Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Jul 20, 2010

All You Need Is Love?

Not too long ago, I asked the following question to all my friends on Formspring:  

"Assuming there was a omnipresent god who knows everything about you, past, present, future: what would you do if god told you that from now on you won't ever experience love or romantic affection of any kind, including sex?".


Not everyone responded and a couple of people gave me some smarty pants answers, avoiding the question. The rest gave me the answer I was expecting, which was that they would rather die or that they would kill themselves. Even when I expected that from most people it's still interesting to me.

Here's the story behind my question:

Many years ago I fell deeply in love with a friend of mine. We had a very short romance, just a few days, but I was crazy about this girl. Everything about her was perfect, her soft kisses, her scent, her mind, her hands, her feet, her brown eyes, her hair, everything. I was convinced that I had accidentally found "the one". I say accidentally because I had been friends with her for a while, and even when the attraction had always been there, I never expected her to be so perfect for me. In the end things didn't work out. It wasn't meant to be for many reasons, mainly because we lived in different countries. Although, I suspect things wouldn't have worked out even if we had lived in the same city.

She was the realistic one and the one who decided we shouldn't attempt something as difficult as a long distance relationship. I'm sure there were other reasons that influenced her decision, but that was the official reason she gave me. Me, being the hopeless romantic dumbass that I used to be, felt destroyed and totally heartbroken. I couldn't stand the fact that I knew she was the one, yet I couldn't be with her. So I spent countless nights not being able to sleep, and countless days depressed thinking about her. We kept in touch, but it hurt. A lot. I told myself that I should wait for her, that I had to be prepared for her to get into other relationships (which soon happened), and that when that happened, I should stay strong and never lose hope, hope that in the end she was going to be mine. You know, the usual bullshit you think when you're young and naive.

One night, while re-playing in my head the same old fairy tales about her, over and over, not being able to sleep, I thought about the possibility of us never ending together. It scared me. The idea terrorized me. I thought, "what if time passes by and I become old and she's with someone else, in love, with a family, and happy?" Thinking about this didn't make me feel good at all, but I couldn't stop thinking about it, about everything that had to do with it, about how my life would suck big time if things turn out that way. The thought became somewhat obsessive. The only way I managed to stop thinking about it was to accept it, to accept that this was a very real possibility, and to be ready to accept that situation if it ever became... real. Gulp!

But then I thought that since that horrible nightmare was very possible, perhaps even more possible than my ideal situation, maybe I should not think about it at all. I should just concentrate on the other things in my life that made me happy, and not just on this one thing that could make me was making me miserable. This one thing... Yeah, how can I let one thing make my entire life blow? Sure, it sucked, but it was only one aspect of life and there were many other things that I enjoyed that made my life worthwhile. Little things, like Nutella, and music, and books, and creating art, and friends... wait, those are not little things, those are great things!

Then I thought about the question that started this blog. What would I do if I knew I was never ever going to be loved or touched again from that point on until the moment I died? Was I going to let it make my whole life unbearable? Was I going to let this one thing not enjoy all the other things in life that I loved? And how much did I depend on love to be happy? I was, and still am, alone for the most part. Was I going to become one of those annoying whinny people who are always complaining because they were not in a relationship? What percentage of my overall happiness depends on love? 50%? 30%? 20%? Hmmm...

One of the things I've learned is that many people get into relationships because they do not want to be alone, even if these relationships don't make them happy. I knew that I didn't want to become one of those people, and if I was going to be in a relationship, I wasn't going to be with just anyone that gave me affection, but with someone I actually liked, and loved, and with whom I had lots of things in common. I'm not going to force myself to like someone just because I don't want to be alone. Hell no!

Thinking about all this made me feel a huge relieve. I was a bit sad, but that's the moment I knew that I didn't need love, that no one does. We all want love, but love is not the only thing that our happiness depends on. In fact, love alone can't make us happy, truly happy. It may do that temporarily, but it won't give us real permanent happiness on its own. Love is just one of the pieces of the puzzle, and there are many pieces, especially if you want to lead a rich and interesting life. Furthermore, I concluded that I shouldn't let love, or the lack of it, become such a huge risk, because not being able to find or enjoy all the other "pieces" that made my life worth living is a really big fucking risk. I knew that if I did that, one day I would look back regret it immensely.

The time went by and the feelings I had for my friend started to fade away. I'm still friends with her and I love her very much, as a friend, but I don't have the same romantic feelings I once had towards her. Of course, there's no such thing as "the one". Love is great, and awesome, and wonderful, and I'd love to throw myself in someone's arms right now. I do want love, we all do, but love is not all. Love is not even close to being it all.

I can now say, with plenty conviction, that The Beatles were wrong.


