We date because we’re searching.
Maybe we’re searching for love, maybe we’re searching for someone to understand us, maybe we’re just searching for a warm body because we’re so damn tired of feeling alone. Regardless, we’re looking for something, looking for some way to be filled. We crave the affection of another person, no matter how independent we claim to be.
See, it all starts by lying to ourselves.
We pretend we aren’t interested in finding someone, but the truth is, we are. Then we stumble into dates and relationships and commitments and begin skirting around our feelings, giving half-truths, not always being honest about how we feel or what we want.
It all starts with muddled intentions.
And then, somehow, we cross that bridge. Maybe we start to let someone in, maybe we realize that it’s okay to trust, or that love really is beautiful, and we become tied to another person.
We’re pursuing love, we’re hoping to find ‘the one,’ but sometimes we try to manipulate love to our benefit, try to change the course of things, try to make ourselves and our partners feel or think a certain way.
Sometimes we put love on a pedestal, making it so much bigger than it is, believing that when ‘love happens’ it will be all the answers, all the solutions, all the missing pieces we’ve been searching for.
We dream about forever, but we’re human. And forever is hard. We live in a world where everything is temporary, and so we’ve learned to accept that people and things are impermanent. We’ve learned that so many things are replaceable.
But that view of the world is wrong.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that love is perfect, and that when we find it, we’ll have this strange, pit-of-your-stomach, you-just-know type of feeling.
We’re told that love will be easy, that we’ll magically find this person who molds into our lives and makes us see how things we’re meant to be all along.
And maybe some of that is true. But that’s not guaranteed. The person we’re supposed to marry isn’t going to be flawless. We’re going to fight with them. We’re going to disagree. We’re going to be frustrated and angry and empty and annoyed, and yet, we’re still going to love them.
But the problem with the world and the way we love, is that we’re told not to settle for anything less.
We’re told to run when thing get too tough because we deserve better, right? Or told to run because there’s other people out there, and we shouldn’t waste our time with anything other than real, passionate love, right?
But real, passionate love is going to be hard. And maybe by telling ourselves to leave, to move on, to let go, to search for another, we’re really just teaching ourselves that relationships and love are impermanent. Maybe all we’re really teaching ourselves is to give up.
We fight, we don’t see eye-to-eye, we clash in so many ways with our significant others, yet instead of fighting for each other, we begin to fight against. We begin to look elsewhere for answers, for fulfillment, for something to make us happy because this relationship isn’t anymore.
We see love as temporary, people as interchangeable. And that’s so wrong.
We’re setting ourselves up for heartbreak, for divorce, for never being satisfied with what we have, for always searching for more and ending up empty.
We’re teaching ourselves that when things get tough, it’s better to save ourselves and walk away then try to work for anything—yet we still think that we’re going to find true, perfect, easy love.
Now, there’s something to be said for toxic relationships, for abusive relationships, for relationships that we legitimately need to save ourselves from. But what about the ones we just begin to tire of? What about the ones that drift over time and we simply let go of?
What happened to our fight, our drive, our passion?
What happened to the love that we used to believe so strongly in?
See, we’ve become people that are too quick to throw in the towel. We think that life is all about searching, so much so, that we miss what’s right in front of us sometimes. We’re so focused on what could be better that we often don’t take time to value what we already have.
The painful truth about relationships is that there’s no guarantee of forever. But we don’t have to go into them with that thought already in our minds.
Maybe instead of always being on guard, we can learn to let people fully in. Maybe instead of running when things get tough, we can learn to fight. Maybe instead of giving up, we can learn to persevere as if we were already married, as if this was a real commitment and not just a temporary one.
Maybe we can learn to love fully, and believe in it.
Maybe this is the only hope we have for relationships. And we can’t give up.