Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Love Is Not Enough

I told her that when she woke up tomorrow, it would hurt a little less. And that when she woke up the day after that, even would hurt even less. But the truth is, and we both know it, that her pain will be reduced by such a tiny amount tomorrow that she will barely notice the difference. Same for the day after that, and the day after that. That's what we call a broken heart. But what else can I say to her over the phone to console her for the loss of her 5-year relationship? Absolutely nothing. It's times like these that make me feel like a failure as a friend.

I ache for her. She is so great, and so fun, and so alive, and I think that if someone like her can be so unappreciated by the man who has claimed to love her for the past two years, who actually got down on one knee and proposed marriage not that long ago, then how can the rest of us ever feel safe? We all used to double date all the time, and the thing about her stupid good for nothing boyfriend is that he's really a nice guy. Isn't that infuriating? He tells funny stories, he likes her mom, he makes sure she brings mittens. They're a sweet couple. At least, they are out in public. At home, it's a different story, and it has been for a while. We could sit in a pub all night, the 4 of us laughing until our sides hurt, and then the next day she and I would go to lunch, and her eyes would be swollen from crying all night. But they always stayed together because they love each other. Even from the outside looking in, it's always been easy to see that. But I also saw how much she would be hurt at the thought that sometimes, love is not enough. And you know, it's not. It's not enough to just love someone. Relationships are a lot more than that.

So I asked her, 'Does he love you the way you want to be loved?' and I think that pretty much sums up their trouble. He loves her, and Jason talked to him the other day long enough to know that he is suffering every bit as much as she is during their separation. But he doesn't show her that he loves her. He doesn't love her in a way that she can feel loved. Some people want to hear the words, others want grand gestures or quiet time or cuddles. And if to you, love means back rubs and deep kisses, and you're not getting that, then you don't feel loved. And for all practical purpuses, feeling love is being loved. If you can't feel it, then it might as well not be. And that's the problem: he thinks it's enough to bring her flowers and leave her little notes in their apartment. And I know for a fact that while she appreciates these gestures, it's not enough. They will go a whole week without really having any time to themselves, no time to talk and relax and connect emotionally. She tells him this regularly, they have a fight about it, and then the next day he thinks to himself 'Oh, she's upset, I should bring her flowers.' And they get caught in the cycle.

I want them to be together, she wants them to be together, he wants them to be together. But will they ever be able to bridge the gap and both be getting what they need out of this relationship? I don't know. But I just can't help but think that if he loves her enough, then he'd be willing to do anything to save them. I know that's how she sees things too. She's not asking him to do anything that he can't, but she is asking him to change the way he thinks about love, and love is pretty much the first concept that gets cemented in our hearts and in our heads. So it is a big job to remodel that concept in this stage in the game, but it's not impossible. And I just want to call him up and tell him that in all his years, he will never find anyone as perfect and wonderful as she is. I think he suspects this himself, but I'm afraid that he's willing to settle for someone a little less wonderful if only things will be easier than they are now. That terrifies me, because I know that love is not always easy. People have to be willing to work at it, and sometimes, work hard. And I think that she is worth it, and he used to too. Where did that go?

I am pretty confident that this is not it for them; that they will have another go at things. But I am a little less confident that this is a good idea. If this task is insurmountable, then I guess it's best to cut their losses right now and start the difficult job of healing and moving on. That's a hard choice to make: hurt right now, or risk hurting again, and even worse, in the future.

And all I can do is hold her hand and tell her that there is definitely someone out there that will love her and cherish her as much as she deserves. It's not what she wants to hear, she wants me to tell her that the man she planned to marry will in fact be the man she marries and loves for the rest of her life. But I don't know that for sure, I guess no one does. I will be there for her as she makes this decision, but I know I can't be of much use because when it comes to love, we're rarely rational. Loves makes is blind, delusional, optimistic, pessimistic, light-headed, heavy-hearted, hopeful, dreamy, but rarely rational. And we keep putting ourselves through hell and back, we keep trying, we keep making the same mistakes, and for what? Well, if you've ever been in love, then you know. Love is lovely, when it works. Horrid when it doesn't, but just lovely when it does.

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