Always Be PreparedPosted: January 3, 2016
My therapist didn’t ask me if I loved him. She didn’t mention love at all. At first I might have found this curious, but as a professional I’m sure she knows–love isn’t the issue. It isn’t actually relevant at all.
How many times have I talked to a friend who is having their heart broken, or really struggling with a relationship, and been told “But I love him,” or, “I know she loves me.”
Sometimes love as a reason to persevere, isn’t the noble motivation it seems to be. Sometimes love is an excuse to continue with something that we know isn’t motivating us to be our best selves, isn’t going to make either person happy, isn’t best for everyone involved.
When I was a kid I remember hearing the phrase “ What’s love got to do with it? ” for the first time. And as a babe of 10 or 11, I remember thinking, everything. Love is everything.
Here’s the thing I have realized, though. Love doesn’t actually conquer all. Hard work might. Honest intention to change and become our best selves might. The determination to rise above, might conquer all. But love, in and of itself…sometimes doesn’t succeed in conquering anything, except us. The saying has taken on a cynical undertone for me, to the point where I actually wonder if whoever coined this phrase didn’t have this double meaning in mind. Love, if left unchecked, and held above reproach, has the ability to obliterate the very people who are holding on to it so tight.
So she didn’t ask me if I love him–my therapist. She asked me what I find hard about the relationship, and what the good things about the relationship are. She asked me if the relationship was fulfilling the things I need most to be happy with someone–if it has the potential to give me what I want. She held sacred the hard truth that it is okay for relationships to end.
Why am I writing this?
Did we break up?
Do I think we should?
Are we going to?
I have no idea.
I am writing this because a realization has very slowly dawned on me. And that is the realization that, it is very common for a person to perceive their own breakup as a personal tragedy. Yet, when faced with someone else’s break-up, we are able to be cavalier and optimistic.
When I break up with someone that I love, I feel like I might die. I feel like this may be THE END. I wonder if it will ever stop hurting, if my heart will ever open again, if I will ever again find another partner who will both love me and be good for me. But when someone else is going through a break up, I see no such tragedy. It might be too bad, it might be painful, but there is never any doubt in my mind that for that person, life goes on. That there is no reason why they will not find love and happiness. That sometimes a breakup is for the best, and that it will not leave them irreparably maimed.
When I get that advice, though, I immediately get defensive. DO NOT tell me I should break up with someone I love. Do NOT tell me it is not worth it. Do NOT tell me I will be okay, as I lay here, sobbing on the floor, feeling like my heart has been ripped out and fed directly into a shredder.
But life does go on. It has gone on for everyone I know who is going through a break up, and it would for me too. And maybe this post is just prep. Maybe its just practice. Because things with Papa Bear have been amazing over the past weeks. While I don’t want to sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop, I know–I just know–that things are about to get messy. Things are about to get painful. I need to be ready.