You want to think you’re the person that will know what they have when they have it. You want to think that the only way your love will break apart will be for typical reasons like they changed or you changed or there’s some glaring incompatibility you only noticed with time. You never want to think that perhaps the love you’ve been given is less than the love you think you deserve. You tell yourself that love is infinite, that nobody deserves more or less love, that you don’t have to earn or prove yourself to contain the love you have been given. Yet, these beliefs about love are beautiful in theory, but they become nearly impossible in practice, when you’re scared and up against the kind of love you’ve secretly wanted – yet feared – your entire life.
Subconsciously, you start to tear down what you’ve built, brick by tiny brick. You find these small things about the person you love that suddenly become huge, insurmountable obstacles barricading your heart from theirs. Your eyes wander, you look at the grass on the other side and convince yourself it is, in fact, greener, you can see so with your own eyes. It’s better there! I’m better there! Every fight becomes a conclusive marker into the investigation of the longevity of your love. You start to collect evidence on the hypotheses you’ve derived: this is not going to work. They’re a round hole and you’re a square peg.
You pick fights, these nothing-fights about inconsequential things. You hold grudges. You pick apart at their behavior, citing incompatibilities as the reasoning behind this criticism. You find ways for them to not match up to whatever you decide they need to match up to that day. You defend yourself when they express themselves. You create these tiny moments of rebellion against the love you think you don’t deserve. Because, truly, the only real flaw this person contains is that they have swooped into your life and threatened what you think you know about love, what kind of love you think you deserve.
So, you decide to give yourself permission to leave, to break, to cut your losses and run.
But then, in the calm of that decision to leave, the coolness of being able to move on, your heart wakes up. Your relationship becomes a place you want to visit now. It’s home. You have both set the weapons down and the battle has subsided for a moment.
And, you realize, what you’re running from isn’t the eventual break and it isn’t the love you have lost. You’re running out of fear of the love you have. It’s too good, too beautiful, too warm to wrap yourself in. You’re scarred and battered from weathering your life and you have expected heartbreak, disappointment, the oddly comfortable sadness of being alone. Among the scattered remnants of your past are pieces of your heart – discarded and broken – fragments of hope that you’ll never collect back. And, so, when this love comes into your life, no matter how long you have held onto it, perhaps even when you’ve held onto it for a while, you start to retreat back into the comfort and safety of yourself, of that person who has withstood pain, disappointment, and the shattering that comes with a loss of belief in love.
Because, fear has a way of sounding like Truth. Fear talks in a voice that soothes you, that tells you this won’t work, you can stop being vulnerable, you can find solace within that loneliness you know far too well. Fear will so quickly entice you back into a world you clawed your way out of that you won’t even notice until you’re at the bottom of the same hole you have come to familiarize yourself with. Fear will become a crutch, a best friend, a voice you listen to when you are hopeful and worried and in the sort of euphoria that you think is followed up by pain.
It’s the kind of fear that sneaks up behind you, that positions itself in your mind as well-meaning advice, as grievances that need air, as small complaints that burst into large issues, inner debates about your compatibility, your future, the world before you that you assume you’re missing out on. This fear eats at you and convinces you that this person that lay beside you is your enemy, scheming to ruin you. This fear manifests itself inside your heart and tells you that there’s someone or something better, while dangling this parallel future in front of you, this might-be-better life that you think is on the other side of an eventual heartbreak.
Yet, you and I both know this fear has no truth to it. It’s empty air. And the love that lay beside you in the glow of a morning light is the purity against the desire to give in to fear. And, every time you stay and face down your fear, that voice gets a tiny bit quieter. The moments of rebellion a little less destructive. Soon, you commit fully, surrendering to the fact that you don’t know if this will end in heartbreak, but it’s worth the risk. And, that’s all you need to or can know for now.