It’s a phrase I’ve grown to seriously dislike. Because it makes it seem like love is just something that happens to you – like you should just stand there and let fate do all the work. Like you don’t have any control over your life. Like you should just wait patiently until someone assigns you to the person you’ll end up with, after which it’s mostly a paint-by-numbers sort of game.
And yes, there are a lot of aspects about love that you don’t have control over. You can certainly put yourself out there and keep an open mind and say ‘yes’ to opportunities to meet new people. But you can’t ever fully control who you’re going to meet, and who you’re going to be attracted to, and exactly what qualities they’ll have, and how you’ll encounter them.
But what you do have control over is choosing to continue to love someone long after you’ve hit the ground.
There’s a certain tipping point where everything changes. The butterflies and the giddiness and head-over-heels goosebumps glide into a more calm, trusting, everyday sort of love. And maybe it doesn’t sound as dramatic, or interesting, or glamorous. But in reality, it’s the most romantic thing of all. Because it’s no longer happening to you. Rather, you’re making a decision. You’re choosing it – you’re choosing them – every single day.
That’s why I really don’t like the idea of ‘the one.’ The idea of all of us feeling like we need to obsess over finding the right, perfect, absolute partner. The person who we were meant to be with despite all odds, who we’ve moved mountains and oceans for, a love story worthy of the movies because of how absolutely perfect and flawless and certain it is.
Love isn’t like that. Love is scary as shit. Sometimes it’s fantastic, overwhelming, blissful. But other times it’s confusing, or frustrating, or just plain boring as hell. There are periods of intense passion and feeling and heat, and then random plateaus of an almost terrifying comfort – everything is consistent, everything is standard, everything makes sense. It’s a screenwriter’s worst nightmare.
And we forget all that when we hear about ‘the one.’ We think that we have to find the person who gives us heart palpitations, who always makes it impossible to breathe, who makes us feel like we’re going to go insane from our desire for them. But that’s not love. That’s infatuation, lust, instant gratification. Love can be thrilling and exhilarating too. And passionate and exciting and fascinating. But it’s also regular. It’s also everyday. It’s flawed. It has bumps, it has plateaus. It has highs and lows. Because that’s what is supposed to happen when you want something to exist for good. It’s supposed to change. It’s supposed to have complications. It’s supposed to not always be perfect.
Sometimes love is not a story. Sometimes it’s just a sweet, simple, everyday occurrence – special in its ability to last a lifetime, rather than the standard 90 minutes. It’s steady, and genuine, and true – as consistent as the breathing of the one sleeping next to you every night.