Love is such a complicated feeling, it’s almost impossible to explain it. Hate, happiness, and sadness can easily be broken down and the route cause revealed, but love not so much, it’s the only feeling that encompasses every other emotion within it. Love can alter our perception of life and make us believe and do the impossible, but it can also cripple us to the point we are either too scarred to move on or life becomes too unbearable to live. It’s an emotion that we can’t control when and with whom it occurs, and we certainly can’t control if our counterpart feels the same way. That feeling comes from such a deep place within us, that we sometimes act irrationally and against our better judgment. But love is still an amazing part of life that is worth fighting for because it only comes around so many times in our life.
We all yearn for love in some way, even the worst among us, and in that search, we find ourselves settling for companionship in hopes that it becomes more or just because we are afraid when the musical chairs of love stop we are left standing alone. Companionship allows for us to enjoy some or most of the characteristics of love that we find important to us such as protection, support, intimacy, meaningful or deep conversation. It also allows us to put parameters on love such as age, distance, race, and really anything we find important in our counterpart. This is one of the biggest reasons dating applications and websites have become so popular over the last decade. If you’re purely looking for sex you have Tinder and Bumble, if its marriage you have eHarmony, something in between there is Match.com, and even more specific sites such as Jdate.com or christianmingle.com if religion is most important to you.
While we now have tools to set parameters on who we want to fall in love with, it’s just not that easy. Love is organic and happens naturally to you when you least expect it, most times when you’re not even looking or ready for it. It’s the Universe or God (whichever way you prefer to see it) bringing together two random people at a point in time in the most unexpected of ways. But we also have to be willing to accept it when it reveals itself to us. Sometimes we are lucky to find love through the companions we choose and other times it the ones we least expect. It doesn’t always reveal itself to us quickly, on most occasions it takes time to build up or for us to realize it. I have seen people fall in love after what should have been a one-night stand, a friend who rode the train with his future wife for 3 years before they finally spoke, my parents who were in an arranged marriage, and even through dating applications.
How do you find love then? The truth is you don’t, it will eventually find you if put yourself out there and allow for it to happen, which brings me to the reason I am writing this article; When do we know it’s time to walk away from a companion if love isn’t there? Statistics say that a man will fall in love around three months into a relationship but won’t acknowledge it until months later, and woman around five months and tend to say it once they feel it. Now I’m not saying to break up with every person you don’t feel your love at the six-month mark, but what I am getting at is at some point after six months you have to take into account your counterparts feelings and what you want out of the relationship you’re in. Because if it’s purely the intimacy and shared memories that keep you around, eventually that will lose its luster and won’t be enough. And if your partner truly loves you and you don’t feel the same, why prolong a relationship and cause them any more pain. It’s hard to hurt a person you care about, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for them if deep down you don’t believe they are the one then why be selfish because you would rather not be alone.
This past week I found myself having to hurt a woman I care deeply for. When we first met almost two years ago it was purely the intimacy that I enjoyed, but quickly I realized there was so much more to her. The similarities in how we grew up, our cultures, and past life experiences we shared drew me in further. We shared a deep connection and understanding of each other which made it that much more special. Less than six months into the unorthodox relationship we enjoyed, she would tell me that she deeply loved me, something that I did not feel at the time which I attributed to my own personal commitment issues, but I cared enough for her and the companionship she provided that I was hopeful it would eventually click. As the months rolled on and she asked more from me, reality started to creep in that I would probably never feel what she felt, but once again I cared for her companionship and did not want to lose it, so I sucked it up and made an attempt. This last month I found myself hurting her more and more because I could not provide her with the amount of love she felt for me and deserved.
I had come to a point where I realized I was being selfish, she provided me with companionship, which is all I wanted, but she wanted to be loved. When two people truly love each other, that relationship can last a lifetime through thick and thin, when it’s purely out of a need for companionship it really doesn’t take much for the relationship to break down. While I deeply care for her and knew what I was about to do would hurt her, it was the right thing to do for the both of us. While the pain of losing someone is unbearable at times, it will eventually subside, and you will move on and find someone to replace that void, and hopefully love will come out of it. Why make that pain worse or prolong the obvious, life is too short to live it without a partner you truly love.
Being with someone for the sake of not finding yourself alone is really unhealthy in the long run. Not only might you miss out on possibly meeting the right one but situations like that never end well for either party. While companionship gives us an opportunity to cultivate a meaningful relationship with someone and carries with it many of the attributes of love, we need to eventually sit down with ourselves and understand why we are in the relationship we are in, especially if it’s been a year or one party has already pronounced their love of the other. If you come to realize a year in that it’s the intimacy, deep conversation, and shared memories you love from the relationship you’re in, and not necessarily the person, then it’s time to make some hard choices. In truth, if love isn’t there, eventually the love of whatever they provide for you emotionally and psychologically will wear off, and you will find yourself in a situation where you are too comfortable in your ways to make the hard choice to move on and find something more meaningful with real substance.