Karina said...

Hi Cesar,
I totally agree with you, love alone doesn't make us happy, it really is only one of the several pieces that can make our lives richer.
I know so many people who are into a relationship only because they do need to be with someone (anyone), the thought of being alone makes them sick. But I notice that most of them are unhappy, cause that relationships are not adding anything and they feel like birds in a cage... What a big waste of time and energy!
My opinion is that our happiness is made from all these "pieces" that you've mentioned, it is a state of mind and a daily decision. A relationship should contribute to your happiness, but no one should expect their partners to be their salvation and main source of happiness.
Regarding your friend, she'll always have a special place in your heart, there is no doubt of it.
Hasta luego!! :)

Anonymous said...

We all need love but romantic love is far from the only kind of love. I would never want to live without any kind of love. A lifetime without sex would make me most unhappy sometimes I'm sure, but I would keep stocked up on batteries and survive. If I were to never find a good romantic relationship I would be happy because I am content being alone. Mostly because I realized what love wasn't and having the freedom to be myself and love myself is more important than being stuck in a relationship because I once thought I had to be. BUT I hope that's not my fate because I hear love is grand and I'd like to enjoy it some day.

CE54R said...

In English you call love to many things. People even say 'I love you' when getting off the phone sometimes, so it's even become part of good manners. I'm speaking exclusively of romantic love, and every time it is mentioned in the blog, I'm only talking about it.

Thanks for your comment. From what I gather, you may be OK without love and affection, perhaps borderline depressed. You wouldn't stop enjoying the other things in life that make you happy, but you wouldn't stop thinking about it either. That's what I read from what you wrote. It's my lame attempt to psychoanalyze you.

Anonymous said...

That's not depression; that's hope. "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all."

Yes, if we're only talking romantic love, then, I could live without it. There's so much to life that I wouldn't want to give up all other happiness because I didn't have one facet of happiness. I'd like to think everyone has a soulmate but I'm not sure I'm there, yet. We shall see.

I see so many people desperate to find love but I think love finds you when you're not looking. Kind of like the watched pot never boils thought. Of course, I want hearts and flowers and hand holding and kisses, kisses are my favorite!! and all the other beautiful things about love but I'm happy alone until the right love comes along...or it doesn't.

I say I love you to people on the phone but only to people that I truly love. I say it to my boys many times during the day. I write notes in their lunches and I say it there, too. If I die tomorrow, I want the people I love to know how special they were to me. Words are powerful things.

CE54R said...

I don't like hope. I think hope kills the soul, but we'll have to have another conversation to talk about that.

That's a good attitude and you're right about people.

You don't need to excuse your use for the words 'I love you', it's just an observation. In Spanish you don't tell your friends or family you love them. There's another word for that, and you don't use it all the time. The word love is used even less, most people use it only on very special occasions. From my perspective, it appears that the word love in Spanish means much more than in English. The word love seems diluted here, sometimes ambiguous or even deceiving ("I love you but I'm not in love with you"). You can say you love your dog, your meal, your pants, and every meaningless thing in the world. Sometimes people say it because they are expected to say it, or out of politeness. Like if you're in a relationship where the fire has been lost for a while, you'll continue to say "I love you" before hanging up the phone. When I say or hear the words "I love you" in Spanish, my heart burns, it's intense. In English, you say it all the time to many different people with whom you have very different kinds of relationships. Although, I understand what you say about wanting people to know they were loved, for some reason, I feel like the way the word love it's used devalues its meaning and makes it less special.

It's just a language issue, or maybe I'm completely wrong, or only partially right. The fact is that things are expressed differently in different cultures and languages, it's not a big deal, just confusing at first. Because Spanish is my first language, I like to give the word love the meaning that it had when I was back in my country.

Anonymous said...

Yep, that's what I want for romantic love. Intensity, fire in my heart, in my body. Not being able to say his name without a smile on my lips, I could go on but you get the picture. The kicker is that I want that same love back. I am hopeful but I have had two experiences that have taken a huge toll on my heart. I am not bitter. I am scared of feeling that love but not because my heart could be broken. A broken heart is an intrinsic risk of love because to love makes you so vulnerable. I fear all the other stuff that has happened. So I am so scared of love, but I will face the fear and try again and again if love knocks on my door because love, that one love that has it all, is worth it.

You may be the devil's advocate but the devil you are not. He is neither patient nor kind but maybe you're not either. Who knows? Not I.

Anonymous said...

Actually that's not entirely true. Maybe we'll chat about it later...or not.

CE54R said...

If you don't let love blind you and control your life, your reason, then you'll be fine even if you fail a few more times.

You're mistaken, the devil is the most patient creature, and it could also be very very kind, or at least appear to be ]:)