When I think of love, I think of the following lines from James Morrison’s song Love is Hard
“Love takes hostages,
Gives them pain.
Gives someone the power to
Hurt you again and again”
It’s true and yet I find myself craving love. It makes no sense logically. Why give away your power? Why put yourself in a position to be hurt? Okay so it’s not meant to be like that but why take the risk? How many relationships (including friends and family) ever last without some form of pain?
They may not intend to cause you pain but it happens all the time. A word here, a look there. Subtle things that stab you right in the heart and often they don’t even know they are doing it. Those are the things that make it all so unbearable. If you call them on it, the response is almost always “I didn’t mean it like that” or some other such dribble that makes you feel stupid for misunderstanding or in some other way inadequate. I put myself through this for too many years during one relationship and still I don’t know why.
In the beginning of any relationship there is the “honeymoon” period. That time when neither of you can do any wrong. You’re so wrapped up in positive feelings that anything that might be negative gets blurred by all your excitement. During this time, your emotions are intense, you’re walking on clouds and you live in a protective bubble where nothing can touch or harm you.
Eventually, real life begins to see into your bubble but you’re still on a high so anything amiss gets marked down as a quirky trait or excused because your loved one has been under stress or some other nonsense. You make excuses but tell yourself they are good reasons and not worth rocking the boat over. You tell yourself that all the good of the relationship outweighs the bad. That is mistake one in my experience.
This phase of a loving relationship is tricky. Your mind is still being clouded by adrenaline. By this point you also feel you should carry on because you have so much invested. Mistake number 2! If you don’t start to address the negatives at this stage, they will take over and consume you. Trust me. I have been there.
Once the honeymoon is over and real life barges its way in, you are on to the 3rd phase. This is the one where you tell yourself that you have accepted your partners flaws and they don’t bother you.Your energies go into maintaining the status quo and are usually spent ignoring the negatives. You have invested your time and given your heart to this other person so it doesn’t seem sensible to back out now. Besides, your ancestors never split up so there must be something wrong with you to even think of doing that!
It’s all my own fault is the catchphrase of the 3rd stage. You blame yourself for things not working out as picture perfectly as you think they should. More excuses are made but now they aren’t really for the other person, they are focused on yourself. There is something wrong with you. You’re being too sensitive. You’re misunderstanding. If you had done something differently / explained yourself better / worn something else … All the while you know it’s bullshit but you’re in love so you ignore the truth. Besides, you don’t want to be alone and have to start all over again do you?
Time passes without you really noticing. You plod away at daily life. You continue to ignore what you know in your heart to be true. You’re now in stage 4. You are broken. You have given all you can and it doesn’t seem like it’s ever been enough. You’re not appreciated – you are a doormat. You don’t even realize that you are being stepped all over. You have accept your lot in life and in the rare moments that you question your life, you tell yourself it could be a lot worse.
Then phase 5 hits hard! You are suddenly a lump on the floor. Left alone to fend for yourself. Your love is gone and has no desire to return. All that time invested all the effort you put in was for nothing. You kick yourself for not getting out sooner. You berate yourself for being a fool. You do everything possible to cover up your pain because you are embarrassed by it. Other people offer sympathy but you don’t want it. You’ve been blaming yourself for years so why change now?
So there you are. Crushed and in pain. Love has conquered you. And as you lie there licking your wounds, the only thing you think is how much you’d give to have things go back to the way they were. But I ask you … is it really worth the risk of being defeated again?