I’ve always been against the idea of saying I have ‘fallen’ in love. Using a negative word such as ‘falling’ to describe the feeling of something that is supposed to be positive, well, seems to give out a wrong meaning altogether. After all, most dictionaries would define the notion of falling as “moving downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level” or “losing balance and collapsing”. As we can see clearly, the usage of fall here denounces the feeling, making it seem more of a downfall, a mishap, a lowering of standing in life.
I would prefer to say I am in love, an affirmation of my feelings sends out an even more positive message compared to the notion of “falling in love”.
And though being in love is a common situation we find ourselves in, this modern-day era of relationships are littered with failures – it is as if people keep failing and have no clue on why they can’t keep the relationship from falling apart, from being stagnant and still. And though breakups do happen because of a clashing of personalities and financial reasons, to say that those reasons are the only causation of a breakup would just be another form of excuses.
The First Stages
Most commonly known as the honeymoon period, it is a wonderful period; some would say that this is the moment that they felt that their partner was more approachable and loving towards them. In a way, things that happen during this period of time are heavily influenced by our emotional state of being and as we know, emotions tend to change with the passing of time. Emotions, sentiments will tend to build, create a kind of box that we and our partner live in, separated from the outside world (and also common reasoning).
However, as time goes on, these sentiments, emotions will disappear. The euphoric sense of feeling that we have when we were with our partner will disappear. Things will begin to change.
As we know, in a relationship, there is always one person that gives more than the other. However, what happens during these kind of situations is that the person who loves more would realize that they are pouring their self into the relationship, and at the same time might not be getting anything or a little in return. And when this person pulls away, their significant other will notice the withdrawal and begin to feel insecure, seeking some sort of validation and fulfilment from their partner.
The Idea of Love
This modern-era of relationship is filled with people who were taught on how love is supposed to be and thus, they are not in love with the person, with the being but are instead in love with the idea of being loved in return. We have scores of articles online on how love is supposed to be, lists of ten things to show if someone was in love/in to/interested/ in us, and also the notion on how everyone has their twin flame/soulmate/the ONE.
What they seem to have forgotten is that all those articles are simply ideas, a collection of thoughts and observation of romance and the idea of love. Just as how this article is simply an opinionated piece. Everyone’s journey in discovering love is different; there are no guidelines or cheat sheet that could be used to get through this. The ideas can be shared but not implemented as everyone are not wired in the same exact way.
We usually tend to replay certain instances in our minds, instances that we are emotionally convinced that are the signs of affection from our significant other. However, the ‘re-enactment’ of these moments in our mind simply creates happy chemical reactions, thus making us feel as if we are in love or still in love (if the relationship was already over). A repetition of events, instances that had once made us feel loved or in love in our minds will simply produce the same kind of chemical reaction in our minds once more. The thought that we are in love can also bring out the same reaction and feelings in our mind as to hearing it being said out loud in real life.
What we tend to forget during moments like these is that over a certain period of time, the chemical reaction tend to dull and deteriorate. And once that happens, we would feel like we are no longer in love with that person. When we entertain these kind of thoughts, we enter into a mentally-charged love relationship, where the relationship we have with another is mostly in our minds and is none-existence in real life. It is in this exact kind of relationship that our ego thrives in; there is no deep soul connection, there is only the wanting to fit into the perfect love relationship that is tailor-made as a show for the real world.
The Non-Existence of Trust, Respect and Communication
With the modern-day dating scene being overpopulated with scores of dating app, dating sites, one-night stands and friends with benefits, it is no wonder that most of the couples out there has trust issues. However this does not make it a validation for them as to not trust their partners.
Regardless of how they had lived previously (including their dating preferences), when someone decides to commit to us, we have to ensure that we trust them, and vice versa. Trust is one of the major foundation for the formation of a solid relationship.
Sometimes, lack of trust stems from a person who had a history of emotional abuse/trauma/damage and suffers from insecurity. A previous bad breakup could also make it hard for them to enter a new relationship.
This person would find it difficult to pursue a healthy relationship, not to mention a happy one as their insecurity will keep rising up, making them distrust everything that they see, even to an extent of creating a situation that in non-existence in the first place.
The ideal way to face this situation is to communicate with each other; letting their insecurities be known and with that, finding a solution together in combatting it. Working together to solve any problems in a relationship is a sure way of ensuring that the relationship has a fair fighting chance of finding success. Honesty and transparency are two vital things to ensure the growth of a relationship, whereas vulnerability shouldn’t be looked down upon, instead be embraced as not everyone are brave enough to make their demons be known and seen by others.
Of course, communication is a two way street, it has to be given as well and not just be taken for granted. Often, we have couples in which one of them are the ‘Yes-man’, nodding to the whims and wishes of their partner. While this is not precisely a major issue, constantly following the whims of another will eventually kill the identity of the ‘Yes-man’, making it seem as if he had no personality or an identity. When the relationship is centred around one person only, the other would turn bitter and begin to hate himself and his partner, or the partner would feel as if there is no hope for the relationship and will eventually leave for someone else.
No matter how small or insignificant it is, when there is something that is bothering us, we have to communicate with our partner and talk it through, or else it will stay inside and fester within. Often, we do not communicate as to wanting to spare the other from being hurt but by not communicating, we are actually damaging and insulting the relationship. It is as if we are hiding parts of us just because we are ashamed that the other would leave if they knew such thing about us existed.
Respect is also a vital necessity for the relationship to thrive. We are all separate beings with separate capabilities, strength and weaknesses. A couple does not necessarily need to be equals socially or financially. What is important is how much they love each other and want to be together. Differences in opinion would definitely occur on a daily basis; it is important that we understand why the other person has a different opinion and at the same time, learn to accept that they have different viewpoints on the topic.
We need to learn how to accept the differences, and respect their beliefs, standings and decisions. There is always the middle line where we can both meet, regardless of our differences. Respect comes a long way and in a relationship, respect will carry us on a long way too.
Love is First and Foremost a Choice
After everything that we go through, after everything that we have seen, we choose to be with our partner if we still stayed in the relationship. We choose to love them as they are. This is when real love grows, when the relationship components – intimacy, trust, companionship, and respect will come out. When it becomes clear that we are choosing them, and they are choosing us, when it becomes clear that we are both wanting and willing to spend time with each other for the rest of our lives, the bond will become stronger.
We are both not perfect. Both of us are growing together. We do not own each other – though some of us would like to control the other, that isn’t love, but our ego wanting to be in control, insecure of losing the other.
And though Tom Cruise saying, “You complete me,” to Renee in Jerry Maguire made my heart flutter and swoon, we have to realize that such notion, one completes another, is outdated – everyone is whole.
Our fights and arguments also comes from ego. Our constant negative thinking will bring negative effect, and when we are surrounded by negativity, we will feel out of control and in need of some sort of grasp on the steering wheel as a consolidation. That is a mistake as well as there is no driver’s seat; we are both ‘rowing’ this ship, steering it clear of the obstacles, fighting against the tide, moving towards the shore, hoping to get there safe and dry, and together of course.
When you feel love, you just are. There is no such thing as the one. We are the ones who make our significant other, our partner as the one.