Yes, Love Is Painful, But Only In A Very Specific Way

Nina Sever
Nina Sever

There is a certain way that love should hurt. But when we are desperately in love, it’s hard to differentiate the good hurt from the bad hurt.

You see, we are willing to put up with a surprising amount of pain when it’s coming from someone we are in love with. And that’s the problem right there: we know that loving someone can be painful, but what we often forget is that the pain should not be coming from the person themselves.

The pain should come from the idea of losing them. It should come from the places that your mind travels to when you imagine trying to live a life without them. The way you feel when you’re getting on a plane and they’re not coming with you. The way your whole body hurts when you know that they’re hurting. The way it feels when you wake up and see them sleeping soundly beside you, and you are so happy and so grateful and so worried about losing this moment that your chest aches. The feeling of the wind being knocked out of you when you think they are possibly in danger. The way you seem to watch yourself often choosing the more difficult and less appealing route, rather than the one that’s most convenient for you, because you know that it’s better for the two of you in the long run. The feeling of putting your heart in their hands, and believing that they won’t break it, but being scared anyway, because it’s always a possibility.

That’s how love should be painful.

But it’s often painful in other ways. Ways that we convince ourselves are normal and okay, even when they’re not. We let them make us cry, over and over again. We let them start arguments that are pointless, or unnecessary, or simply just a way of preventing us from getting closer to them. We let them run, and we wait for them to come back when they have nowhere else to go. We let them build walls, and we break our spines trying to climb over them. We think the tears are what make us closer, the ugly and cruel fights are what bring us together, the running and the closing off are just ways to make us understand how much this person means to us.

We romanticize the pain. Because we want to give it a reason, a story, a place of importance. We want to make the pain necessary, even when we know it’s bad, because that’s so much easier than walking away. We ignore the protective measures that our life has built up around us – the uneasy feeling in our gut, the way that our infatuation with them feels both sickening and like an addictive high at the same time, the worried looks from our parents, the concerned and sad faces of our friends. We forget that we are feeling these things and hearing these hesitations from the people who care about us for a reason. We convince ourselves that everyone else is crazy, that we are the only ones who see the real them, that this pain is only temporary and that they’re not always like this.

We forget what real, honest, true painful love feels like. And we accept this version instead – this sick, twisted, unhealthy substitute. We convince ourselves it’s beautiful, romantic, and necessary. And that’s how it destroys us, until finally, we realize that there’s a right way for love to hurt you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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