A few months ago, I remember reading a meaningful blog post about love and relationship that got me thinking really hard about my own. The post, which can be read here, talked about how relationships don't last based on feelings but choices because feelings are not constant and building a relationship based on a shaky foundation is risky. As I contemplate on the idea, it made so much sense as to why I doubted mine during the first few months.
The author of said post recalled the time she took a class called Relationships For Life at the age of 17, where she learned that "most people fall out of love the same reason they fell in it" — something that I sometimes do a deep thinking about. I've always wondered how it is possible for two people to fall in love, started a seemingly happy relationship and then one day, the wire just snapped and one or maybe both of them decided it's time to break things off and part ways. I wonder about things like how does a 7-years relationship breaks or how did two individuals who used to share the same dream end up being strangers towards each other. Of course, there are millions of reasons as to why it ended but it's a sad and scary thought — it's sad because things may not be the same ever again and scary because it proves how inevitable a breakup is.
The author also spoke about how a teacher in the relationship class threw a question that also made me sit back and think: is love a feeling? Or is it a choice? Naturally, people would answer that love is a feeling. The teacher further claimed that if we were to cling onto that belief, we wouldn't have a long lasting relationship. Now, is this true? I'm not sure about you but I am not entirely ditching this thought. I am not sure what the teacher meant by saying this but to me, love goes beyond and is more than just a bundle of feelings.
So, how do you define it?
To me, love is the choice, dedication and determination that makes someone stay by your side regardless of the situation. Love is something that you choose to make work and is more than just feeling the butterflies in your stomach or enjoying the happy time. Love is a commitment that takes a lot of your effort and maybe time as well; you don't claim to fall for someone and only want them to do things for you while you refuse to give back. This also works both ways because a relationship involves not only one but two people thus it is necessary for co-existence to be a part of it.
The author, who interviewed a bunch of adults who were or had been married, decided to ask every single person if love was an emotion or a choice. The result? Everybody said that it was a choice, a conscious commitment. A quote from the post further supports this idea by saying,
"The married ones said that when things were bad, they chose to open the communication, chose to identify what broke and how to fix it, and chose to recreate something worth falling in love with."
Meanwhile the divorced ones said that they chose to walk away.
This made me think about how easy it is to ask for a breakup. It's easier to end things than to work your way around to find a solution. I am not saying breakups are easy in a sense that people will not be sad about it. Of course it's going to make you sad and maybe turn you into a puddle of mess for days, weeks or even years but the thought of wanting to end things commonly comes a lot faster for some people.
Now, I'm not saying that the feeling you have — or had — is or was an invalid lie. I don't think we can fall for someone without having our feelings involved but feelings are not everything. To me, love is more than falling for someone and wanting them to be yours; it takes a lot of effort, time and dedication which is why we always want our significant other to commit the same way we do towards them. I myself honestly never felt that spinning sensation or squirming butterflies in my stomach but that doesn't mean I do not genuinely fall for my boyfriend — I do. All I'm saying is how emotion and commitment are two different things that must work together instead of separately and that emotion alone is not enough to build a bulletproof relationship. Just like love and relationship who compliment each other, I'd like to believe that my choice is the string that binds what I currently have when the novelty starts to ease. What I mean by novelty is that fluttering emotion you feel during the first few months when you first started a relationship.
At the end of the day, I wouldn't want to be chosen for the temporary universe in my eyes; I want someone to choose me and try to look for the universe even though I am having my gloomy days.
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Photography: Tomoyuki Shinohara