There are guys I thought I loved but didn’t, ones I thought I didn’t like but did, and ones that didn’t care about me but that I cared so much about I pretended to be stupid so they could feel smart. Of course this wisdom only comes after the fact, when the relationship has melted and run off down the sewer where we discard the good that has become painful and the bad that is ugly but annoyingly illuminating; or at least that’s what we think we do. But here’s the thing I’ve discovered; we never really leave any relationship behind us; we never move on to someone else completely cured of our experience; any attempt we make to hide what the person before didn’t like is fruitless; instead we learn to show our bruises to someone, compare our heart-shaped scars, note our similarities and differences and act according to our feelings. Now I need to insert a point of clarity here – each person in a relationship needs to act according to their real feelings (intuition included) and not the ones they’ve created or embedded into the other person. If you’ve done this, do not – I repeat, do not – beat yourself up! I’ve gotten stuck here many times. I’ve been that person who created reasons why it was okay this other person didn’t call me in X amount of days, or that he didn’t really mean it when he made those racist/sexist comments – he just has a terrible sense of humor that, after some time, I can cure him of. Being real, truthful, honest is the most difficult part in relationships. We hide behind the lies and excuses we say or create to justify staying. Now here’s another point of clarity I need to hit home; you can sincerely love someone and hurt them and they can sincerely love you and hurt you. The severity of the circumstances surrounding the hurt is something only the inflicted can judge and determine if it falls under the he/she’s made a mistake but they’re still a good, kind person category or if it’s one of the, cannot be forgiven to the extent it can be figuratively forgotten variety. (I’ve always thought the saying forgive and forget should be forgive and figuratively forget because we can’t truly forget a hurt unless we have some sort of memory impairment and the literal meaning caused me to spend too much time wondering if remembering a hurt is some sort of sign that I shouldn’t be with this person) So where does this leave like vs. love? What’s the difference? Can you have one without the other?
For me, like is finding someone attractive and enjoying their company enough to want to spend time with them; love is like plus knowing their idiosyncracies, meeting their uglies (bad moods, reactions, etc.) and feeling that all that stuff doesn’t make a difference; love without like is highly-combustible passion. When do you know you’re feeling like, love or passion? Now I hate this answer and I’m really hoping during this blog experience I gain some sagacious wisdom into this area of how do you know you love someone but for right now it’s this – you just know; you are confident there’s no delusion involved. I knew I liked my fiance on our first pre-date (yes, it was a pre-date) and I knew I loved him just four months in while we were out walking my parent’s dogs. I couldn’t tell you when I knew I wanted to marry him but at some point I did and through all of the fights and uglies over the last seven years, the feeling’s survived. Like doesn’t win over love and love doesn’t win over like – rather they’re a tag-team against life’s problems.
Ever notice that “love” is a four-letter word? Thankfully, not that kind of four-letter word.
I can’t pretend to argue that I know what love is better (or worse) than the next lucky fellow. That dude Bill Shakespeare had some words on it – a few of them pretty, more than a few a bit baudy – and he didn’t waste time with any relationship or commitment phobias. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I have those, either.
But what I do know is this: the love that I know – the love that I value – isn’t the flowery type or the fine-dining kind. It isn’t movie romance or infatuation on the stage. The love that I value is the kind that you get to come home to. The kind that lets you gripe about a bad day and offers comfort on a worse one. The kind that knows what’s best for you, even when you don’t want to admit it. The kind that counters a foul mood with compassion, heals sadness with laughter, weathers anger with patience, and forgives, forgives, forgives.
Nothing can beat that, and I think there’s something to be said for it.
To me, it’s the B-E-S-T.