Love vs. Commitment vs. Codependency vs. Sex vs. Friendship vs. Romance
We have all been taught that true love is marriage and is all of the above concepts combined. But is it? Have you ever been in love but reluctant to commit? Have you ever had a spectacular sexual connection, but not felt romantic? Have you ever wanted to marry someone, but confused that desire with neediness or codependency? Have you ever been in a commitment, but felt physically attracted to someone else?
Does the traditional concept of love even make sense? Is it possible to write love into a marriage contract? Is it possible to bring love to a halt with the help of an attorney? Do people confuse their feelings of love with feelings of ‘He Will Answer All My Prayers’, then wake up one day to realize, he makes a good father, but a horrible lover? Love isn’t simple, yet we all want it to be more accessible, more equitable, more safe, and when it leads to emotional disaster, we wonder what was wrong with our formula. It all added up in the beginning, but when the relationship ended none of the pieces added up any more.
Is it possible to compartmentalize our emotional desires from our physical desires from our safety and security needs from our desire to connect on a spiritual level? Experts used to claim that this is only possible for men, real men, and that women were not designed to be able to handle that kind of compartmentalization. In fact, until recently, women who were able to have sex without needing love nor the man himself, were taught to be loose, pitiable, psychologically damaged. Much has changed in the last few years. Not only are we finding that it is possible to have love without commitment without codependency without friendship without romance, we are finding out that it is absolutely necessary to experience it all separately and in various combinations because what love means to you is very different from what it means to me.
When two people say I love you, they are actually speaking two different languages. To me love is a blissful feeling, an open heart chakra, vulnerability, fearlessness, complete willingness to be destroyed and knowingness that I will rebuild myself stronger and even more fearless. To most humans love is a measured dose of trading emotions for evidence of a firm commitment. If you asked my last ex, love is complete control of the other so they cannot leave you. If you asked the previous ex, love is how he would feel only if he could parade me as a trophy, but since I refused, it was not true love. To me, my refusal was proof of the purity of my love.
One thing is for sure love is not a fairy tale, but unfortunately most women grew up raised on a strict diet of Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. In each story the delicate beauty submitted to her savior, and they lived happily ever after. Is it any wonder that to this day most women dream of walking down the aisle wearing a princess gown, and that many insecure men think that a real woman is the one who submits?
So, the traditional concept of love isn’t working. If it was, we wouldn’t be so obsessed with decoding it. While the rise in divorce rates makes traditionalists panic, personally I think it is a positive sign. It means that people are starting to question what love truly means to them, and what types of love would best suit their needs. That isn’t always a marriage contract. Sometimes true love is the freedom to explore. And our definition of love isn’t permanently fixed. I see that with every new relationship, I redefine love and what it does for me.
I have never met someone whose idea of love matched mine. Sure, many claimed to be my perfect match, but we all know how to mimic feelings and parrot words the other wants to hear. They were all a wonderful match while the love lasted. As true as my love was, it has always faded. There are several exes whom I will always love, but am glad are no longer in my life. To some, that makes me a very scary woman.
Love ended for many reasons. Often our love was a house of cards with no mortar and no foundation. Most often it ended because I lost respect, deep insecurities, and the ugliest factor of all, control. Love is the direct opposite of control, but to many people control is the only form of love.
How do we unboggle love? I don’t think we are meant to. For centuries we thrived in marriage, or what I refer to as codependence. Religions instructed that marriage was the only form of love, and it worked as long as women had no other options. As soon as a few opportunities opened up we grabbed them. We grabbed birth control pills, we grabbed college and diplomas, we grabbed low-paying jobs just to afford ourselves delayed marriage, sexual experience, and an opportunity to live beyond what was deemed advisable for us. We learned that love doesn’t have to be the first boy we kissed, that love doesn’t have to be a husband, that love doesn’t have to be a shiny rock mounted onto a wedding ring, and contrary to what science claimed about the female brain, sex does not mean we will automatically attach and fall in love. Now we see that we don’t have to marry the father of our children. He can still be a good father, and we can still have a life. We learned that a man is not safety, children are not security, and no matter how much life’s meaning we are supposed to squeeze out of marriage and motherhood, it will never be meaningful enough. We want more.
Now what? The only thing that I can say with 100% certainty is that I don’t know what love is, and neither does any academic, moral authority, nor expert. That is why the institution of marriage has collapsed. We made love into the only thing it was never meant to me, an institution, and we killed it.
Very few can argue that animals have no emotions, and that animals are not capable of love. They are, only they experience it simply, more honestly and more purely. Animals can experience emotional loss and pain. Do they seek to protect themselves from love? Do they attempt to bind or chain one another? Do animals thrive in institutions or do they thrive in freedom? Maybe what they experience is more natural, certainly less contrived.
Humanity, with its egotism, thirst for power and control over one another, is the only entity that has succeeded in killing love. We have degraded the concept into a mere transaction. Outside of the human construct, love very much exists. We can’t even see it because we assume that anything that isn’t human cannot be conscious.
But look at the kind of love our moral authorities have created. Priests are raping children, politicians are masking their impotence by parading prostitutes and strippers in front of the masses, celebrities are trading two years of love for a ten carat diamond ring, CEOs are making headlines with dick pics, but it is still not okay for most of us who are skeptical to say, No, I do not believe in the institution of marriage.
It seems that the only way to remain sane and actually taste love is to break it down into little pieces and experience the easily digestible bits that make sense to us right now. Recently a friend got chastised by our social circle for admitting that she is in love and in a relationship with a married man. All hell broke loose, and she got called all kinds of names. No one accepted that what she felt could be true love. It was impossible they said, because he is under contract. Have you ever been in love with someone who belonged to someone else? I have, and I allowed myself to remain in love. Speaking with my friend I realized that she is happier than ever. She was very respectful of his marriage, and did not want to break it. She would not even ask him to leave his wife. She was thrilled to simply be in love with this human, despite the judgment, despite the insults, despite the fact that she understood she will one day get hurt. How is that not love?
I prefer to compartmentalize love. I have openly stated that I have friends with benefits. In fact, the reason I have experienced so much is because those friends empowered me to explore various types of relationships with different people. There are times when I miss romance, and I find someone to experience it with, even briefly. Currently, marriage is impossible for me to fathom, so I am leaving that out of my equation, and codependency is totally out of the question.
We each have to define love for ourselves, understand that as long as we are growing, our concept of love will keep evolving, always for the better. In fact, learning how to love in new and greater ways is the expansion of consciousness. With each new reincarnation of love comes a new revelation, a new cycle, a rebirth, a new enlightenment. Out of that crash of agonizing pain and suffering, comes a new version of you, always greater. Do you really want to stop this beautiful process so that you can get married?
Keep experiencing, keep growing, keep evolving and keep loving. Love never gets smaller unless you try to capture it. As you keep opening yourself more fearlessly, you will experience love in its highest forms. You will crash, you will burn, and you will survive. Each time love will get bigger and bigger and bigger. Guaranteed.
in·ti·ma·cy- Into Me I See