I have seen so many people get caught and stuck in wrong pattern for years because from a young age, we’re taught that love is magic. We’re taught that it’s out of our control, and when we fall in love it’s because the stars align and love is forever. I think a lot of people could have been spared some of the heartache and the trauma of a break-up had they been taught that fairytales exist but only in books and Disney movies. Love is a feeling, and it can be so, so beautiful, but love is not magic. No one is going to put the glass slipper on for us and no one is going to kiss us out of a coma. No one can convince me that they lock eyes with some mysterious man from across the room and from that point on they are inseparable, living the rest of their lives in perfect sync and harmony. If this makes me sound bitter, then so be it. Feelings are fleeting if you let them be. The infatuation of the early stages of a relationship eventually goes away. From then on, love is a choice. It doesn’t matter if they are your first-born child or your childhood friend that your parents videotaped chasing you around the backyard that finally told you he loved you when you guys were 14. It doesn’t matter if it’s blood that brings you together, flesh, or happenstance.
The choice to love must be made day after day.
People are people. At the end of the day they will do as they please. People ask themselves, “How could he just abandoned his child like that?” and they ask, “How could he just leave? After all this time?” and the answer is simple. He chose too. It’s a conscious decision to decide not to feel that feeling anymore, or at least suppress it enough to pretend it isn’t there. They say it takes 7 days to break a habit, and in the case of two people who love each other, if you try hard enough, it is no different. I’m not saying the father who left his child and never looked back will be okay for the rest of his life because I guarantee at some point he will have some remorse, but if he wanted to stay, if he wanted to love his child, he would have, and it would be near impossible for him to be away for so long, becoming a total stranger to his child. There would be no ‘trying again’ and there would be no broken lines of communication or distance if he made the decision to love his son. There is no greater reminder of loneliness than being a single mother and there is no bigger fear than wondering what the hell you’re going to do when your son needs to be toilet-trained or taught to shave his face. Is there ever going to be anyone who can at least show me how to show him? And how in the world do we answer the questions that he is going to evidently have when his friend tells him about how his dad took him to bring-your-kid-to-work-day and it was so cool and his job is so much fun. How can we explain why his dad doesn’t take him to work? As parents, we spend most of our days trying to protect our child from the cold reality of the world and thinking of ways we can give them answers that won’t completely break their heart. Love is a choice. And it’s a choice that even some parents decide not to make. To love is to choose. Once you learn this, I promise you that you can heal your heart, no matter why it’s broken, and you won’t feel like it’s raining every time you open your eyes anymore.
Romantic comedies are a crowd favorite (mine too). But they painted a picture in my mind of how love is supposed to be and ‘this is how it works’. That movie you watched where boy meets girl under some sort of forbidden circumstance and the climax of it is this huge fight they get into, where he’s screaming and she’s throwing stuff and he leaves her alone to cry herself to sleep wondering if he’s ever coming back? That isn’t fucking romantic That’s toxic. And now that I’ve gone through enough similar situations to see that, I know it’s something that I want to avoid. The odds of them getting married and having a happy life together are slim to none and if they do, he’s probably still screaming at her (because he can) and she’s probably still bringing up that time she came home and found someone else’s article of clothing on her bedroom floor. She might even be wondering why he’s always working late or not answering the phone. Rom-coms are the best. But they’re only the best for Friday nights when you’re bummed because that guy didn’t text you back, or you just broke up with your shitty boyfriend, or you’re tired of guys trying to hang out with at the bar but refusing to ask you to dinner or even buy you a drink for that matter.
Movies aren’t meant to be a representation of real life. They’re an escape in the form of entertainment – keep this in mind when he hasn’t texted back, or the only time you’re getting a text is after ten o’clock on a Friday night and you can tell he’s drunk, asking what you’re doing later.
He isn’t playing hard to get, it isn’t because he’s hanging out with his friends, it’s because he’s choosing not to. Keep this in mind when you’re in room crying over pictures of your three-year long relationship and you’re wondering why he doesn’t love you anymore. He chose it. If you ever wonder why your parents divorced after celebrating twenty-three years of marriage, it’s because one or both made the decision to stop loving. When effort fails, when you begin choosing other things as a priority, when you decide that you can’t see past what you don’t like – that’s the conscious choice not to love. Find comfort in the fact that you can do the same thing. It’s never easy, but you can choose to move on, you can choose to heal your heart, and even though you don’t want too, you can stop feeling like you’re missing something. It won’t happen overnight but it can happen. You’ll be able to look back and not be angry, bitter or regretful. You’ll know that you loved when you had the chance, and you’ll know you stopped because you had too.
You’ll know that throughout it all, making the choice to love yourself is a choice that will ultimately set the path to finding someone who will do the exact same thing, over and over again.