Tuesday 13 May 2008

True Faith- Unrequited Love

I think I have woken up to an extraordinary possibility.
Yet one I also find strangely comforting.

I'm reasonably certain I've never been in love in my life.

The logic of that statement is certain.

I always thought I loved Joanna, and in a way I did. She was the statue on the pedestal everyone had to live up to.
But she couldn't have been The One.

Because lurking deep within that nineteen year old mind of mine, was the ghost of a condition.
That she loved back.
And the deep hurt and pain having that apparently taken away caused.

Six months of joy.
Then she just comes back from her sisters graduation.
She walks calmly into your room. You get up to kiss her.
And she puts her hands out and says 'No. Listen, I've got something to say.'

Something is wrong. You sit back down.
She says 'I don't think we should be together any more. I'd like us to end it.'

You: Why? I don't understand.
Her: Just. Don't ask. It's nothing you've done.
You: Is that it? Six months? And that's it? Just like that?
Her: Don't be like this. I want us to still be friends though.

And you see, that's where I showed I didn't get it. Unconditional Love. I gave the answer of a conditional lover 'How we can we just be friends? I love you.'

I drank two bottles of Jamesons that night. I had to be restrained by my friends from stripping off and running in to the sea at Aberystwyth harbour.

I loved her and I have never loved another woman since. Not like that.

I tried to play the game the other way. Let them love you, but never give yourself totally to them. Keep something back.
And when they've clawed and clawed to fight their way in, I've fought them off like a rabbit being savaged like a ferret.

And over and over again, that pained remonstrance; 'Why can't you love me like I love you?'

I set my conditions, and demanded unconditional love.

But who gets the raw end of the deal?
The unrequited or the unrequiter?

The unrequiter, I think.

To have someone love you, when you cannot give them what they want, is a burden. A true burden.

Of course, there is a deeper point. In a sense, looking back on the people who DID love me- in that way- it was never enough. Because it was conditional, conditional of me actually being able to reciprocate, and in the sense that was demanded, that was never going to happen. Because it had always been entered into as a bargain, without trust.
Two sides offering conditional love, in differing ways, and expecting unconditional.

And wondering where it all went wrong.
The story of my life.

The other mistake I've always made- probably because I've never really been in love, is assuming that you can't really know if you're in love. It's an emotion, therefore it's unreliable. It could change in an hour. Because that's always been true. I've loved them in the starry eyed moments when they've said 'Yes, you're right about that', but when they've started to nag, those feelings disappear with the wind.

Because I've always responded. I've only 'fallen' for those already showing interest. My pursuits have been half hearted to say the last.

So I never bothered to stop to ask 'Do you love this person?' only 'Are they falling in love with you?'

And the only way you can ACTUALLY know whether you're in love with someone is whether you love them, regardless of whether they love you.

I think if you genuinely DID fall in love, you'd know straight away.

And now I come to the interesting conclusion. The one that to me raises so much possibility of hope.

I think, if I were to meet 'The One' I WOULD, for the first time in my life KNOW they were 'The One'.
I would know that here was the only woman I could ever want, and having met her just once, I'd never look at another woman again. I'd know, that having met her just once, that sleeping with any other woman, would feel wrong, that all any other woman could do in a moment of tenderness, would be remind you that they weren't her.


At the same time, would be a realisation that she was not for you. A realisation, that yes, she was the only woman who could truly make you happy, but that you could never make her happy, and to try, to take the woman that you loved and try force her to dance your tune, to expect her to give her life to you, would be to waste the most beautiful life you had come across.

In that instant of falling in Love, you would already be letting her go.

Because you would want her to have the life she deserves.
And you can't give her that.

But because it would be unconditional, no pain would attach itself to just being friends. You'd quite happily see her in the arms of another man, as long as he truly made her happy. If he made her unhappy, then no, but if he gave her the happiness you couldn't, that WOULD make you happy, in a way YOU having her, never could.

You'd die for her, but you'd never let her waste herself on you.

And you'd be freed. Freed from searching.

Free from wasting your time on the fruitless search for what can never really be.

And then maybe, you could finally get on with leading a constructive life.

Maybe living your life in unrequited but unconditional Love, really is the truest strength you can have. Of course it is- isn't that what True Faith is?

Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

In that instant of falling in Love, you would already be letting her go.
Because you would want her to have the life she deserves.
And you can't give her that.

Why? Aren't you short changing your self by saying that? Who is to say you couldn't, if you never try?

I think Joanna hurt you so much, you've shut yourself out so you never have to feel that pain again. Not so unusual to do.

