It’s been a while.
With the title and opening liner, many would assume that I’m talking about how long it’s been since I last felt romantic love. Nope, not today. Well, okay, I’ll just be talking about love a little… or a huge dollop. It’s just that it’s been a while since I last wrote anything.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the whole construct of society and relationships, and marriage too. If all of these were human-made in order to push forth socio-economic stability, curb hedonism and control disease, perhaps bringing up people who are self-aware of one’s baser impulses could be an alternative to what has come to be deemed as a passage of rite in many societies. One that many are compelled and pressured to fulfil, even if they are ill-suited for that legal contract and the intrinsic vows. Well, perhaps marriage will be their ticket towards self-actualisation.
If we were to take a more rational approach to relationships, in which we strip it off the more romantic aspects of it, would marriage become simply an option, or that last checkbox we leave unmarked in life? Do we require a contract in order to stay faithful to one person, or could we make a conscious effort to recognise and reject temptations to choose the lifestyle that some of us wish to pursue, that of monogamy?
The fact is, we can love many people at the same time, platonically and even romantically. But whether we are able to put that into action bears even more inquiry. If our very being is misshaped perfectly with its positives and insanities, can we truly stomach jealousy without lashing out hard? Can we shake off our biological impulses to secure a mate, be it temporal or forever? If we are physiologically and chemically wired to seek out stronger mates, would it be then forgivable to have affairs with societally termed alpha parters without commitment and be seen as acceptable to have and bring up healthy children with various spouses while unmarried?
Or do we simply still want to be special to just one person in the world? Why do we ache and want so hard to be someone’s “The One”?
I was brought up in a media-saturated society where there exists the government and societally prescribed textbook method to life: education, career, marriage, children, retirement, grandchildren, death. The grass is always greener in the other pasture, with many dreaming of finding and being with someone and living happily every after. Even if one were to veer off this pathway of perfect life of media-promoted and promised happiness and bliss, it would be foolish to assume that textbook methods would be exempt from its moments of sadness and negatives.
Being in a relationship isn’t going to solve one’s inherent problems, it isn’t going to make real life problems disappear either. All lives come with its cyclical moments of triumphs and tears, no matter one’s relationship or marital status. How would we then, choose to love life, love people, and all the lovers in your life? Mindlessly or mindfully? If we chose any paths, being single or attached, wasn’t it a choice we made? If we did, why would we blame and punish our partner for who we are with all our personal problems, and for what we have walked into of our own choosing?
It’s easier to love a person without any romantic overtures, than it is to fall in love and sustain that infatuation lifelong unless mutual partners can make conscious efforts to grow and always sustain the desire and mystery. What do we do when the initial headiness wears off? Do we think that we’re no longer in love and put a stop to what is an actual normal progression of forming relationships or we do continue to seek the new in the relationship and stay? We always have another choice: to leave, and go.
That brings us to the next question which some ask: is it stronger to hold on or to let go? I think a better way to phrase this question would be: is it healthier to hold on or to let go? If we choose to stay in an abusive and toxic relationship, are we being too hopeful or hopeless? If growth can still be had, if healing is possible and probable with open communication, can we then put ourselves into a humble and vulnerable position to be human and speak out without selfish intentions? Are we capable of all that?
Or are we too preoccupied with fulfilling that societal checklist, too self-conscious of our singular status to know that being lone is okay, and just a part of life? Just like being with another is also seen as everyday mundanity. Can we embrace the fact that being alone and feeling loneliness is a part of life, without it having its negative connotations and appreciate it simply for its existential status and shifting nature? Or does our nature just makes us want to dive into relationships one after the other thinking it’s going to make everything bad go away?
It’s too much to expect that someone other than us would be able to fix our problems and put up with our chronic insanities if we wouldn’t do the same for the other. Even if we’re the heroic self-sacrificing types, how much can we take on of another person, to be their everything, before we break… or even bolt? Can we be the sole answer to their oedipus complex, daddy issues, narcissism, depression, fetishes? Can we hold them close without choking them? Can we be familiar yet mysterious, dependable but independent, predictable and exciting to someone at the same time for a lifetime?
I used to think that I’d meet someone special, date and eventually marry and have children. That’s been a dream for a decade and I’ve only recently relinquished the need to attain it. Life back when I was in relationships was fraught with anxiety issues, I wasn’t in the right state to be a loving partner; but on the flip side, I was in the right state to learn life lessons through every breakup that shattered me to pieces. Oh what dramatic choice of words. I digress.
After two years of not being in a committed relationship but with seasonal dips back into dating, I’ve come to a constant state of being, with regards to loving and romance. I chose to love a larger number of people, to confide in many close to my dear heart, to love willingly, selflessly, committed yet casual at the same time. I’m giving my love to my family, friends and passing men of interest; knowing that every single one of them receives a different loving from me, just as they all love me in their own various myriad ways.
I’m still overcoming my fear of intimacy and rejection, and to fully trust in the intentions of the ones in my life, of their care and concern without fearing that they would abandon me. To term every leaving of a person as abandonment is the mark of an insecure soul who seeks to latch and hold on too dearly, to try too hard to receive without giving fully and selflessly.
Even if I wrote the above, even if I knew the logical, rational and philosophical ways relationship and marriages can be seen and comprehended, I have to admit that it’s hard to shake off that yearning. To find a special someone, or perhaps several people, to call home, to love in every way permissible, possibly.
I now ask you, is it better to just love one hard, or to be able to love many just as strong?