..baby don’t hurt me…
But really, what is it? What are you expecting from it? Everyone has a different idea of what it means when you tell someone that you love them. In my mind, people believe that once you say “I love you,” you are now attached to that person. Through hellfire and brimstone. You are already entertaining the idea of marriage, even if it’s far off in the future. You are willing to go through a lot more shit for that person now that you officially love them. You’ll compromise for them (that word comes up a lot).
You want to move to LA to take a job, but they like Portland better. Well, you love them, so you have to figure out who wins, and who moves to LA. Because love means sacrifice. Sacrifice everything and everyone so long as you stay together.
At least that is my perception of love. Once people decide that they are in it, they have made this huge commitment that now takes precedent over most other things. Right? Why else would saying “I love you” be such a big deal?
I would say it a lot more often if I didn’t think that it was going to take on unnecessary weight. If telling your partner that you love them was just another form of describing emotion, strong emotion, I would be much more likely to say it. To me, loving someone does mean that I feel more strongly towards them than most other people. I am willing to put more effort into working through problems and devote more of my time to them. But I’m also going to break up if something better comes along for either of us. I won’t spend time agonizing over whether that new job is really worth moving away from a boyfriend. It is. Because it’s my career. And if the boyfriend is a good match for me, he wouldn’t ask that I stay. We’d make it work. Or we break up. And that’s okay.
I had always assumed that this was a different way to frame the idea of loving a partner. A selfish way to go about it that most people wouldn’t be on board with. I’m still not sure that it isn’t. But I was just talking to someone who challenged this beliefs. We were talking about what my boyfriend and I were going to do when he moves four states away (we’re staying together but opening the relationship), and she asked if I loved him. And I went through the whole spiel. Yes, depending on your definition. I would break up tomorrow if it were a better decision for both of us. Etc…
She is a self-identifying romantic. Just got engaged. Super happy. Love is great. Blah, blah, blah. So I’m waiting for a response about that not being love, or something similar. But she says that she thinks it’s a better definition of love than most people.
No, no, no. She must have misunderstood me. How can someone who is so romantic be on board with being ready to jump ship so easily?
She says that wanting what’s best for someone is the best indications that you love someone.
I say what if it’s what’s best for you and not that person? Isn’t that just selfish? At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from society and everyone around me saying to just wait for the right person and then I’ll understand.
She says that it’s healthy. Not selfish. That it’s easy to just give and give to someone and not car about yourself. You have to take care of you while also sharing the number one space with the other person. And sometimes that means recognizing when it’s time to cut the other person out of your life. Upon realizing that, it would be selfish to string the other person along.
And that sounds perfect. And reasonable. And maybe not quite how I look at relationships (I don’t share the number one space in my life, there’s only room for me on that seat). But it is also much more rational than what I believe that most people think about love.
So now I’m not sure what to think. Do most people see this? Do they think that it’s acceptable to look out for yourself first in the relationship, but then get so tangled up in feelings that it becomes too difficult to be rational? Or is it like I originally thought and I am still the outlier? And what does it say about me that I don’t get tangled up in the feelings part?
Basically I’m looking for a psychologist on the internet. Now taking applications.