On Love, Loss and Taking Risks

Nothing is permanent, nothing is forever. I don’t think I have ever believed that it was, from my earliest, first musings on the nature of love and relationships. Was that imbued in me because my own mother was divorced three times, even if the last one has lasted over thirty years?  Or was it something that my first ill-fated romance, at the tender–and impressionable–age of 15 fostered? I don’t know where it came from, honestly…maybe I have a gene missing somewhere, the one that makes people believe in “forever,” that makes them truly believe in the whole romantic, til-death-do-us-part package.  Whatever the reason, I have just never had it.  I have always accepted that things change, things end, people change, circumstances and tastes and desires change. Relationships come to an end, love changes and love dies…and we move on.

Life goes on.

And I am okay with that.  It doesn’t stop me from loving. It doesn’t stop me from being willing to follow my heart, even if I know that in the end it might not last a lifetime; because after all what is a lifetime?  It could end tomorrow, literally, and to have denied myself the joy of loving another because it might end at some point?  That just doesn’t make sense.  To do anything less, anything else, is a half life.

I’ve been talking to an online friend that has had (yet another) short-lived romance and heart-wrenching breakup. Now I am not going to go into here about how I feel about his particular choices, or that he seems to fall in love with everyone he meets within about a day (myself included, lol)…we all have our lives to live, and he is living his the best way he knows how: by following his heart.  If my own preference would be to listen to my head a bit more, well, that’s just me, and I have been supremely blessed in that those that I have given my love to have (mostly) returned it, in full, to me. Good choices, or good luck?  Who knows…but it has worked for me thus far.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t ever suffered heartbreak. I have…but honestly?  It’s only ever happened once in my life. I am talking that gut-wrenching, full-on sobbing, “my life is over” kind of heartbreak, the kind that makes you cry when sad songs come on the radio, where every morning you wake up and the day ahead looks bleak and empty and you wonder how you will ever manage to get through it, and where in the end, after days and days of suffering, you decide maybe it would be better just to not wake up…it would be easier to just sleep and sleep, and so you swallow a bottle of pills and lay yourself down for a long nap…and wind up in a hospital, with tubes down your throat and needles in your arms and an angel next to you that makes you realize (gently, but firmly) how foolish you are and makes you want to wake up and be alive again, because there is so so much more to live for than one stupid boy.

That  kind of heartbreak only ever happened once, and I was so so young, and so foolish, and I know now that I love my life with or without boys (or girls) in it…though being loved does make it so much sweeter.  I have also learned to be okay with loving others, with experiencing love as an emotion, without expecting it to be returned in the same way that I experience it – there is, simply, joy in loving, in feeling my heart expand to take in this new person and their experiences, to let love flow from me to them.

This may sound odd, considering that I have been married twice and in long-term relationships for most of my life (from the time I was 16.) How can I not have had my heart broken more often?  It is that question that nibbles at the corners of my thoughts sometimes, especially when I have discussions like these.  The GF and I have talked about this subject many times as well.  Is love worth the risk?

But that’s just it…I don’t feel that sense of risk.  I risk nothing by loving another. My life will not be over if that love is not returned. I will not be destroyed if things are wonderful for 3 months or a year or 12 years and then changes or even ends…because they do, and they have. It ending or changing doesn’t negate all the joy and love and laughter that went on before.  And to have denied myself that out of fear of losing it…again, doesn’t make sense.

But that’s when I wonder: is it some deficiency in me that keeps me from loving fully enough, or deeply enough, so that when it ends I am not destroyed? Is that the epitome of “true love,” that when it ends you feel your life is over as well?

I love willingly, openly, with joy in the emotion and in the giving.  But perhaps I do not love deeply, passionately, all-consumingly. Perhaps I don’t “fall in love.” Loving is just another part of living to me, as essential and natural and unconscious as breathing, as my heart beating. I can no more stop myself from feeling it than I can stop my heart from beating. It is just part of who I am.

But perhaps it is not enough.  Perhaps by not loving as deeply or passionately as others may seem to, I am not experiencing all that there is to know & feel. I don’t know if this is even something that I can (or want to) change. But I do think about it, I do wonder about it.

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