I thought I would grow out of having this conversation once the tweens faded away. But even in my late twenties, I find myself squandering to figure out “Is this love?” (singing it the Bob Marley way!)
When I got down to writing, I almost talked myself out of it. You just know it, or you don’t I thought! What could I say that wouldn’t be banal? Conversations around “love” are generally what girlfriends ramble over lunch.
Then again, every human experience evokes similar emotions but has varied interpretations. So, I choose to write nonetheless. Love is my muse this season.
Well, I’m of course not talking about the platonic kind. I’m talking about the kind that stirs those carnal instincts in you, gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of lightheadedness, while butterflies flutter in your tummy, makes you twirl to no music and sing a melodious cacophony.
So, how can you tell between whether it’s love or just a strong liking for the other person? Are they essentially the same?
I was told about this incident recently by a friend who’s been waiting for someone she “believed” was the one for her to come around, which he does after a year to say, You know, my feelings for you at that time were sincere. I liked you. I can’t say I loved you because I haven’t, and I don’t know what it is...
So, there goes, kaput! The bubble she had been living in just burst, or did it? Where exactly do you draw that line between the love and the like? Do you base it on comparisons to your previous relationships?
Or, does love grow after an initial mutual attraction if given the space and time? Is all love blind, or is it only for the (un)privileged few?
A meta-analysis study (Science seems to solve the unimaginable) conducted by Syracuse University suggests that falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second, wow! What was my friend doing all this while then, right? She should’ve known it wasn’t meant to be and moved on.
Well, she didn’t. She held on to this semblance of almost a threadbare relationship, finding joy in her little chitchats with him, daydreaming about better days when they went for short romantic getaways, spoke till dawn broke, woke up thinking about each other, and yet couldn’t get enough.
Did I mention they were in a long distance relationship and that he was ten years older? Unconventional, huh? But it rocked her boat, alright! It seemed as perfect as it could get for her, and it felt absolutely right.
When he traveled across the seven seas to be home and took a short detour to surprise her, she was moved. It was as if life had written for her her very own fairytale, and her knight in shining armor had finally found his way.
But like all good things, her joys were ephemeral. There was never an outright pronouncing of love for each other. It was more a muted, subtle acceptance of friendship that grew into attraction and was now on tricky waters because they couldn’t decide what it really was.
They weren’t friends, nor did they agree on being partners.
There was never an in-between for her, she said, yet there was something that kept bringing them back together. Five years invested in this relationship, whatever name you want to give it.
Is it delusional to wait when you are sure it is love? You’re just giving the other a space to be sure, right? The classics I read growing up preached that patience and distance made hearts grow fonder.
But honestly, let not your plans be centered around the idea of someone you weave in your head. Love yourself the most and know that good things fall apart only so that better things can fall into place.
Let him know how you feel, but also realize that you’ve done your part, and there’s only so much you can say to make someone stay.
With age, some of us become cynical about the prospects of “finding” love because the “process” in itself is tiring. This argument I suggest but find it equally flawed because love doesn’t need to be hunted down with a lamp.
It finds you, and with hope, when it does, you find your happily ever after; and if not, well, either you choose to compromise or you’re lucky enough to be found a multiple times.
No, I don’t believe you love only once. If you take the frills and thrills out of it, love is basically hit and trial.
As for the like bit and this is an absolutely personal opinion: it is just an excuse to have the best of both worlds – the joys of togetherness and freedom of non-commitment.
Convenience, if you like, so you don’t have to answer the tougher questions and be emotionally vulnerable. Why take the risk? Remember that loving someone is a leap of faith. It doesn’t guarantee anything but it’s almost always worthwhile.
If you can’t figure out what this is, the least you can do is to give each other a serious shot and find out where the wind beneath the sails takes you because it’s not very often that you like someone for those many years or, find her waiting for you knowing but not believing that it could very well be like waiting for rain in a desert.
Love the one who loves you, not the one you love, they say. I’m puzzled about whether this should be my advice for my friend or her pseudo beau.
For those left behind, you can’t control or anticipate the other’s thoughts. As Paulo Coelho famously said, Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”
So get on with your life, make your own plans, do your own thing. Let him figure out what he wants. If you move on, your past would still be a cherished memory, but you wouldn’t have stopped living YOUR life.
If it feels like a hopeless situation, remember Karma is instant.What goes around comes around – your moment of serendipity is just around the corner.
The writer sometimes want to give it all up and be a nomad. Sometimes, she wants to pursue an MBA but most times, she’s just daydreaming about the travels, the love, the laughter and the dreams which we’re all after.