Photo credit: ONE DAY (2011)
Is love enough?
This was a simple question from a friend who is having a divorce from the love of her life, but it stopped me in my tracks.
The past year, I’ve witnessed more breakups than any other year. Breakups I didn’t see coming, breakups the couple involved didn’t see coming. The common factor in most of these breakups was that the love was still very much there, strongly present, yet it wasn’t enough to keep the relationship going.
I always fought for the idea that love conquers all, that love makes anything work—even the hardest of relationships.
The whole thing goes back to all those fairy tales, all those Disney stories and movies we’ve heard and watched. We grew up on the idea that “All you need is love,” or “If you have ‘love,’ ‘passion,’ ‘romance,’ you name it, then every problem in your love life is not a problem.”
We promise ourselves that we will never let them go. We promise ourselves that we will break through every obstacle that is blocking us on the road toward the happy love life. We believe that nothing is able to stop the love between us.
We all have been there. When we are into someone, chances are we will feel exactly the same and we won’t give up our love even though it is consuming us and is draining our resources. We believe if we keep working hard we will get return for the love life we desired.
But then I realized that love alone is not enough. It is the pillar you build the relationship on, yet it is not the fuel that keeps it going. Relationships don’t always have happily-ever-afters like the fairy tales. And sometimes, two people are meant to fall in love but not meant to be together. And the harsh reality is that for having a happy love life, sometimes love is just not enough.
Here are a few things that can get in the way of lasting love:
You can love someone who is not right for you.
You can truly love someone, but they still won’t be right for you. You can be either too similar or too different to the point that you can’t really meet halfway. You both can be too stubborn to admit it, and even too stubborn to end the relationship. Eventually, though, loving someone who is not right for you can feel like a tug-of-war, and you keep pulling and pulling until someone slips away.
You can love someone but the timing won’t be right.
You can do whatever it takes to make it work, but one of you may still not be ready to take the next step. One of you may be tired of waiting for the next step. One of you may get a big shot at a dream job and abandon everything else. One of you may just be starting a new job in another country and want to solely focus on your career. Whatever the reason may be, it’s hard to schedule a meeting when your life timetables are not aligning.
You can love someone but the parents can get in the way.
Even though it’s 2019 and our generation is more independent than ever, parents still have a say one way or another. You can be in love with each other, but if her dad is not a big fan or his mom is not a big fan, the relationship is doomed. A relationship that doesn’t have the parents’ blessing is usually not blessed. Curse the stars, curse the universe, it’s hard to fight the parental force once it gets ahold of you.
You can love someone who needs help.
You can be in love with someone who needs help, and I mean clinical help. We are all crazy in our own way, but some people truly need therapy as they have insecurities and personality disorders, and, until they fix themselves, you can’t really fix them.
You can love someone who you can’t keep up with.
You can love someone but you fight 50 times a day. You can love someone who is always working. You can love someone who is always on their phone. You can love someone who can’t open up about their feelings. You can love someone who changes their mind like they change their outfits.
While you may think that love can outdo all of the above, sometimes it can’t. Sometimes it gets exhausting to keep up. It drains you when you can’t foretell what kind of person you will have to deal with. It sucks the happiness out of you to know that you are coming up against a brick wall. Love can start to feel like hard work—work you just can’t put up with anymore even though you need it, even though you love it.
You can love someone who makes you love yourself a little less.
It’s paradoxical and ironic and sadistic that someone can love you to an extent that makes you not love yourself. Love is a drug, and sometimes the high of the drug fizzles out and you are left with anger and anxiety and the need for a fix that is not always attainable. You can’t go without it, but you know it is slowly killing you.
Some people love each other so much, but there is no understanding, there is no patience, there is no peace, there is no tolerance. The truth of the matter is that love only works when it is combined with a bunch of other factors to make it grow, like respect, humility, compatibility, and commitment. Relationships based on the feelings of love alone crumble, because love can’t stand on its own, and love does not always equal happily ever after.
You can love someone who is an emotionally unavailable person.
It is heartbreaking to love an emotionally unavailable person who consciously or subconsciously creates a wall that prevents them from being intimate with you. They can’t show up for you in the way in which you want a potential partner to show up.
Remember, you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. If someone is emotionally unavailable, it’s all on them to figure out what’s going on and if they wish to change their behavior. And if they don’t or aren’t willing to change, you’re way better off putting your energy someplace else, or with someone else.
You can love someone who is not happy with you.
Unfortunately, happiness is not always contagious. It is possible to be in a relationship where one person is happy and the other person is not. This situation can happen because each person may have different needs and expectations of the relationship and also different standards for what makes them happy. And if we really love our partners, we ultimately want them to be happy, too.
You can love someone who is not planning to stay forever.
Sometimes, we’re happy for the time being, but we know we’re going to want something that lasts longer, and our current relationship is stopping us from getting that. Wise and intuitive individuals can realize their significant other is making them happy presently but conclude that this is as good as it gets. Since they don’t want to settle for a future they don’t desire, they realize that breaking up is the best option.
Even if you’re happy right now, you won’t be happy down the line if you can’t give each other what you want in a relationship. If one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t, for example, staying together may just be postponing the inevitable.
You can love someone whose morals you disagree with.
It’s actually possible to be happy with someone whose morals you disagree with, as long as these things don’t come up often and you get along on the surface level—in the short-term. But in the long-term, you’ll probably get frustrated and feel like you’re compromising too much. You may start to feel like you have to censor yourself to avoid disagreements, and like you’re not really heard when you do express yourself.
Love is not worth sacrificing ourselves. It’s okay to make small sacrifices like waiting for him/her to get home safely, but what I mean by sacrifices here is compromising our morals or values so that we won’t lose the love of our lives. To be able to earn respect from others, we should respect ourselves. We have to have personal boundaries and not let anyone treat us poorly. There are some things that we can sacrifice, but not our ambitions, dignity, and self-respect.
Love does not equate to compatibility. This is the hardest pill to swallow. We can love someone so much and they might also love us in return, but sometimes we all have different wants and needs in life. Sometimes when we love someone, it doesn’t mean that they are our good long-term partners. We could have different goals and values from them too.
Like what is usually said, we must use not only our hearts but our minds too. We could fall in love so many times in our lifetime. We could fall in love with a good or bad person. We could fall in love when we are young or when we are old.
Love is not unique. Neither is it scarce. Love is just a small piece of the puzzle.
But self-respect, trust, and dignity are the bigger pieces.
We could lose love and find it somewhere else but never find ourselves. Life does not equate to love.
Love is wonderful. Love is a beautiful feeling. But love alone is never enough.