I know we all like the idea of “falling” in love, as if you’ve tripped over something wonderful and amazing and it just happens, but after having done this dating / seeing / girlfriend / relationship thing with people for about 15 years now, I can’t ascribe to that point of view anymore, nice that it may be.
Love is a choice – it’s a decision and saying it’s anything less than that devalues it.
I spent nearly two years being ‘in love’ with someone who wasn’t, in retrospect, available to me. She is not a bad person; neither of us are. But, on more than one occasion, she said: “I love you but I can’t be with you.” I accepted that and there was my mistake. You see, “I love you but–“:
- I can’t leave this other person
- I can’t move across the country to find another job that lets us be together
- I can’t deal with my family
- I can’t leave my city / friends / comfort zone
- I can’t afford it
- I think I can find someone better
- I think you can find someone better
- I can’t see us together in the long-term
- I need to finish my degree / travel more / do more first
- [pick your poison pill]
Now, I’m not saying that the above items are not obstacles or challenges or things to be overcome. All of the above can be traced back to fear, planning, insecurities… but they can be worked through. Together. Love does not “conquer it all”, but it’s one hell of a foundation if you mean it.
You see, it is an active thing and so if you say you love someone, you either a) figure it out or b) acknowledge that while you perhaps may have a deep emotional attachment, strong sexual attraction, lust, admiration or respect, or some combination thereof, you don’t love that person. You are not willing to work it out, to take it to the next level.
Love is not happenstance. Rom-coms lie: it doesn’t sneak up on you and slap you ’round the head. It is a choice. It is a decision.
As they tell us about alcohol “please enjoy responsibly”, I say the same with love. Love responsibly and own your decision about it. If you say you love someone, if you feel you do, then do the needful.
And if you don’t, that’s okay, too. Just own it.