There were a million reasons why I loved her, but I couldn’t say one, just one. They say true love has no reasons, and the love that we had, it was like no other. My friend Minnie, she used to say from the bottom of her heart, “I like the way you love her.”
But that’s another chapter. History made, history forgotten. There were a million reasons why she loved me, and between our two million reasons, we couldn’t find one to make it work.
And it’s the same with you, is it not? You have tall dreams too, and pretty plans for the future, and fights, and make-ups, and poetry, and you make disney valentines too, and endless phone calls, and have miss-you-nights, just like we did, don’t you?
I remember the gradual introductions; first, we met the friends, then we spoke to some of the family over the phone, then we met the closest sibling, and after that, the understanding parent (whose approval would be subsequently conveyed), and we made an eternity of memories, and had more fights, and talked about marriage, and argued about how many kids we wanted, and whether to have or not to have maids. Just like you have.
And we said “I love you” every day just to remind each other the love was still there, and then we broke up, just like you’re about to.
And when you do, you will find a million reasons to justify the break-up: maybe we weren’t meant for each other; maybe we weren’t in the same social class; maybe we needed someone more mature or more understanding. And you will definitely use the all-time breakup classic: it’s not you, it’s me. Just like we did.
You will dig up sins that had been forgiven, and unforgivable ones. You will play emotional and social politics with it, and tell the story in a way that makes you look good. Just like we did.
And after a while, you will move on, and look for “someone better” (or wait for one to find you), and you will find a new set of reasons, a million of them. You will tell yourself that you’ve found ‘The One’ this time…again. But there will be a nagging, small voice in the corner of your mind, tugging relentlessly at your heartstrings, asking, “is this going to be it?” But you won’t answer because we never really know, do we? Or maybe you will answer, but it’ll be a whispered prayer: “I hope so…God, I hope this is it.”
So as I watch you stand on the threshold of your own version of our forgotten forever, heading down the same road we went, I just thought I’d tell you a few things, the real reasons why we recycle lovers, and relationships. And why you’re about to recycle yours.
They say love never dies, it just grows cold. But is cold love not an euphemism for dead love? A cold fireplace has no fire because the fire’s dead. Cold water has no heat because the heat is gone. To keep the heat, or the fire, or the love hot, you’ve got to stay committed to keeping it hot. You’ve got to stoke the fire that warms it. You’ve got to fan the flames, you’ve got to get smoke in your eyes. I’m just saying, the only reason it doesn’t work is because we either do not understand what it takes, or are not willing to give what it takes to make it work.
We base relationship foundations on the hollywood-derived notion that love should be easy and effortless, and smooth. And it is. But human nature is not. It is fickle, and fundamentally flawed, and full of behavioral and character imperfections. People come from different backgrounds, and have different world views, which have been shaped by different experiences.
And they all interpret life, and love, and loving differently, based on their own unique experiences. Even two people from similar backgrounds will respond differently to the same set of interpersonal relational stimuli.
But getting to understand a person who interprets life based on a different set of experiences is a long, sometimes frustrating but worthwhile chore, and we often give up half-way to the goal because we lack the strength of character and the determination to commit to the task. So we begin to make mountains out of mole hill mistakes. We magnify flaws, and blow up differences and make it look like they grew up overnight, but they were always there, we just didn’t notice because, at the time, we were too committed to loving to notice anything else. And when you finally get to the point where you say, “it’s not you, it’s me”, you have no idea how true that usually is.
There are as many interpretations of love as there are fingerprints on the planet. People love according to their understanding of what love is. People relate romantically according to their understanding of what romantic relationships are and sometimes you have to say, “What does it mean to love you? Teach me to love you. I don’t know how. I don’t know because loving you is new to me.”
I’m only just trying to say that broken relationships are not as much a failure of love as they are a failure of commitment, as well as a lack of understanding, or an active or passive unwillingness to give what it takes to make it work, either on the part of one or both.
Understand then, that in relationships, you cannot make yours work off of the same set of rules by which your friends make theirs work, for every relationship is as individual as the parties that constitute it. I agree that there may be certain generally applicable principles, but hold none to be axiomatic, or general-fit. There are no templates, no directional signs, no maps to your intended destination. This is virgin territory, a frontier waiting to be explored and mastered. You have to find your own way, to make your own path, to create your own intertwined destinies. There are no prefabricated parts and you have to build your relationship from the ground up. You have to improvise as you go along and make your mistakes into life lessons.
And a relationship founded on love is not a meet-me-halfway alliance. It is not a 50-50 contract of romantic relational give and take. True love gives everything until there is nothing left to give. Then you find some more to give. You don’t love because you are loved in return. You don’t need some sort of justification to love. You love, just because.
I know, I know. Your friends keep telling you that what is yours is yours and it will come back to you no matter where it goes. And somehow, that mentality seems to have forged a lackadaisical attitude towards the relationship. I see how you become infested with the spirit of “see finish”; that nonchalance that creeps in when you take for granted that someone will always be yours. But you know it’s not true right? You know it’s not true because what is yours can be stolen, or lost to carelessness, and while you may forever consider it yours, it doesn’t change the rather apparent fact that it’s gone.
And because we always give a little bit of ourselves to every real relationship, when it breaks, a part of us breaks with it.
But let’s not get too distracted; we were talking about you, right? You remember that time in the beginning, that time when you would’ve gladly caught a grenade for him; those early days when you would have died a million slow deaths for her?
You remember how, before the “see finish” thing set in, before the novelty wore off and you let the freshness go stale; you remember how colors seemed to fade when you missed your love for too long? Remember that time, how when they asked you what love is, and you had said, “Love is what I feel for my baby”.
And there was that time too, when they asked you why you loved him like that; why you loved her like that? You had a million reasons, but the smile said it all.
It’s not like it’s my business much, but I was just wondering, before you waste all that love on trivial things; before you throw it away or trade it in for the brokenness of another failed relationship; I was just wondering, where have all your reasons gone?