Monday, January 6, 2014

What is true love?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Sometimes because of the people in my life, sometimes because I am seeing marriages crumble, sometimes because I question my own. I am talking about relationships in general and I mean a relationship / marriage between two people. Not friendships, not platonic love, but love between two people in a romantic sense, that goes beyond dating. Love or a relationship that is a serious, adult, mature one.

What makes it tick? For the longest time, I had this idealistic, romantic, fuelled by Hollywood romances as the notion of love. I believed I would be with that one man who would understand my silences, complete my sentences and be my knight in shining armour.

Over the years and it definitely has to do with my age and maturity, I found myself letting go of that notion of love. Of finding that perfect human being with perfect understanding and perfect love. Of a time when there will be no arguments, disagreements or disappointments. I know now that it is an unbelievably unrealistic expectation and a burden too heavy to carry. It also left me devoid of the energy to focus on what was happening in the moment and so concerned about what was not happening which needed to be righted. As a result, it looked like I was constantly nit picking.

For most of my adult life, I felt true love or that perfect soulmate would come and make my troubles disappear, that he would be the answer to all my questions, solve every problem (real and imagined) and make my life happy and beautiful. I would be the confident person who had no problem and was able to sail through life very successfully in whatever I chose to do.

For the longest time, this also made me a very unhappy person. Because these were expectations no one could meet. It was a recipe for disaster, for dissatisfaction and a web of disappointment.

Don't get me wrong. I love K, to bits, I cannot imagine my life without him. I could not have chosen a better man or a more worthy partner to marry. I believe also, due to my past, that I was very lucky to have made the choice. He was right there. My friend, the one I turned to when the going got tough, the man who seemingly had all the answers, and who loved me desperately. My love for K was gradual, it sprouted from extreme respect. I discovered I loved the way he made me feel, the stories he told, the belief he held true to his heart. I realised he was someone I most definitely could live with, grow old with and have a life with. I realised that more than anything else in the world, here was a man I wanted to experience life with.

We love each other to the point of exclusion of everything else. We have amazing conversations, he makes me laugh, we have built a whole lifetime of amazing experiences that only we could have shared. I turn to him when I need support, when I cannot make sense of things, when I am afraid. I turn to him when I have something to celebrate, to rejoice, to feel happy about. I believe firmly, we have a destiny together and a chemistry we could not have had with anyone else.

But more than anything, I appreciate him fully because I no longer expect him to be my Mr.Fixit. I don't expect him to spring miracles and make my problems go away. I know that he cannot find my meaning in life. I know that I want him to be the one to walk with me as I navigate life and find the answers to my questions, to be my companion on this journey which is sometimes tough.

This freedom to not want him to solve my problems, has made me love him even more. Because it gives me the space in my head and heart to truly appreciate him for who he is and not what he does to me. This makes me love him for love's sake. This makes me see him for what he is and believes in and wants to achieve.

Only I can fulfil my desires, exorcize my ghosts and achieve my goals. I cannot expect any other person, even the one I love, to do this for me. I needed to have that sense of self, of knowing who I am and what I want. Previously, I wanted my partner to fill me with the meaning and purpose of life, to make me feel accomplished and to make me realise my potential.

I found myself and I made friends with myself. That is the day I freed myself to love with a full heart, with a heart that wanted only the love and companionship and passion of a partner but not a problem solver.

The celluloid dream of passion and romance is created and scripted, it is unreal and doesn't last forever. It is made for movie credits. Real love and romance and passion needs to be nurtured with trust and care. Real love is annoying and burdensome at times because of the fragility of the humans who are involved. Real love is a daily choice and it goes beyond the celluloid make believe.

Real love is on days when I feel like screaming in my head, but all I want is a comforting hug and an unruffled voice which tells me everything will be ok. Real love is when I tell K I need some alone time and lock myself in the loo with the ipad. Real love is when I tell him I had a shitty day and I don't want to talk. Real love is when I tell him I am afraid of what the next day holds.

When I look around, and I see relationships crumbling, I thank my stars for making me see through the make believe I clung to when I was younger. I am grateful that I have a man who would rather tell me the truth even though a lie would be easier to deal with. I am thankful that I do not want to be a damsel in distress. I am thankful that I want to walk in my own path, albeit holding his hand as he walks down his.

While this may not sound very romantic to you who are reading it. I think this has freed me to experience real love... and it has been the truest revelation of my life.


Sri Nagalakshmi Karumuri said...

Lovely post..and very well is when your partner gives u is about respect and not roses !!

Dee said...

So well said!

People think the husband and I are this fairy tale romance because we have been together since ages! But it's not true.. We are so in love so much because we know when to suffocate each other and when to give space.. There is no secrets and we have learnt to respect each other's privacy.

It's moved from that teenage romance to companionship and I wouldn't change anything :)