Not Everyone Falls In Love

The logic to love has always puzzled me.

I remember asking my parents as a child how the government (I wasn’t quite sold on God) managed to maintain an even number in the World’s population. Were babies only born in twos and fours? Was there a beautiful, softly spoken woman — perhaps Ms. Honey from Matilda — who sat with a pink clipboard in a small office and kept tally?

One girl baby, one boy baby — check! Soulmates.
One girl baby, one boy baby — check! Soulmates.

I recall it being a pressing concern at the time, largely because 8 year-old me was growing anxious that Auntie Michelle still hadn’t found herself a boyfriend.

My mother’s little sister Michelle had always been my favorite auntie — a kind and gentle woman with porcelain skin, a wicked laugh, and neatly-cropped hair. She was (in my eyes, at least) the epitome of intelligence, youth, and unassuming beauty. I remember sitting at the foot of our crowded family dinner table one Christmas lunch, and catching her in a quiet moment of sadness.

She was the only adult there without a partner.

It bothered me deeply, even then. You see, I could’ve easily listed two dozen adults more deserving of loneliness than she was. How could she possibly have been single? It just didn’t make sense; it didn’t compute.

And so, in a desperate bid for answers, I quite innocently turned to the facts — or, rather, to the numbers.

I figured that so long as our human population remained at an even number, there’d be no numeric explanation for anybody ever having to live — or worse still, die — alone. There’d be a designated soulmate for everyone; it might just take some longer to find theirs than others. I was certain that I’d solved the problem, and discovered the fundamental equation to global love.

Let’s say, for example, the human population was momentarily sitting at an even 7,250,071,196 people.

That, as I understood it, simply equalled 3,625,035,598 pairs of lovers, just waiting to meet!

A young me found solace in the idea that all humans, my auntie included, were sprawled like broken puzzle pieces across the globe; just waiting to connect with their special, custom-made other halves. It was only ever a matter of time.

But that’s when she broke it to me, right there and then.

My mother — who admittedly has never been one to roll shit in glitter — looked me right in the eye and said: “Sam, it doesn’t always work like that. Some people don’t meet their soulmate. Some people aren’t lucky enough to find love.”

Some people aren’t lucky enough to find love?
I was quick to clarify.

“But Auntie Chelle will, right?”

“She might. But then again, she might not.”

Keeping to her unique style of parenting, my mom had somehow managed to debunk my belief in Love before Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny — and I found her truth on the matter equally as hard to digest.

In fact, I sometimes consider it today.

I think perhaps we tend to view our ideas of love as an inherent truth, much like we do our ideas of God or Heaven. I was taught at a young age that when we die, we simply cease to exist. No winged angels, no golden gates, no eternal life — nothing.

Similarly, with love, I was lead to understand that relationships aren’t the be-all and end-all; that they’re challenging, uncertain, and inherently fragile.

Naturally, we’re all raised to see things a little differently: some of us are determinedly cynical while others remain hopelessly optimistic. Whichever side we happen to fall, however, there’s no escaping the one truth.

While nobody likes to say it out loud, most of us understand, somewhere deep down, that neither notions are grounded in any kind of certainty. Yet on the subject of love, we seem to collectively abandon our common sense and soldier on, perpetuating the belief that it is.

“Of course you’ll meet someone!” “They’ll come along when you least expect it, trust me!” “Anybody would be lucky to have you!” “You just haven’t met anyone good enough yet!” “They could be waiting, just around the corner!” “Are you on Tinder? My second cousin met her husband on Tinder — apparently it actually works!”

While Auntie Michelle did eventually fall in love, get married, and have children, it remains true that not everyone will. And though it’s a troubling, more pessimistic idea, perhaps it’s one we need to accept, understand, and teach — one that we should all embrace more often.

After all, once we shed the expected certainty of love, aren’t we all a little more free to enjoy life, whether or not soul mates actually exist? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Leanne Surfleet

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