Here’s a statement that might cause some controversy in my family – I don’t believe that love means that you HAVE to be with someone forever. You could, but you don’t have to. And I don’t believe that you didn’t love someone enough if you don’t pine away and die waiting for them to come back. I think up to a certain point, my mother did, and then after a certain point, she just believed that she didn’t love this man anymore. I suppose it makes it easier when you think that way, when love is either black or white. My mother believed that while she loved my dad, she could not have moved on. I’m hoping that she will fall in love again, but that’s a different story altogether.
It would be great if love could be put into boxes of extremes. When you can say, “I love him and therefore I am staying with him forever no matter what,” or if you can say “I’m leaving because I don’t love him anymore.” Most of the time that is not the case. Sometimes you walk away, but the love remains. So my relationships ended, sometimes there were fights, but most of the time when I look back, the fights were only because we wanted really different things and both of us were not willing to compromise, or because one of us was tired of doing all the compromising, or because we wanted things to stay the way they were when it was time for things to change.
Yes, you can argue that if there was really love there would be compromise, but sometimes, you’ve just got two people that have taken the same journey together but just reached different points. Sometimes, you just change. And sometimes holding on to love too tightly can turn it into poison, especially when holding on to a lover means loving yourself less. We are all different. A yoga class is a great example of this. In a group class, we all start in the same position and we go down the same road, but based on a large array of factors, everyone ends up in different postures, or one would hope so if everyone was following their own truth.
The thing is, sometimes people who have made it to the altar, or the judge’s chambers, or even the three year mark, can get a bit smug. To them, real love is that love, and that is not wrong. What I have learned though, is that there is no standard mould to love. You can love without possessing. You can love and stay in one place. You can love and spend a part of life together, or you can love and spend you whole lives together. Sometimes love is like a raging fire that burns you to the ground, sometimes it hurts, sometimes it is as calm as a soft breeze and sometimes it flows like a river, smooth then turbulent. Sometimes you have it all with one person, and sometimes you have bits with different people.
Who is anyone to say what love could be, or should be, or will be? Everyone writes their own story, and has their own ideas. Some people refuse to say “I love you,” because to them it means that it’s permanent, that it’s forever, some people just say it because it means nothing, and some people say it to the people they love. I didn’t use to be an “I love you,” sort of person, and I don’t think I will ever be the kind to say it the way some people ask, “how are you?” (what is the point of asking when you don’t really care?), but I do say it a lot more than I did, and I only say it when I mean it. Love is no longer something I save for family and lovers because there is love between good friends too.
So if I say “I love you,” sometimes it doesn’t mean that I want to have your babies. One day it might but sometimes it’s because you’re a good friend and I love you. Because in my eyes, and in my life, even though it might not be always good, or lasting, it was never not love.