I fall into two camps when it comes to love. Totally stand-off or totally obsessed.
I’m either Michael Scott from The Office in the episode Performance Review – pining hopelessly or I’m Calvin in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Either way, Steve Carrell has managed to capture my entire emotional love spectrum.
I wonder why we tumble down the side of a cliff for some people and stand well away from the edge for others?
If I was to pick the camp which I most common find myself in, it is the stand-off camp. I’m the Knight on a chess board, guarding my heart, the Queen, ready to dive left or right to save me from falling and facing humiliation. I don’t really know why because I love to love. When I feel love I feel positive, and the experiences in my life are just so much more enjoyable. Feeling that deep sense of commitment towards another person really does lift me up and being loved in return carries much of the same energy. I have longed believed my stand off with the great emotion is because I have seen so many people fall in love so many times, only to have their heart crushed against some invisible pillar, resulting in a heart so broken it can’t possibly be resurrected. Pain. Nu huh, not for me! Truthfully though, I have historically been stand-offish with love because I’ve never felt I deserve to be loved. We could start looking at my childhood for reasons why, and this could quite easily turn into a therapy session where I talk about the fact I had an absent father and the long seated yearning for his love and affection have manifested in time into daddy issues as I’ve never formed a bond with the main male figure in my life, that is now the reason why I carry an avoidant-attachment type and thus it’s not possible for me to believe I am worthy of love from any man and so before they can hurt me I sabotage. Wait. I said it wasn’t going to turn into a therapy session.
And yet, when I do look back on past loves, I can be sure I have felt it and I have embraced it, I’ve felt deserving of it. I may not have given myself over entirely to love, because why give somebody so much power? But I have definitely given them a piece of my heart., some are still there. Could it be that when I have recognised the rest of my heart yearning to be handed over, this is the point that I have pulled back and put an end to things? Or have I recognised that my needs are not being met continuously and through respect for myself, I’ve walked away?
One of my dear readers left a comment on a post quoting her friend “Nothing is guaranteed”. Her friend had shared these thoughts to describe that although she was married, it wasn’t the end of her story. Lots of things could happen down the road so it’s best just to appreciate where you are at in life because before long, you’ll be onto the next stage of your life.
Whilst this could apply to whatever cycle of life you are in of course, because life is a continuum, I think it was Robert Frost who said Life.Goes.On. But this got me thinking…does love have to last forever? Better yet, is love supposed to last forever?
I have experienced love all my life, and loved all my life. My family for starters. And then there’s the love of my friends that I have met over the years. I loved, and was loved, by a man for 13 years so I’m quite capable and able to be successful with it. If I couldn’t love, or if I wasn’t worthy of love, I wouldn’t have good relationships with family or friends. Or a story involving a man for more than a third of my entire existence on this planet. I also know what it is to love unconditionally. But does love last forever? I have had friends that I have loved and lost. Men that I have loved and lost. I’ve even loved family members and lost those. And although the loss has been difficult to bear, I grieve and come out of it the other side, slightly more bruised than before, but definitely stronger. The bruises fade, the strength always remains.
So why do I find it more comforting to be stand-offish with love rather than totally obsessed? What am I looking for in love? Or what am I trying to avoid might be a better question? I spend most of my time I looking to avoid potential heartbreak and the despair and depression that comes with losing someone so close? If that is the case, then why? I’ve proven to myself time and again that I am capable of rising out of the ashes.
In my short time on this little orb of life, I have found a love obsession to be all-consuming. It completely overtakes my life. Not a day goes by without a thought (or several thousand) crossing my mind of that person. My own needs are overtaken by theirs and I find myself getting absorbed in their ideas of life. I can tell you, that with an obsession this blog would fail. I wouldn’t
find take the the time to do it because I’d constantly be doing the things that made my obsession happy rather than myself. I’d be blind to all the red flags (if there were any), my hobbies would be on the back burner and all that free time I get would be spent on them. Even if not physically present, my brain wouldn’t allow me time off from them. I think us Brits call it pining after someone. Like a sad puppy who is waiting for their owner to come home. I’ve just diminished myself to a dog.
And despite my newfound perspective that I have promised myself, dropping the cynicism and going after love, or rather letting love in instead of batting it away like a bad game of rounders, I’m still guilty and susceptible to falling into my old obsessive ways. ‘Witty title’ – Pet names is evidence of that. I’ve been so focused on the moments shared with FD and my intrinsic need to try and connect the dots to form a picture, I’ve missed the fact there just wasn’t much of a picture to form to begin with. New me would say we went for a walk. We enjoyed each others company. That is it! Old me insists that there is something to read into in his every movement, word, joke. Weirdly, new me is maintaining new me thoughts on the aaarghpps. I briefly spoke about Chris in witty title – week 1 and how we like one another but had slightly different views on what we wanted in life. Old me would have totally ignored our differences and latched onto the fact that he was attracted to me. Old me would have taken his messages on the app (even the ones that came after that conversation) as a sign of something more. A sign that I could change his mind, if only he would meet me. He’ll see. Old Me would have been convinced that he would change his mind. We did have a sing off to Elvis – Suspicious Minds, which made my day, but at the line where Elvis croons we can’t on together’ I ended the fun and games with ‘no seriously, we can’t go on together’. New me is putting her foot down, although I will admit a small part of old me is lurking in the background, but I’m starting to recognise that you must fall for the person that they are and not the person who you hope they will be. The one in your head is made up! The one in front of you is real!
Is it possible that I expect too much of love? Have I watched one too many romantic films? We all want to fall in love. But as we know, love is an emotion. We don’t ever say we want to fall in happiness. Or fall in pride. And if love is an emotion, and an emotion is a conscious mental reaction toward a specific object or person, and emotions do not last, then it seems a bit ridiculous that we expect love to happen for us and last forever.
Maybe, it is possible that we can fall in love with people in short bursts. As it is an emotion no different to being angry or jealous, those feelings don’t last and we fall out of anger and jealousy as quickly as we fall into them. Is it unreasonable to think the same of love. For the briefest of moments where Chris and I were singing together, I felt a huge draw to him, I was in a positive state of mind and I experienced the rest of that day with more joy than usual, my desire for him multiplying exponentially. A temporary insanity? Is that not love? And if we can fall in love within the briefest of moments, we can fall out of it too just as quickly. I certainly don’t feel love for Chris now, but the positive feelings I did experience were addictive and maybe it is that feeling of being addicted that we chase in our search?
And if love is an addiction, that would explain my history of only ever being at opposite ends of the love spectrum, totally addicted or totally withdrawing.
Maybe that’s where I need to find my balance? That love is a spectrum of sorts. You aim for the middle and hope that as a couple you move towards addiction in the smallest of actions. Whether that be something as simple as carrying a kit bag full of footballs for me or accepting my quirky Elvis superfan status and having a sing-off with me. And when I find myself sliding towards withdrawing, I need a partner who understands that love is work, to help me find my equilibrium back in the middle.
I guess what I can say with absolute certainty thanks to the benefit of hindsight, is that I’ve yet to meet a man who has been able to bring me back to equilibrium. I can’t say for certain that my self-sabotage is not a test, but Relationship expert Matthew Hussey says ‘many people can handle our wounds but not our weapons’. My heart is the queen, the knight is my weapon and I’m stuck in a cycle of love checkmate.