I have only had three women in my life up till now. My wife, who had abuse issues that kept her from ever really loving me I think, a second relationship where I loved her, but she couldn't reciprocate (and yes, that was, and is, hard to get over), and now with a woman who fell in love with me while I wasn't there, told me she loves me, and I can't reciprocate. I don't know if I'd call it a burden, for some I suppose it's the right term. From me I find it a sadness. Love is something special, not to be taken lightly. You did fall in love once, but now you quantify it so you can justify your feelings Crushed. If you constantly go into a relationship wondering ok, how long until ____ happens you'll never find it my friend. Stop sabotaging yourself, and you might be surprised what happens...

Just my two cents worth ;)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better Fusion. One day Crushed you will wake up and you will know, just go with it :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nunyaa, you will know if you are in love. Just enjoy it for what it is :-)

Anonymous said...

See it's what we all say. You will know when it happens, trust us.

Joanna was your first love. We all remember our first love even I do more than 50 years later No one is ever quite like that one.

Stop over analysing the whole scenario. Just get on with your life and when she turns up your whole will change.

You always want to be the martyr. Those Jesuits did a number on you.

Anonymous said...

I've never been truly, madly, deeply inlove before. Even when I married 'nevin' I knew my whole heart and soul was never with him, and could never be with him, because he'd shown himself to be a bit of a maniac from time to time and I didn't respect him. I still married him though, because I loved him ENOUGH to want to raise children and be a good wife to him. Didn't last. Of course it was never going to last, and that's been a tremendous lesson in growing up for me. (at the sacrifice of the poor kids)

Anyway. I also believe if I found the one I would just know it and it shouldn't be that hard to give my whole heart, without any of the darker little secrets I keep. But people keep telling me it doesn't work that way.

I'd rather be by myself then give myself a bunch of times half-heartedly or just out of desperation for attention.

Anonymous said...

> would know that here was the only woman I could ever want, and having met her just once, I'd never look at another woman again. I'd know, that having met her just once, that sleeping with any other woman, would feel wrong, that all any other woman could do in a moment of tenderness, would be remind you that they weren't her.

Yup, that's the right concept.

Doesn't she get a fair chance to choose, though, whether she'd want to be with you? And wouldn't you be denying her the chance of love that everyone else gets, if you reject her?

> And the only way you can ACTUALLY know whether you're in love with someone is whether you love them, regardless of whether they love you.
The difference here is 'love' vs 'in love'. i'm not sure how long 'in love' (the emotion) lasts, but loving the person and marrying them; that has to be for life. And with unconditional love... it works for awhile, but not forever. Remember Gone With The Wind? We can only take so much ....love CAN die :-)

Anonymous said...

Nothing is set in concrete even love. I often get asked why am I single, the answer is simple. I can not give my heart to someone when it lies elsewhere and has been that way for last 2 n half years. Will not get into a relationship knowing it would be a lie and unfair. I wont lie to myself or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I am so with you on this, Crushed, it's scary!

...and here I was, certain the Highlander theme "There can only be ONE!" was adaptable for the real life as well... :)

But in my jadded mind I seriously think love is overrated. Now how's that for a punchline? ;)

Anonymous said...

It's just a feeling. Can't explain it but you'll know it.

Anonymous said...

Fusion- Life is about choices though. I think sometimes you have to realise not all your dreams are mutually compatible.

And the ultimate proof of love has, surely, to be loving someone enough to know they aren't meant for you, without trying to force the issue.

I think essentially, I've always a 'cause' person, and this ultimately affects a lot of my thinking.

Nunyaa- Or I will wake up and know what the right thing to do is. which is not quite the same thing :)

CherryPie- If it's true, youjust enjoy loving them. you ask for nothing back, I don't think. And you'd rather have the suffering of not being loved back by the one you loved, than receive the love, of someone you didn't.

jmb- I think I tend to see everything in terms of endurance. what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. I guess I see this as kind of the ultimate test; If you cannot love unconditionally and unrequitedly, forgoing all others, you can't reach true enlightenmen, which ultimately entails freeing yourself from bondage to pleasure and pain.

I don't know. I think I could conceivably love someone more than Joanna. Which of course, would be the point.

Yes, it would change everything, I think. The last hurdle, perhaps.

Oh, I don't think I'll ever lose those particular yearnings. Most of my heroes are martyrs, don't forget. A huge part of me really thinks that dieing in your bed is a waste of life. I think that's hard for a lot of people to grasp, just how ingrained within me that ideal is.
'The people's flag is deepest red,
it shrouded oft our martyred dead, and ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
their heart's blood died it's ev'ry fold.

