Do you remember that epic moment in James Cameron’s 1997 romantic blockbuster Titanic; where a young Di Caprio’s body is ravaged by hypothermia in the ice-cold Atlantic, with both testicles shrunken and clad to his whinnie while he stares dead-eye into Kate Winslet’s tits probably thinking – I won’t see these again? When obviously there was space for two!

Stay with me Jack…

Spoiler alert: He died!!!!!

Better still, remember the famous El Romeo Montague who while depressed from chasing hard-to-get Rosaline meets a pretty damsel Juliet Capulet. Overwhelmed by the weirdest form of love-at-first-sight, decides in the name of love,two dead lovers make a better love story.

Seriously, a round of applause for James Cameron and William Shakespeare who probably by chance never imagined they will change the idea of love for the next millennia: one built on fantasy.

WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LOVE?

I probably might have not lived long enough on Earth to claim to have sage knowledge on this topic, but trust me I have seen the extremes: the good, the bad and the ugly.

In our world, love has been idealized to be the be-it-all to life. We are bombarded with love songs from crack-addicts who promise Heaven on Earth for a woman. Then we hear “Grenade” and all of a sudden we feel like Clark Kent saving the planet from a possible “Nuclear Hate Bomb”. We watch movies like Titanic and conceptualize our idea of love- a powerful emotion to cure all diseases.

THREE HARSH TRUTHS ABOUT LOVE

1. Love isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems, not even most.

In the context of relationships, many of us see love as a vaccine. So far as we are in love, we are immune to the ugly side of relationships: the hardships, fights, misunderstandings and terrible sex. Are we at fault? Well, our movies, songs, and stories all celebrate love as life’s ultimate goal- the final solution for all our pain and struggle.
In Mark Manson thought-provoking article “Love is not enough” he says,

When we believe that “all we need is love,” then we’re more likely to ignore fundamental values such as respect, humility, and commitment towards the people we care about.

mark manson

If there is one truth we must understand: healthy relationships (which must be the end goal) require more than emotions. Emotions are a roller coaster with unstable highs and lows.

A TRUE STORY ACT. 1

At one point in my life, my love life sucked terribly. I was a pathetic loser. Had no self-esteem, and incredibly shy. I could not score a damsel to save my life. Then as if by design, I finally fell in love. At first, I couldn’t believe my luck. She was the prettiest girl in the school! In the few days we spent together during the vacation, my sense of loneliness disappeared for a while, and as the nouveau butterflies-in-the-gut feeling subsided, I began to feel the remnants of the feeling of unworthiness. I questioned why she loved me and would bug her anytime she didn’t call. I was basically a pain in the ass. She managed to take this bullshit for 8 months and called it quits. I was back to square one. A lonely fucker with shitty self-esteem.

Somewhere in my thoughts, I thought falling in love would solve my self-esteem issues but it didn’t. It was my responsibility to work on the cracks in myself, not the duty of a lofty passionate emotion called love. Never forget, love won’t pay your debts neither will it fix your horrible attitude. Wake the hell up!

“The problem with idealizing love is that it causes us to develop unrealistic expectations about what love actually is and what it can do for us”.

mark manson

2. Love isn’t always worth sacrificing yourself for

Photo of torn love symbol.
Image Credit: Unsplash

I bet you have sung the catchy hook of Bruno Mar’s Grenade– “…but darling I can catch a grenade for you…throw my hand on a blade for you…Go through all this pain, take a bullet straight through my brain…” I call bullshit!!

One of the self-professed aspects of falling in love is being able to go out of your comfort (unselfishly) to cater for the needs of the other even sometimes to your detriment. When feeling blue, we rationalize it is totally worth it. But then ask yourself circumspectly: what exactly am I sacrificing and is it worth it in the end?

See, I am not saying it is a terrible idea to sacrifice time, money or energy for someone you love. No! It is one of the parts of relationships that make it a wonderful venture. But then if it comes at the cost of sacrificing your self-respect, dignity and life, then that same love is really questionable.

A TRUE STORY ACT 2

I recount missing an exam to be with my girlfriend back then when she told me she had caught a cold and a headache. Being all jumpy and trying to win “Boyfriend 0f The Year” award”, she talked me out of writing the exam to buy her cold medications. Good Lord! I know you probably are shell-shocked as to why I did this. But then, people have worse stories than mine.

A healthy relationship is supposed to complement our individual identity, not damage it.

I want you to ask yourself again: what am I sacrificing and is it worth the sacrifice?

Read: Why Letting Go Is Damn Hard

3. There are no Happily Ever After endings

Monochrome photo of two people in love.

Ever read a Disney book? The Cinderellas and Snow Whites? If yes, pretty sure you are familiar with the popular “they lived happily ever after”. In real life, there are no happily ever afters. Our siblings suck the hell out of us, our partners sometimes bore us to nuts. These are the realities of life. There are no perfect endings. It takes hard work to make things like love work. You don’t sit in front of a mirror applying makeup all day expecting your love life to blossom.

Love surely takes persistent work. There are bound to be problems which will only evolve into another and so on. Such is life. Quit the telenovela happy endings, it just doesn’t exist!

To end it, all, don’t be a martyr of love like Jack in Titanic. Give those props to Jesus Christ. He deserves this spot with no contention.

Have a realistic expectation of love. It is not enough.

Cheers DrC

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