By Dr. Harvey Carr
Love can sometimes be ugly, challenging, frustrating, painful – even in the happiest and strongest of relationships. Love takes a lot of work. It takes effort. Love is not always light and pretty. It takes the ability to admit when you’re wrong instead of lying to yourself and others only thinking you are always right. Love takes dedication to self and your loved one(s), and it takes loyalty.
But there is a big difference between fighting for something that you know is too good to abandon and clinging to something that has already died.
Often, deep down, we already know when it’s not love anymore. What is merely familiarity, routine, and/or insurance is not love. It’s something to which we’ve become accustomed and with which we feel comfortable even when we know it only hurts us and the other person. We make it a security blanket. We want the guarantee that we are not alone. Sometimes the death of love is easier to sense if we’re with someone who directly makes us incredibly miserable. And sometimes it’s harder to admit to ourselves, because we’re with someone whom we care about deeply, even when we’re no longer in love with them. No matter the specific circumstances, we try to convince ourselves that the love is still there, because we’re not ready for the alternative.
We grasp to hold onto it no matter how much our gut resists, because we had rather cling to something that is dead than willingly step into a world where we are hurt and alone.
It’s not a fault really, not a flaw. It is just human nature. It is in our bones to want to be with other people, to feel instantly comforted from the touch or the assurance of another human being. We dread possibly feeling actual, physical pain when we stretch out in bed and are once again reminded that there is no longer a warm body in the place next to us.
The thing we must remember that there is a difference between forcing love and fighting for it. Forcing love – forcing yourself to feel something – is not love at all. It’s a manufactured emotion your body has created as a coping mechanism, a survival instinct. Forcing love means it’s already dead. When you spend all your time forcing yourself to love someone, you miss the opportunity to fight for the person who really sets your soul on fire. The choice isn’t easy, but at least it is your choice. Remember it is your life.