow and adapt together. That is part of being in love. You have to stop and look at them as who they are right then and decide to still love them. You can't look at them and see who they were and long for that instead, because seriously that isn't going to happen. If you only want that static image of them when love first began, you are in for a rocky ride with a bad ending. That sort of thinking will just eat away at your soul.

Most of the time, if you are willing to see it and accept it, these changes in yourself and your partner are not deal breakers. You can learn to accept and love them as they are. It might not be easy. In fact I can say that it actually might be really hard and probably a little painful. Still it can be done. People stay married for 50, 60, 80 years so I know it can be done. You just have to decide to keep fighting and trying.

At the same time not every partnership is salvageable. It is a sad truth that fairy tales do not prepare you for. Sometime people change too much on both sides. Sometimes, especially when you fall in love young, you grow up into different people. Sometimes the people you grow into are not the right people for one another. Sometimes it isn't forever.

I don't think this is a failure on anyones part. I don't think that the people didn't love enough, or try hard enough, or care enough. I don't think that is the truth at all. I think sometimes people just grow apart and grow into people that are better off apart. As my friend Niki says, the distance demon is a hard thing to fight. Sometimes that demon wins.

Now of course sometimes people don't try or fight for love and just give up when things get tough. The thing is it will never get any easier. You can call it quits without giving it a good try, but the next relationship you find will eventually get tough too.

If you give up every time it gets tough you will never find your true love because here is the truth of the matter; love is hard work. Love is work. Love is constant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year work. Love is never going to be completely easy. Love is going to be a struggle. Love is going to be painful and messy and ugly. Love is a bitch.

Love will not conquer all and love is not all you need. You need patience and strength. You need compassion and empathy. You need courage; boatloads of it. You need stamina and determination. You need to be willing to give everything and then some and be prepared to lose it all. You need to be ready for a fight.

In the end though love is worth it all. It is worth the pain and frustration. It is worth all the bullshit you will go through. There are those tough times that no one prepares you for. There are all the things that the fairy tales don't say. There are also all the good things that they do tell you.

So even though I said love isn't all you need, when you come right down to it, the truth actually is, all you need is love. 

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