Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — Does true love even exist? What’s this obsession with Jennifer Aniston’s love life and whether she’s pregnant “yet”? I got kinda depressed when I just read George Lopez is divorcing his wife after 17 years even after she saved his life 5 years ago by giving him a kidney. I know Hollywood people aren’t “real people” but we all see their love lives and I can’t help thinking this is a bad trend for true love. — Jaded Too Young?
I’m unsure whether “true” love exists, but I positively, definitely love this question! While I have been the lucky recipient of much unconditional love, have had equal luck with relationships of the heart (lasting!) as Solitaire on my iPad (3 minutes average game time!), and know/experienced/given/received a general warm-fuzzy, heart-strengthening love for other humans, animals and the passion of creating, my Inner Judge and Jury are still out deliberating on “romantic love” — which I feel is closest to the question of “true love.” Oh, trust me when I say that I have thoroughly thought about this subject in the absolute most pseudo-intellectual yet achingly earnest ways, and concluded most unscientifically that romantic love historically started out as a political and business transaction, and in our culture’s more recent times morphed into a marketing salve to soothe our empirically solo existences, as much as to sell edible underwear and Valentine’s Day crap. But it certainly is intoxicating.
So don’t look for true love modeling in celebrity pop culture (but, psssst!!, what do you think about the Demi and Ashton affair thing? Ohnohedi’ent!) as any sort of North Star for or barometer of true love — spend more time finding your own ways you can (re-)learn to trust, be open, be in the moment by learning from and leaving behind past hurts, share of yourself with others, and the real sort of love I hear you pining for, will know to begin to find its way to you. …And then you’ll have to learn how to open the door and let it in. …And then, even more work ensues with this business of “true love”…
Speaking of intoxication, while dipping my systems in my latest dopamine and oxytocin cocktail, I’d completely forgotten we’d answered this question of true love in another form last year. And I still agree with myself.
Love ya, mean it!
Ah, True Love, Soul Mate, Twin Flame—the elusive perfect mate with whom you are perfectly suited and a relationship that requires no work because you are “meant to be.” Yes, Jaded Too Young, part of that is true urban myth.
Relationships require work. Being in relationship with another being means getting to face another human that amplifies and mirrors a host of your own insecurities and issues. It is an opportunity to face those places where you are too scared or can’t trust. It is an opportunity to accept more of who you are and more of who someone else is surrendering judgment and control. It is a lively dance of energy that requires being honest with yourself and the other person—regularly.
Does love exist? Absolutely—but not in some ‘happily ever after’ way. Keeping the flame alive means keeping it interesting, as well as keeping up an interest in the other person’s life and activities. Sadly after a few years and a few kids it is easy to grow apart because interests and activities are no longer aligned, which can happen after a few years of marriage. A relationship in which the only communication is about ToDo Lists and laying out responsibility for tasks is not love or a marriage. If the heart of the caring and communication is gone, not much is left. And in the case of the Lopez marriage, why stay if the heart is no longer there? Just because she saved his life does not mean he is suppose to mortgage that life to exist in a loveless marriage. Both parties have to actively want to be in it for true love to exist.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in love. I believe in marriages that can last happily for 50-60 years. I’ve seen it. But that takes work by both parties. Sometimes it means admitting where you are wrong. Sometimes it means forgiving. And often it means accepting what is. The downfall in a relationship is trying to change someone else to match your needs. They are who they are and will most likely be some version of that person for the rest of their lives. If that’s a deal breaker now, move on. It’s not love it’s a project.
True love fights, manages every day issues like who’s doing the dishes and struggles to make romance out of another night at home watching TV. It is not all candlelight and private orchestra serenades. It’s work. Work on your part to really show up as all of you: honest, open, loving, compassionate and, yes, vulnerable, as well as powerful and independent. True love is sharing this “life” existence of bills, noise, distraction and responsibilities with another person who gets you. It will probably not resemble the fairytale, but there will be some absolutely magical moments. AND it may not last forever but if you can keep coming back to the foundational friendship, you may be able to find longevity. Enjoy each day as it comes and commune with the someone you love as honestly and compassionately as you can. Love is in the connection, not the drama.
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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