Friday, November 8, 2013

Thoughts on Love

This post has been a while in the making...
Love is one of the scariest things in the world. Ever. Period.  I usually like to think I'm thick skinned, but when it comes to love I break.  I'm not talking about Disney princess love story love.  I mean real life painful love.  This kind of love has the power to make you infinitely happy or painfully aware of solitude.
The reason I've been thinking about this is because a lot of my friends have been coming to me lately for relationship advice.  It seems like love turns the smartest people stupid and tests our ability to care about other people more than ourselves.  It's scary as hell.
Why does love scare us?  We're afraid of losing it.  Once you find your other half you'll do anything and everything to keep it.  It's not that easy though.  Movies say you'll know if he's the one and when it's right love is easy.  You never know and it's never easy.  I've found that humans crave a companion but also aren't suited to it.  It's hard to give up parts of your personality to accommodate your partner, and it's hard to grow together.  If you grow together too much you have nothing new to tell each other; grow too far apart and you no longer have anything in common.  Striking that balance is hard and I've had almost six years of working at it and am still learning.
I don't normally like to talk about my very personal life here but this might make more sense if I do.  I've only had one boyfriend, we've known each other since we were like 10, became friends and started dating our freshman year of high school.  Since then we've broken up three times, gotten back together within a week, and never dated anyone else.  We now live 300 miles apart at different schools (MIT and Cornell) and only see each other once a month.  Through it all I've learned a lot about myself, my relationship and love in general.
The most important thing I've learned is honesty.  I'm not talking about just don't lie and stuff like that.  I'm talking about complete, open, peer into your soul honesty.  You need to know everything about each other.  Obviously this comes with time, a lot of time.  You slowly build trust and just as slowly open up.  Eventually you know everything in each other's heads.  It's an incredibly vulnerable feeling, but also comforting that you have someone who knows you, the real you.  Even your family doesn't know your head this well.  The result?  Pure honesty.  If you have a problem, you have to tell them.  Doubts about the relationship?  Share them.  They have a habit that bothers you?  Tell them.  These little things build up and honestly, if you feel it they probably do too.
The scariest thing for me was expressing doubt this past summer.  We were living together and I felt like things were slowly going south.  I kept my fears to myself, got bitter, and things continued to get worse.  I was afraid if I even hinted that I thought it wasn't working then everything would crash down and it would cause more problems.  With a lot of prodding I finally shared my doubts.  We talked through them in about 4 hours, and everything was on track to go back to normal.
I shouldn't say normal though, there is no normal.  Relationships grow and change, it's only healthy.  Never expect things to "go back to normal", just make them go back to good.  You're never the same as you were 3 months ago, don't expect that of your relationship.  All you can do is grow into what you both need.
I'm still growing, we're both still growing, and I don't really know what the end result is.  I think that's the best part though.  Every day is a comforting norm and every tomorrow is an exciting mystery.

2 comments:

  1. I love this. So insightful. "You never know and it's never easy." I wish more people realized this. I think movies perpetuate a really false, fairytale-like notion that love is just going to fall into your lap one day and you'll live happily ever after, and that will be that. I think at times we forget that relationships require work--hard work. It's rewarding and meaningful beyond words, but solid relationships don't happen by magic.

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    1. Thanks :)
      Yeah a lot of people had been asking me how to make relationships easier, I wanted people to see how movies don't show the whole story. (Also we should really catch up sometime!)

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