I used to think falling in love was all about that overwhelming feeling of passion and joy where Mr. Right would sweep me off my feet and we’d live happily ever after. He’s the guy that would light up my life, the man I would find true companionship with and who’d bring me the peace I was searching for. Thankfully however, I realised how flawed that vision was.
Hollywood makes us believe that romance should be intense; it’s all about the butterflies, the drama, the heightened emotions and finding ‘the one’ who you’ll marry and spend the rest of your life with. Until they come along, life is just ‘meh.’ Many of us are on a constant search to find a relationship which will fill the voids we have and where we can finally be ourselves with someone. Why must we wait until that ‘special’ relationship comes along? Why can’t we feel the compassion and joy we think that relationship will give us now? Is our own self-love and the love from our friends and family not enough? Why do we put our emotions on hold, waiting for that moment of attraction towards someone where there’s a sudden rush? We have confused lust with love, passion with intimacy, and infatuation with connection.
The idyllic notions of romance and the fiery feeling of passion used to be what I was searching for when dating yet those relationships were fleeting and insubstantial. Now I’m not saying romance is dead or ingenuine, romance is a beautiful expression of love yet it is often used as a tool to validate a relationship wherein many feel the need to show off the displays of romance they receive as if there’s something to prove. Instagram pictures of a bouquet of roses with captions that practically brag, “My man buys me roses, omg he loves me so much, I’ve done so well!” have become the gauge of true love as opposed to the warm feeling of content it provides. Since when does a romantic relationship need to be paraded in order to make it true?
“Thinking that there is some special person out there who is going to save us is a barrier to true love.” – Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return To Love’
We all crave love and attention however instead of giving those qualities to ourselves, we seek it externally. That rush of emotion which we think is love acts as a stimulant which fools us into thinking the intense feelings are something special when in fact they are feelings of attachment caused by our separation from our own Self.
Real love evolves naturally, is nurtured consistently, and takes time. The best, healthiest romantic relationships are between two people who not only complete themselves but have come together because they love each other, not because they need each other to make up for a lack of self-love. Love is free and so there are no rules or regulations which have to be followed in order to feel loved, instead there’s an understanding and deep care for one another where two lovers are also two best friends. Therefore since both people are the best versions of themselves, they naturally bring out the best in the each other.
“A relationship is not meant to be the joining at the hip of two emotional invalids. The purpose of a relationship is not for two incomplete people to become one, but rather, for two complete people to join together for the greater glory of God.” – Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return To Love’
The right relationship is something you embrace and nurture every day, and if that relationship is right, it will go on, and on, and on, until before you know it it’s been 5 years since you’ve been together, then 10 years and so on.
“When love is true and real, it feels warm and sweet in your soul the way oatmeal feel warms and nourishing in your belly. It just feels good. It’s not over-the-top, heart-stopping romance — the stuff Hollywood is made of. It just works. It’s nice. It’s solid.” – Sheryl Paul, ‘Love is a Bowl of Oatmeal’
The pressure of the relationship lasting for the rest of your life is another notion that needs to be let go of as this harbours attachment and fear. Change is inevitable and while I believe it is possible to spend the whole of your life in a wonderful relationship with one person, I also believe that by holding onto that idea you can prevent the relationship from becoming whatever it needs to be. Sometimes relationships aren’t meant to last forever however that relationship ending does not mean it was a waste of time or that there’s no room for love again! As long as you’re alive and there are plenty of wonderful people on this planet, you never need to feel a lack of love.
In conclusion, I have learned and realised that a romantic relationship isn’t something you search for, grab and try to keep. It’s something you open yourself up to, allow to graciously unfold, and embrace without attachment or fear of what might or might not happen.
“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.” – Buddha