A few musings ago I posted a poem with the same title as this article and although it captures most of what I feel, there is something to be said about the subject of unrequited love. It is not unreasonable to argue that in most cases, from divorce to suicide pacts, the end of a relationship can be traced back to the moment love was lost. A human made construct, the point of this suite of emotions is to encapsulate an action, a verb, to let us know when we are attracted and attached to a fellow human being in a way that transcends common courtesy and filial relations. Love itself is intangible and ephemeral but the act of loving isn’t. It is very real.
Over the years I have been blessed with many opportunities to love and be loved in return. It wasn’t easy to navigate the many suitors and requests for attention but I always knew which ones to pursue and which ones to avoid. Since love requires action and hard work, you can tell early on who wants sex, who wants affection and who wants a mix of the two. As long as the other party was willing to commit to the act of loving me, to the effort that it took to build and grow our relationship, they were given a chance to succeed. It wasn’t about the gifts or dates, it was about the commitment to make each other happy and prosperous. The relationship needed to be fruitful and bountiful in order to proceed. Friendships and kinship alike had to meet this standard. No one was getting loved for free.
We all have that one relationship where we loved a person with all our heart and soul but they simply could not bring themselves to love us. Like not at all. Regardless of what we did to accomodate their needs, space and time included, nothing seemed to work out. I have been in many friendships and with many partners that made me feel I wasn’t good enough or just plain enough for them. Everything I did was wrong at some level or like I was a nuisance and wasn’t welcomed in their lives. It was their own insecurities projecting onto me and onto the relationship. Many people do this without realizing it is them and not their significant other who is the problem.
In these types of situations the couples can’t start over because the misunderstandings are incessant. Once one of them makes the decision to not love the relationship dissolves. The love of one person was keeping the whole thing together and it falls apart the moment they let go. We can’t continue to make the decision to love that person because all they want is the perks of being loved. These people are incapable of giving something in return. Being used and tossed aside this way is always an overwhelming experience. Wanting someone hurts them, loving them shouldn’t because we would want the best for them, not their physical presence or affection. Feeling alone is natural but holding on to someone because we fear loneliness isn’t fair. That’s why we need to set free those we love and actively work to ensure their well being, at a safe and discreet distance or even in spirit.
Word of advice. If you must say goodbye avoid using the “I love you like a sister/brother” speech. No one can love you like a sibling, especially since each sibling group acts differently. The proverbial sibling relationship requires that the parties be willing to be there at each other’s best and worst. Most of the people who have uttered these words to me have become fair weather fans. They ran at the first sign of a problem. We all need umbrellas for the rain and lightning rods during the storms, not unreturned calls and dead silence to our pleas for help. That’s why you can’t truly love or be in love with someone that doesn’t love themselves; they cannot give you shelter from the storm because they do not think they have a big enough umbrella or poncho to share. We can only offer what we have, and these types only share in abundance. Be careful what you give them because you won’t get it in return.
If however, you choose to continue to love them know that nothing you will do can change their minds. When someone makea the conscious choice to avoid love very few things can stop them or alter their plans. Sometimes people enjoy their freedom too much or can’t simply find middle ground to anchor their feelings and invest in another human being. Don’t take it personal because in the end they only hurt themselves and you can end up losing your identity by conforming to unattainable standards. Walk away and save yourself. We are on this planet to love and receive love not to suffer for those who claim to feel this way about us. If it is hard to bear the rejection or to stay and support that person it isn’t love. Aim high, your true partners is crime are out there. 🙂