One of my all time favorite poems is Unending love by Rabindranath Tagore. Often, during the worst years of feeling abandoned, self doubt accompanied by self hate, feeling lost, feeling used & misused etc ; I have gone back to this poem to find inspiration on how to love myself.
I don’t know when I first knew, but I have known for a while that love is a verb. Hard work. Still, when I met love, I almost missed it! Like driving by the turn you are supposed to take on your way home and realizing it when you see the road sign for the next junction. Thinking no. no.no.no I don’t want to go there. I want to go home.
I almost missed love because, like most of us who have a complicated childhood, I had little idea how love should look like. How love should feel like.
I knew I didn’t want the love I saw or experienced during childhood. Love that abuses. Love that ignores. Love that belittles. Love that leaves. Love that stays but is not really available. Love that controls. Love that goes behind you back. Love that cheats. Love that mocks. Love that hurts constantly. Love that kills. Shattering love.
So I have been learning about love through living & making mistakes. Here goes!
4 times when love is not enough:
(1) Low or non-existent Compatibility. Intellectual, emotional & sexual. If 2 people are not compatible, eventually it becomes such a struggle to communicate, to have sex, to just sit together & have breakfast that love turns out to NOT be enough. BUT, the complexity is, it doesn’t matter how compatible a couple is, keeping the compatibility relevant is essential.
(2) Low or lacking Respect is the end of love. For every relationship, boundaries have to be set & boundaries have to be respected. If the boundaries sound unreasonable, re-negotiate them respectfully or leave. Boundaries cannot be over-stepped without re-negotiation where respect is present.
In my experience, when compatibility and respect are properly balanced, communication issues are few and severe misunderstandings far in between. Apologies are genuine and forgiveness easy. A person who feels appreciated, loved & respected will be more forgiving. A person who feels unappreciated, unloved & disrespected is more antagonistic, bitter & unforgiving.
(3) Lack of We are our own little Gang mentality/attitude. Politically correct members of society say “we are in this together” or “we are a team”.
For love to be enough, one has to feel that they belong with the other person. Totally. Like Lily & Marshall. So glued together that when a 3rd person even considers attacking, annoying, gossiping, looking down etc on one of you; the other jumps the 3rd person! Immediately & brutally. You have each others backs & you keep each others secrets. Your safety, well being and/or success is not more important that your partners.
(4) Plan Bs are a love killer or a love challenge at the least. In my limited experience, a case of one foot in one foot out usually means both feet out. If there is some other person, place or experience that feels more interesting, more important, more exciting than your partner; then love will not be enough. Especially if most of these things feel more fun when done without the partner. If mother dear is better at most things. If your best friend understands you better, always. If that fight you had yesterday made you wonder if you really should be together.