Posts Tagged Love

Incoherent Ramblings on Love and Relationships

In Cincinnati, this wonderful city of ours, there are many questions we ask ourselves and others. What flavor of Graeter’s ice cream will I have today? How bad will traffic be after the Reds game? Can you believe they finally broke ground on the Banks project? But when talking with friends and co-workers, conversation usually turns to relationships and love… and that brings up another question…

“What is love?”

On the surface, that seems like a pretty straight-forward and easy question, but under closer examination, things aren’t always as easy as they seem. So, let’s take a look at love. I don’t mean familial love or love of your fellow man, but that great love that binds people together, for better or worse, till death (or divorce) do you part. That’s the kind of love I’m talking about. Some people spend their whole lives searching for it. For other people, it finds them. However it happens, most people do experience love at some point in their lives.

Each person has a different definition or interpretation of the word. Webster’s defines love as “a strong affection for another arising out of attraction”. That’s very clinical… boring…cut and dry, and really doesn’t seem to do justice to the idea of love… in my never humble opinion at least. What about the romance? The quickening heartbeat when that special someone enters the room? The knowing glances? The unspoken understanding? The pure, unadulterated joy? But it’s not all sunshine and roses. There’s also the opposite side of the spectrum to consider. What about the sorrow? The betrayal? The tears? The fights and the pain? Through it all, the good and the bad, aren’t most of us looking for the possibility of a “happily ever after”? In the above definition, where does all that come in to play? That’s right, it doesn’t.

With that being the case, let’s take a look at where all of us learn about love… the movies. Movies teach us that out there for all of us is “The One”. Barring horrible events like a sinking ocean liner or an untimely fatal illness, we are guaranteed to ride off into the sunset hand in hand. Or so they’d like us to believe. Unfortunately, this happens less than 1% of the time in the real world. Even more unfortunately, we all have to live in this real world. No Fairy Godmother, no magic twist of fate, and, most of the time, no Prince Charming.

Enough with the broad generalizations of love. Let’s look at something more specific: Relationships. Relationships are the road on which love is built. All relationships have a beginning, a middle, and an end. At the beginning of a relationship, there is uncertainty: Where is this going? Do I want this to go anywhere? What do we call this? No one really likes uncertainty, so some people like to rush through the beginning stages of a relationship and jump right to the middle where they feel nice and stable and can say things like “I’m in a relationship”. But more often than not, when you rush through the beginning, you are also rushing right towards the end. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry. Let’s go back to the beginning.

After the initial meeting, all roads to love begin in the same place. Dating. Dating in the movies is much easier than real life too. In the movies, you’ll have a quirky first meeting, a few impossibly romantic dinners, a terrible relationship-ending misunderstanding, but not to fear, because, in the third act, all is resolved, and you and your sweetie can share a kiss on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. In reality, the adventure that is dating can be the definition of insanity… doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome.

In my experience, this has often been the case. Not to say I haven’t tried changing it up. I’ve tried dating for romance or dating for passion. I’ve even tried dating for mutual respect and decent conversation… attempting to avoid the messy trappings of all that other stuff. (Sometimes you just have to get out of the house.) Whether my fault, their fault, or no one’s fault at all, no matter the start, they all had the same result. Close the curtain. Take a bow. Relationship over.

Then there’s something they don’t like to mention in the movies. At the end of a relationship, you are presented with a wonderful new gift… baggage. (Ahhhh, baggage.) Baggage can come in all shapes and sizes: doubt, trust issues, self esteem problems, etc. The list goes on and on. The end of a bad relationship practically guarantees you a matching set of brand new, oversized baggage. Even good relationships can be enough to mess you up for awhile. You just hope that by the time you decide to try again, your baggage has been reduced to something closer to a carry-on tote than a steamer trunk.

For me, when it comes to relationships, I think Carrie Bradshaw put it best when she said, “There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

In the end, love in the real world is like walking through a mine field. You take a step, blow up, put yourself back together, and stupidly take another step. It makes me wonder… Why do we do this to ourselves… again and again? Some say that it’s human nature: it hurts so much to be alone that we’d all rather blow-up than be single. I don’t agree with that at all. The answer I keep coming back to is that because when it’s good, it’s totally worth it. And those great moments are what make me keep coming back for more.

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment