Love. Specifically romantic love for the sake of this post. What an utterly confusing, exhausting, yet ridiculously comforting thought. For those that have it and those of us that don’t, love is a universal need. I’ve yet to meet a person that hasn’t thought about it at least once in a lifetime. We all hear the stories about finding it, being in it, and how wonderfully exciting all that is. But keeping hold of love? Now. That’s another kettle of fish. And a can of worms I’m about to open.
A concept that’s always intrigued me, as well as scared me, is how loving someone can turn into something so fragile. With divorce rates so high, it makes you wonder why. Is it marriage? Is it time? Boredom? Why is it that people can one minute be so into each other they barely see the rest of the world around them… And a week later you see one of them alone in town and hear about the other who suddenly “needed space” or “couldn’t handle the pressure”.
I have one theory, for at least some of those heartbreaks anyway. People (and we’ve all been guilty) are so busy looking for perfect, Mr or Mrs Right, “The One”, they forget one crucial thing. Perfection is an illusion. It’s something to finally step away from the checklist of redeeming features a partner must/must not have. To stop looking through critical eyes. To realise perfect doesn’t exist. Perfect isn’t real. Here’s a really easy way to think about it…
Take a member of your family that you love, the kind of unconditional love we look for in a partner. Maybe a parent or sibling. You’ve been stuck with them since birth and for the most part you’ll be stuck with them until death. And you love them dearly. But sometimes? God they drive you mad. They irritate, anger and infuriate you. You’ve had blazing rows and said things neither of you mean. You hate their bad habits they just won’t drop. But have you ever cut them off? Have you really, truly, cut off a member of your immediate family? (Again, I stress, it has to be a member that you love and respect). I’m guessing not. Because if you’re like me, you’ll pretty much take it as a given that love comes above those things that make us different. The good times outweigh the arguments. The similarities outweigh the differences. The shared experiences we have together outweigh the separate lives we lead. You see… You don’t divorce your family. You see it through. You accept them for their flaws. And to me, your long term partner or husband or wife… is your family. They will be your home. The person you come home to laugh or cry or cook dinner with. They’ll be the father or mother of your children. They’ll be the ones you promise to be with in sickness and in health… till death do us part. Family isn’t always blood. It’s also who you choose.
I’m not saying anyone should stay with someone who is destructive to their wellbeing. But it’s so essential to remember one thing before making that make or break decision… No one is perfect. Not you, not them, not anyone walking this earth. Ask yourself one thing honestly, are you looking for something that doesn’t even exist? I think a lot of us might be. Because if you are, you’ll never be happy. Fine… You may not have to endure the cold shoulders and the moods and the nagging about socks and who left the toilet seat up. But ultimately you will never find the kind of rose tinted, happy ending you want.
Stay picky. Stay guarded. Stay you. But please don’t dismiss love when it comes along, because it’s not perfect enough for you. You want someone out there to accept all of you, for all you are. The least you can do, is do the same for them.
If you have a loved one, a truly loved one, hold onto them. Make the effort to understand them. And if you’re still looking for yours, keep your heart open and you’ll be surprised what comes your way.