Is Love a Choice?

So, my ex-boyfriend and I had a long text conversation today about the end of our relationship.  It’s been close to four months, I think, since he broke it off rather abruptly. He told me he ended it because he gave up on our long-distance relationship – of course, there was another woman involved so I’m sure that was part of it, but whatever – and I told him it’s all good and people’s feelings change and it was for the best. Blah, blah, blah.

And that got me thinking about what I actually believe about love and commitment.

Thing is, I do believe everything I told Jon. But I also believe love is a commitment. You date to see if you want to make that commitment. We did and he didn’t. Fine.

But, after that, after you make the choice that you love that person and want to be with them forever. At that point, it’s not an option for your feelings to change. What I mean by that is this. You fall in love. You make a choice to commit. Then you keep committing every day.

You commit to love that person.

You commit to be honest with that person about what you need.

You commit to do whatever it takes to keep that love alive.

You commit to make sacrifices for their happiness and, because they love you the same way, they will also make sacrifices for yours.

I don’t know at what point in the relationship you make this commitment, but I think you both know when it happens. And it’s not to be taken lightly. It’s a big deal.

Because that commitment means it’s the two of you against the world. You’re no longer flying solo. You no longer have the option to only do what you want. You have to consider another person. And you made a commitment to love and be with that person forever. Anything less is a betrayal.

For some people, for some couples, that seems pretty easy. I think, in some ways, it’s how far you open your heart. Once a person is in there deeply, embedded, they become a part of you. It makes it easier to make that daily commitment because to hurt them, you hurt yourself. But, even then, you can’t forget. You can’t take it for granted.

I’ve seen so many couples who thought they were safe, that things were good. Then, a few years later, one of them cheats. The excuse of the cheater is always that they didn’t feel that their partner listened to their needs. It’s imperative to check in with each other. To talk and to listen to each other.

I’ve never been married.

But I’ve seen a lot of marriages – both good and bad.

I’ve listened to a lot of people with broken hearts tell me what went wrong on their side. I’ve had friends who have been cheated on and friends who cheated. I try not to judge because I know marriage is hard and that it takes two people for it to work. And that’s my point. It’s work.

The couples I know whose marriages are currently good all say that it’s work and that they work at it. They talk. They check in with each other. They compromise. They BOTH compromise. They make deals: you do this one night for me and I’ll do that one night for you. You figure out what’s important to each other, and you make it happen.

And I’ve never heard a couple who works on their relationship say that it wasn’t worth it. Love always is. It’s worth sacrifice and pain and hard work because…well…love.

For now, I’m flying solo again and that’s okay. I am living the life I want, learning to love myself the way I deserve to be loved, and opening my heart up to the Universe to be more generous and caring and vulnerable and daring. I’m learning not to be afraid of physical or emotional pain on my path to get what I want. And, hopefully, I’ll find someone to share in my crazy adventures along the way.

Of course, the steps required to get my Z Visa may kill me but, if I get through that, I am psyched about what the future holds.

What are your thoughts about love? Can you make a choice to love one person forever or are you at the mercy of whimsical emotions? Is the notion of loving one person forever a social construct or is it a desirable and attainable goal?

I think that choosing to love one person forever is a desirable and attainable goal. And, the older I get, the more I think that love is a choice. You can choose to love someone forever. I am, however, an idealist and a romantic so I believe the impossible is possible if you want it badly enough!

But whatever you believe and however you believe, I also know that you must be true to yourself. Think about this. Take the time to love yourself and decide how you want love to exist in your life. There are no wrong answers as long as you’re honest with yourself and the people you allow into your heart.

Peace.

Moving Forward

Change. Change is a word that can evoke many different emotions, sometimes all at once. I’ve lived my life with constant change, never living in one place for that long, never at the same place or doing the same job. I get change.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Change means new beginnings and growth. But new beginnings always mean something has to end, and growth means growing pains. No matter how excited I am about new beginnings – and I LOVE new beginnings – it doesn’t exempt me from being sad about whatever is ending or feeling the pain of pushing myself in a new direction.

I just had a change in my relationship status. He chose to end it, but I knew it was the right thing. I had almost ended it a few times myself but talked myself out of it. Why do we do that? Why do we avoid the hard things? The things that cause us pain, even when we know it’s the right thing to do?

Regardless of how right it was, it still hurts. And the fact that he ended it means it also comes with self-doubt. What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently? Am I too ugly? Am I too fat? All the stupid insecurities come rushing to the front. Most of these are silly, inconsequential things, but they are always lurking.

The truth is, we were only meant to be together for the short term, and neither of us was ready to let go right away. I don’t regret it. I care about him a great deal, and I enjoyed being with him. I learned so much about myself and about being in a relationship and about long-distance relationships and about commitment and about the importance of honest communication and the importance of having similar long-term goals.

But I hate that I didn’t listen to my gut.

And I hate how it ended.

He’s already met someone new which makes it harder, especially for my pride. It also makes my heart hurt and my stomach churn, and I kind of want to punch him in the face. But it’s okay. I won’t punch him. And, in the long run, it will all be for the best since, in the long run, we would have made each other miserable.

And, the good news is, I do have a new beginning – and I am excited about moving forward.

Of course, I still have to figure out exactly where I’m moving to, but that’s all part of the growing pains fun!