Tell me honestly; am I the only one who would like to kick Cupid square in the balls? Because somehow, I really don’t think I am. In fact, I think I’d put out a contract on that little bastard if I could, or at the very least, grab hold of his diaper and give him an epic atomic wedgie.
For being a romantic, I sure don’t have a high opinion of love. I know most people think that the two go hand in hand, but they really don’t. You can be a romantic without being in love. I can give a pretty girl a flower for no other reason than that she brought a smile to my face. I don’t have to ask her if she would like to have coffee with me to see if it could lead to a date, then to marriage, kids, and the proverbial happily ever after. In fact, in most cases, I don’t want it to. Most of the time, I’ll hand her the flower, walk away, and wistfully imagine what could have been.
Which is what I think most people do in real life. When we think about love, we fantasize about what it could be like- not the reality. In a fantasy, you don’t have to deal with the arguments, the cold shoulders, and the awkward silences. Nobody wants to acknowledge that no matter how much you love someone, a relationship takes work.
I’m sorry if I sound like a downer, but it’s the truth. Prince Charming could be an absolute slob with a drinking problem, and Cinderella could look like crap and be a total bitch in the morning before her first cup of coffee. If you walk into a relationship thinking it’s going to be all hearts and flowers without an ounce of drama, you are going to be SORELY disappointed.
I would know. I had that magical, ‘movie’ type of love relationship at one point in my life. And it was awesome. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. But that doesn’t mean it was without conflict. My girl and I went through ten thousand different kinds of shit we had to overcome in order to be together, and even then, we didn’t survive it. I did everything I could to make it work, but it didn’t. And it hurt like Hell when we broke up, for the longest time. The only way I could possibly describe the pain is like this: It was like living death, only you’re completely aware of everything going on around you but can’t do a thing about it.
Being married was no picnic, either. I married a girl I didn’t really love because I thought I needed to settle down and grow up. My marriage is a period of my life I don’t really enjoy talking about, mostly because it was a painful experience. My wife was very abusive- both mentally and physically. In front of people, she was charming and sweet, but once we were alone, she was an insecure, manipulative, and a controlling psychopath. It took me a few years to get over everything she put me through.
I know that all sounds horribly negative, especially given that this blog is supposed be about love and inspiration, but I’m trying to make a point. So if you’re already in the tub but still have the toaster hovering over the water, put it down and stay with me. I’m not done yet.
Unlike most people my age, I didn’t grow up a child of divorce. My parents stayed together until my father died. That’s over forty years together. After my marriage ended, I used to look at my folks and wonder, “I didn’t last four years- how in the Hell have they lasted ten times that?” It’s all the more puzzling to me because my parents have virtually nothing in common. My Mom is a church-going social butterfly, and my father loved drinking beer, watching golf, and cursed like a sailor. Not exactly what you would call a match made in Heaven. But my Mom loved him. As far as my Dad went, he wasn’t the type to show emotion, but there were rare moments when you could see on his face how much he loved my Mother. She was his entire world.
I used to think that was what I wanted, until I found something far greater. But having said that, the reason my folks made it work is because they didn’t rely on their feelings of love to make it work. They were a team, and they were always on the same page in regard to what they both wanted. Granted, my Mom would jump ahead a page or two on occasion, but my Dad almost always managed to keep up.
Which is the point I’m trying to drive home- there’s nothing wrong with living the romantic dream as long as you remain grounded in the reality. I think my particular problem is that my relationships tended to be rooted in both extremes; it was either the dream or the reality. Never both.
For years, I’ve pondered the meaning of the word ‘love’, but after what amounts to half a lifetime, I still don’t have a clue. I’ve experienced the magic from soulmate love, the pitfalls and heartache from co-dependent love, and the love that comes from developing a deep friendship. Now I find myself back in a place I never thought I would see again. So I have no real idea what the concrete definition of ‘love’ is. It means different things to different people.
As to what it means to me? It means everything. It’s looking into her eyes and seeing the same spark I felt the first moment we met. It’s having the image of her in my head when I close my eyes and I see her face. It’s the feeling of having her hand in mine even though she’s nowhere near me. It’s being the reason for her smile and her laugh. It’s the plain simple fact that her walking into my life was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
I can’t speak for everyone else on the planet, as I said- love has different meanings to different people. But no matter what their definition is, there is one universal constant- what is in that person’s heart. And as long as the person you love is in your heart, then everything else doesn’t matter. If you’re in it together and you want the same things, then you can make it.