Sometimes love is misguided and you try to turn it into something that it wasn’t meant to become. It’s been painful, but to see the points where I naively thought one type of love and another equitable has been informative. It’s agonizing and difficult to look at as you don’t wish to see it for what it really is, but in the end it is far better to recognize this than to continue on blindly only to wake up many years later wondering what on earth you’d been doing this whole time.
It’s easy to become so accustomed to your situation that you don’t pause to step back and see it as it really is. You don’t necessarily even realize how you as a person have changed, though you are acutely aware of changes in your partner’s behavior (although perhaps not their internal realm, if the communication is broken). All it takes is the introduction of some new catalyst acting as a wake-up call. Suddenly the focus on everything sharpens dramatically from a dreamlike haze to wrenching clarity and the reality of the situation hits you like a ton of bricks.
It’s not that one type of love is necessarily lesser than another. It’s not that the sentiment is invalidated, or that there is no potential for the feelings to blossom. But sometimes they don’t take root and instead you find that the soil – though able to keep the tree alive – does not have the nutrients or consistency that the tree needs to flourish. Other times it may cause the tree to harden and become inflexible, easier to snap or catch on fire. Love can not only be suboptimal but also hurtful if between people harboring fundamentally different hearts. Sometimes those hearts function reasonably well to a certain degree but require a specific level of separation in order to properly connect the synapses and if forced closer, both will become damaged.
All of our experiences help us to grow and develop. It’s our duty to take what is best to learn from any situation and move forward wiser and stronger than before: to build on the past rather than to allow it to chain us down or cloud our future. Some of the most hurtful and difficult times we endure force the best parts of us to sift to the surface. Other times we find the worst of ourselves coming out in response to grief. In either case however, there is an opportunity to better understand ourselves and to become constructive rather than destructive. The key is to take that step. It may be hard and it may not come immediately, but even if a long time passes and we return in retrospect it is imperative to do so in order to make the next phase of life better not just for ourselves, but for those around us.
Live to learn, learn to love, and love to live.