So raise the scarlet standard high,
beneath it's shade we'll live or die,
though cowards flinch flinch and traitor's sneer,
we''ll keep the red flag flying here'

Most people just sing it.
I sing it and MEAN it.

Kate- Yeah, I've bdeen engaged and it was close. She got an abortion though and that screwed me up.
But it taught me a major lesson; never settle. Never settle for someone thinking it's will work, as long as you just try.

Thing is though, we all need attention. And AFFECTION. We DO need intimacy.
And me, very much so. I need pretty much constant contact, i can't cope with being alone for too long- I'm alone know, but I'm not really am I, because I'm kind of in a conversation. Then I'll pop to the pub for a quick pint and chat Ruth behind the bar up, while I plan what to post on.

I've ben a bit of a ho in my time, but to be honest, I don't find it rewarding these days, and I even wonder how much of it was done, simply for the sake of Ego anyway.

I think if you really DO love someone you DO want to tell them everything. I think.

Eve- Yes, but you see she'd know I wasn't the one for her and would never for an instant think I was. Trust me, I have faith in this. Remember I wouldn't be HER chance of love, not at all. Someone else would be that. I wouldn't BE rejecting her.

There is a certain perfection to this, you have to admit.

Unconditional love doesn't last for ever?
On both Christian AND Humanitarian terms, surely we believe it does? Platonically, at any road.
Not lust, of course not, but love that doesn't have a platonic basis isn't love.

But as a Theist I believe that Love=the unifying force of the universe, the forward propulsion that binds, that unites, that creates atoms, that drives forward, as opposed to hate, the wastage principle, the decay principle.

Anonymous said...

Nunyaa-Exactly. It's about truth. Facing up to the fact that your heart will always belong to someone who's heart you don't own.

And not wanting to own it either.

Heart- In a sense, yes. I think there are other rewards out there for those who walk away from it.
I don't the world is changed by people who cannot sacrifice themselves.

And yes, it can be over-rated.
I think if you've got enough friends and a full life, you don't miss much.

For me, that's a major sticking point. Work, Blog, Mates. The schedule is full enough as it is :)

E-K- I agree, E-K, I agree. And if you'd said that to me even a year ago, I'd have dispued it. I would have said that it was a hormone influx largely indistinguishable froman Ecstasy high, and just as logically valid.
I've changed my mind about that.

Anonymous said...

dunno cbi, there still a part of me that believes in love, no matter how cold, cynical or mad the world might seems.

Love might be an illusion or dellusion, be some risks are worth taking, some mistakes are worth making...

Anonymous said...

Love is an idea. It's a label to be applied as individuals choose. I used to think of love as a Bordeaux blend of connections. If enough connections were strong, then you apply the love label, even if some other connections were entirely missing.

I'm starting to experience something new. It comes briefly and goes. It's a state of intense pity and kindness toward every living creature. It's too overwhelming to hang on to for long. I assume the label shall next be applied to this. A love that is without a target individual.

Anonymous said...

> Unconditional love doesn't last for ever?
On both Christian AND Humanitarian terms, surely we believe it does?

God's love does. But we're mortals; our love doesn't last forever. It takes work, on both sides :-) Even platonically; one can get tired of always being the one caring... it's difficult, to say the least :-)

Anonymous said...

Crashie- It's complex, there are so many levels to it.

But Love can only really be Love, when it is a constructive force, not a destructive one.

FWG- To some extent. I think, sadly, it means too many different things and hence the conclusion. I think, at a certain level, every time someone says 'I Love You', they DO mean it. It means they have an intense feeling of well being to that particular person at that particular time. And I often feel that about a lot of people.

But Love in this sense, means a desire to worship, adore, protect, cherish- and yet potentially get nothing bask.

Eve- Fallacy. And dare it say it, the fallacy created by the shadow of the marital institution. Years of loveless coupling forced upon us has created this idea of love as a bargain.

OK, this is what I think. Most often, we love people for what they do for us. We love our mates this way (at lest to begin with), and probably, most of our partners.

But True Love is loving someone simply for BEING. No conditions attached.

Anonymous said...

> But True Love is loving someone simply for BEING. No conditions attached.
Yes, I see.
That IS the ideal... :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure romantic love is ever unconditional. That's why we fission. We think it's permanent or we think we're two halves of one being, or whatever, but in reality, unlike our relationships with (say) our parents or our children, we still expect them to be something, we still don't like it when they change, we still see *other* people walking around, sometimes we talk to them and sometimes something else happens.

Forgive my cynicism, CBI. I'm not really cynical about love. I just don't think the kind of love you're talking about ever really comes without conditions.