When Love Isn’t Enough

All you need is love is a lie, cause we had love but we still said goodbye.
– John Mayer, Split Screen Sadness

The Beatles claimed that all we need is love. They could not be more wrong. If you think about it, love really isn’t anything at all. It is a miniscule part of a much larger equation for which we need all components to make a relationship work. And coming from a hopeless romantic like myself, that is truly saying something.

Shakespeare is the one that said it best: The course of true love never did run smooth.

The hard – and very sad – truth is that love is not all that matters. I have found myself completely head over heels, crazy in love with another person, but eventually I end up realizing that they are not the person for me. See, love doesn’t always win out, people.

Whenever we first start to give a damn about another person, the days float by, you could have a million things going on but not have a care in the world, and you begin to imagine the future – your life – with that person. Don’t deny it – we all do it.

But then life begins to dole shit out, and we begin to compartmentalize; we begin to wonder if the vision we had of that person matches with our reality. Most people in relationships will believe that love can fill any void – it can be used to bandage old wounds and hide issues that will constantly arise. And because we love that person so much, we fear the risk of losing them. We believe it is impossible for us to ever love again – or at least love again in the way you love now. To be honest, future love can never compete with present love – because when we are presently in love, we refuse to believe that life (or any love thereafter) could be any better than the person whose hand we are holding at this very moment.

But not everyone will be the one, you know? I used to think like that – that I would fall in love and that would be that. Clean, simple, easy. How naïve I was. To be fair though, I semi-blame my parents for that belief (they met when they were 17 and have been together ever since). They really never gave me a chance, did they? But what I had to realize on my own is that I can’t make a relationship into something more than what it actually is. I had to separate the fantasy from the reality. The idea of that person and how I wanted them to be versus what was really standing right in front of me.

I have been in love a couple times in my life, and while I do not know everything there is to know about love, I do know that every relationship is different. And there are so many different ways to be in love. I’ve been in love with a man that challenged me and uprooted everything inside of me, and I’ve also been in love with a man that completely understood me – inside and out – and truly inspired me to be a better individual (I didn’t always succeed, but he supported me anyway). And I loved those two men very differently. And each of them I believed was “the one” for me.

In my last relationship, I was the one purporting that love was enough for us to conquer anything. It was he who had to show me the reality of the situation – I had broken his trust, and forgiveness would not come easy. And so just as my first love stole parts of me, it turns out I had stolen parts of my second love, too.

What I can tell you is that the love I have for my second love is unfinished. The other facets of the equation to make any relationship include honesty, open communication, and trust. Especially trust. And while we cannot force our significant others into the roles of our end-all-be-all’s, we do have to know the balance between when love is and is not enough.

I truly believe our love is enough. But what he showed me is that clearly you do not have to fall out of love to let go and say goodbye. And isn’t that ironic? How much we can love someone but not be with them. It seems like a waste, really. Then again, that’s the romantic in me talking (maybe). Or maybe when we couple that kind of adoration and commitment with the rest of the equation, the sum of romanticized love can be more than enough. It can be everything.

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