All right! I’m doing it– the blogging thing. After starting the year strong with the mantra of New Year, New Story, let’s get to exploring love itself.
Just in time for Valentine’s!
I thought about adding to my list of Lessons from Dating, but I think the best way to approach this topic is to focus on the misconceptions of love. We might all want to know what love is, but let’s tackle what love isn’t.
1. Love is NOT not ever having to say you’re sorry.
On a podcast years ago, I was talking about that famous line from the movie Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” My friend Sam called that line on its bullshit because, yeah, when the need arises you should apologize.
So why has this quote carried on throughout the years? Part of it has to be that soundtrack. The other part has to be the idealized want of forgiveness (i.e. our love is so strong that they’ll always forgive me, and if they always forgive me, I don’t need to say sorry).
Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you can skimp out on the apology, but you should be wary of two things. First, don’t give an asshole apology where you blame the other person for taking offense or getting the feelings hurt. You need to be able to own up to your mistakes. Second, don’t make it all about the apology. Some people think “I’m sorry” are two magical words that can fix everything. Those words are a step in the right direction, but saying “I’m sorry” all day/everyday without any follow through won’t mean much.
And yet, I see people repeat those words like a broken record….
2. Love is NOT completion.
We hear it all the time. Barry Manilow lied to us. Bryan Adams lied to us. 98 Degrees too. Your significant other shouldn’t be the reason you live your life.
Can a girlfriend/boyfriend be a huge part of your life? Absolutely. Should a spouse enrich your life– most definitely. But I know I’m fighting against a lot of words and phrases that’ve become embedded in our speech.
“What? You want to tell me my wife doesn’t complete me? Fuck you, Jon!”
I’m not trying to take away from anyone who feels they have something special. It’s just that if you spend your whole life searching someone to make you whole, that means you live a good portion of your life thinking you’re incomplete. You carry the mindset that you’re not good enough.
And not only is that no way to live, it’ll also skew the dynamic of how the relationship plays out. What might seem romantic becomes a reality of neediness and over-dependence. And in turn, being the “everything” for someone else is a lot of pressure to bear.
Getting hold of your “other half” might also be disappointing because you’ll learn that…
3. Love is NOT enough.
Damn it, Beatles! Who hasn’t been conditioned to think “All You Need is Love”? This point really hammers in the idolized love that so many people deem romantic. But don’t ya know? Love don’t fix a headache. Love don’t stop a ticket. Love don’t pay the bills.
I always think about brides who say their wedding day was the best day of their lives. That sort of sentiment always makes me sad because after that day, then what? It all goes downhill? You see the same thing crop up when people get nostalgic about high school.
Life without love might be bleak, but love isn’t a magic cure. Just like the apology scenario we covered above, you need the follow through. There needs to be something else– something more to it. And it’s not that you need to work harder or have to kill yourself by putting more into the relationship! Don’t make it all about love.
Actions without love might be bad, but love without action is worse.
I don’t quite know how to transition to that thought, but I’m going to take a gamble and believe in myself for doing just enough set up. Go on and tweet that.
Do you or someone you know struggle with keeping a realistic hold of self-value when it comes to love? Schedule a free consultation by calling 617-870-3615.