Believing and Bouncing Back

It's fascinating that all we ever long for is to love and to be loved. To feel that love reciprocated can be the greatest feeling on Earth that truly cannot be described objectively. I read from a Humans of New York interviewee who had recently lost his wife after 62 years of marriage, "The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly." How accurate. Poets have written and will continue to write about it. Philosophers try to offer wise words to depict its meaning. But no one really knows and there is beauty in that mystery.

Let's say that love was a gigantic swimming pool. Then I constantly battle with (A.) wanting to drown myself in it, allowing the emotions and passion to fill my lungs and stop my heart, and (B.) being too hesitant to even dip my pinky toe in it. It frightens but titillates me, the thought of being so unglued. Most of the time, I still end up going with option A and give into my natural urge to let the feeling run wild through me. If I'm honest, it is in my nature to love wholly. To give 100% and be open and vulnerable. I want to love with all of me, all of the time. Where I go wrong is that I expect the same in return, from everyone, all of the time.

I have to figure out how to stand in the median when it comes to love. I have to learn to accept that people cannot always live up to my expectations and won't, and that should be okay. I also need to learn to stop thinking that when one falls short, that that's it. It's over. Instead, I need to breathe. Find ways to bounce back and recover. Not hold a grudge.

Not always easy when the options are running low out there. I have dated a vast array of men, from the highly dedicated to the highly dishonest. It is hard to believe in love when there are so many odds against you... and against "love." I was watching the Wendy Williams show the other day and she mentioned how taboo marriages are now, that gone are the days where women long to marry because they can have a family without being married. Wendy even admitted that though she's happily married, "marriage is corny" (then admitted that she too is corny). I have friends that are married, some that are divorced, some that have children sans husband, but the majority of my friends are single and still searching. Some of us in our mid 30s are still waiting patiently in our castles, wondering when prince charming will arrive on his white horse. But is the thought that marriage is unnecessary becoming common? Surely we can't be the only ones still bouncing back from heartaches and believing in our traditional thoughts on love?

After reading an article I read on the Huffington Post by author Iris Krasnow, I see that we are not the only ones. Couples, according to her research, still believe but are marrying older and smarter and therefore the divorce rate has dropped. They are more aware of the marriage "fantasy" (that it is an instant solution for happiness) and have established themselves professionally before beginning their married lives instead of rushing into it immediately after college.

"What a relief, we're still out there," I thought.

Contrarily, I read an article also on the Huffington Post by psychotherapist Dr. Tammy Nelson, which discussed another idea:

"We are seeing a new type of monogamy, or an alternative form of monogamy; a committed partnership of more than one, a group form of marriage or relationship that is a shift in the way commitment is negotiated. The key is not a, "hey, anything goes" mentality. The imperative is honesty, integrity and trust. The open in "open relationship" is about being open to a variety of lovers and partners within the monogamous structure, and it also means being open about feelings and consistently sharing needs and desires."

"Holy sh*t", I thought.

Do I need to taper my ideals on love? Am I behind the times when it comes to wanting to be with one man and one man only? Is it time for me to upgrade my thinking? That wasn't Dr. Nelson's intention, but those were the thoughts that ran across my mind. What if I am still one of the few that hasn't caught up to this wave of 21st century thinking? Who knows but it is clear that society is creating ways for monogamy and marriage to be malleable in their definitions and though I am more traditional, I think that is beautiful. I can respect that. After all, love is elusive, so its definition cannot claim to be "one size fits all". Love itself hasn't changed but the way we commit to each other has. I think that as long as we are still believers who continue to jump into the love pool, we are allowing ourselves to indulge in our innate desire to love and be loved.