A friend posed recently posed a statement, when I was relating a story about a past relationship.
“So basically” he said, “you didn’t love him anymore.”
I winced at the thought. I’ve never truly understood the concept.
Is this something people just say? Or is there really an on-off switch inside yourself? Do people know themselves that well that they can look closely and see the absence of a light which once was?
In all my relationships, I never felt like I stopped loving the person – even when I ended it.
Sometimes I feel I still love them now – sometimes many years on.
Does this make me different to most?
Perhaps some might say that I have never really loved.
Or is it that others want reassurance that they are ending something for a reason? And what better or more acceptable reason than the “absence of love”?
And as to the concept of only loving one person at a time – this I have trouble with as well.
Is love really that limited that it can only be focussed a single person? Why is there is such great shame and anguish associated with being in love with more than one person?
I have felt this jealousy – of not wanting to share what I feel should be mine.
But should it only be mine?
I’ve been thinking about the concept of love and my definition of it – perhaps it is my age – but probably more so because people in my travels keep asking when I will marry.
In Nepal many people are in arranged marriages. Sometimes it is arranged without choice, sometimes the men or women can refuse the arrangement, sometimes it is “arranged love” – where the arranged couple spend some time together to see if something will grow before they marry.
The Nepalese are curious to know what I think about this – and whether I would ever consider an arranged marriage.
They are surprised to learn that my family has many arranged marriages – including my grandparents. They are surprised to learn that I see many of the benefits of it. And that I have no problem with it, so long as both parties have the option of saying no and are able to get a divorce.
I relate what a very good friend told me in Ghana: “What does it matter what you know of the person? If you are willing to work through the problems, then this is all that matters. You choose who you want to work through life with, and they choose the same for you, and then is it done. What does it matter what you know of their character?”
But then, I also relate a story I read recently in the brilliant Colin Wright’s e-newsletter – where if I read it correctly, he dated a married woman while he was in Iceland, at her husband’s insistence.
Because this worked for them.
And if it works, then why not?
Love is such a muddled concept, surrounded with hopes, dreams, expectations, pressure.
And in such a muddle – who I am to say that your manner of loving is wrong, and mine is right?
And just while we’re on it, what exactly is my manner anyway?