It’s the phrase that has haunted me for a very long time: “It is better to loved and lost, then to have never loved at all.”
Is it better to have loved and lost? Is it better to have never loved?
I, like many more just like me, have lived most of my life with loss. Lost innocence, lost relationships, lost ties, the loss of a heart that wasn’t broken. I have loved deeply, and I have lost deeply. So I thought about this a lot and I have finally decided that it is in fact easier to have never loved at all.
Losing hurts, we learn that as children when we lose some silly game and it takes hours before we can put it behind us and start a new one. And it’s so much easier for children. Because just like their bodies, children’s hearts have yet to develop completely. Hearts weigh quite a lot and the recovery gets harder and longer as adults. A broken heart takes years to heal and even when they do, the scar tissue remains as a scary memory of what happened, like the cracks in a pavement.
It is easier to have never loved at all. It saves you from becoming the mess and the brokenness you transform into once the whole losing process occurs. Years could go by after that one boy or that one girl left your life before you start accepting that nobody will ever take up the same amount of space as they did. Or at least not in the same way. You will lose your parents, or your friends, or your lover, or your grandma and it will hurt. Love comes in all shapes and colors and so does grief. So does loss. You’ll never share coffee with them again. You’ll never kiss them goodbye. You’ll never see them smile or hear them laugh. And there’s literally nobody else in the world that can reproduce that one laugh.
Sure, you’ll love again and lose again but each and every loss will hurt in completely different ways. The scars are never shaped the same. Each loss is uncharted territory. You will never feel the warm touch of that exact same person ever again.
It is easier to have never loved at all than to have loved and lost. However it is not nearly as pleasant, not nearly as uplifting. You will always go into that room where they waited for you. You will see them with all their beauty and all their flaws and you will love every inch of their body, every corner of their soul even if you know how devastated you will be once they live. You will enjoy the privilege of loving them deeply and honestly and the pain will pale in comparison. You will always open yourself up like a book in front of those worthy, despite them always leaving you behind. You will always feel like a fool for loving. You’ve done it before and I can bet you will do it again.
I haven’t lost hope in love. I know it’s still out there, waiting for me, waiting for me to be ready to grab on and hold onto it once again. But the more I lose, the harder it gets to let people in. It’s hard to let people see you naked, with all your scars exposed. Showing skin is easy. You can take off every piece of clothing and you’ll still have your history, your hopes and dreams, your secrets, your scars. This is where it gets tricky. If you let people see you naked, they will be more inclined to do the same in return. And sometimes people keep parts of themselves buried under their skin. They could be evil or wicked parts but they’re usually wonderfully colored parts. Parts they have hidden away from the world because, just like you, they too have been hurt. They too have been hiding.
I will get better. I’m suffocating right now but I have hope that I will be able to see that love does more than just waste you away before I take my final breath.
What I do know with certainty is that yes, it is better for your emotional and psychological integrity to have never loved. You’ll be more stable. You’ll also be a little bit colder. You will have never felt the joy of true love. And I don’t know which is worse.
The loving part seems the most terrible for me right now — but that’s only because the loss occurred quite recently. You should keep a small window open. Let the right ones fight for the privilege to get in. Maybe that’s the compromise that ought to be made.
Is it better to have loved and lost?
Or is it better to have never loved?
I’ll let you figure that one on your own.