What Love Isn't

A few years ago, when I left a particularly unhealthy relationship, I did a lot of analysis about that relationship and its patterns, that person, and what I learned about myself as a result of being in that relationship. Even now, I wonder, "Was that love?" Love takes so many forms and I am loathe to say that it wasn't love, and I am reluctant to say that it was. There's a feeling there that is still painful, like a quiet sadness, a dull ache. I think it will take me a long time to come to a verdict on that one, if I ever do.

It, too, taught me a lot about what love isn't. Please refrain from trying to make me your clay and mold me into whatever fanatical ideal you have in your mind. Please don't try to make me your vessel, so that all your ideas about love and life are transferred to and transported by me. Please do not tell me you love me if you only like me when I am acquiescent and agreeable. You should hold me to my own beliefs, and hold to your own. Otherwise, we just lie there, stagnant and unmoving, no growth taking place whatsoever.

And as for me, I don't want to confuse being intrigued by your mystique for love. That's just a fancy way to describe attraction. I don't want to be your temporary or long-term emotional fix, or the road out of your own personal hell. Sex is a wonderful thing, but I don't want the high and raging endorphins and the flirtatious grins and the warm, delicious feeling in my nether regions to bamboozle me into believing in the real thing. I don't want to be your refuge, the sand you stick your head into when you don't want to open your eyes and realize the truth about you.

Don't cry love only when you can't have me; don't expect me to drop in your lap and enrich your life, when you are obviously doing nothing to better it on your own. Don't expect for "love" to exist in a vacuum, where the only work needed to maintain its foundation is weak apologies (for the same behavior over and over again) and make-up sex when things get rough and you don't know how to step up to the plate and work it out on a non-horizontal basis.

Most of all, don't say "love," while your actions say another thing altogether. Huge mistake, one of the worst people ever make. Because that makes it all into one big lie. And that is not love. Not the kind of love people should lay down and die or sell their souls for. Lay down for a lie?

Simply, I think love takes a lot of courage. A lot of courage. No matter which way you slice it, you gotta have heart. You have to be willing to do a lot of difficult (but ultimately rewarding) things in order for it to work. Whoever said it was ecstasy all the time is lying. They just sold you a dream.

Copyright © 2002. Used with author's permission.

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