What they didn’t tell us about love

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Love is beautiful in its own rebellious and unpredictable way. It has been one of the most talked about topic amongst the young and the old and
still it is hard to understand and worse, to experience. Since the existence of boy meets girl, attempts have been made to define and package love to a workable recipe. And media has packaged real love to follow this pattern:

Propose love
Impress lover
Introduce lover to friends
Introduce lover to family
Move in with lover
Get engaged
Get married soon after engagement
Have a couple of kids, preferably a boy and a girl
And stay together until one dies

That is an ideal relationship with a few tweaks from one medium to another. Yes, at some point we take these to be our only truth but what guides us the most, subconsciously so, is real life experiences. So what you see growing up from people around you will be your truth. Remember it is subconscious—you don’t sit down and say I’m going to date a chauvinist, but some people end up with a long list of the same kind of partners. We then turn around to say men are this or women are that. Common denominator, you.

It is not that you attract chauvinists, it is that you are attracted by chauvinist. Taking it back to the part of experiences, you are able to tell from far a chauvinist; how they walk and talk and behave from the chauvinists you have been surrounded by your entire life. So when people, not displaying characteristics of chauvinists, propose love to you, you turn them down and those who do, you gladly give them a chance.

That is where we create a “type” someone who ticks most of the boxes on your list of things a perfect partner should have. Sometimes our types are reflections of people we spent our entire lives with and whom we have learnt to deal with. They may not necessarily be good but they are our comfort zone, so they will not require much from us that we don’t already have.

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Sometimes our types are people who will feed our ego or correct our past. You were never the “it guy” so you get yourself a beautiful doll-like woman to get the envious stares and high-fives you never got. You were passive and shy growing up so you get a submissive woman to enforce your power on. You never had the great phone, clothes and hairstyles growing up so you get a man who will provide the glitz and glamour while you finally get to have what “cool kids” have.

You continuously go for the same kind of partner because they give you something you like or are accustomed to having. When they behave a specific way, you know how to react to create a familiar space; whether peaceful or destructive. So without knowing, you relive relationships of people who were around you growing up. It is that or you consciously mimic those you look up to, which too is crippling because we only see, visually, the results and never the work that goes in.

Love is greatly influenced by where we have been. And because we get in relationships with no expertise, no one is ever an expert, we take other people’s realities and force them into ours and expect the same results. Truth is no matter how much your parents’ relationship worked you will never have what they have because you are different people in different times. What worked for your dad will not necessarily work for your husband, and what your mom liked doing for your dad your wife won’t necessarily like doing for you.

So love is hard because you get in a relationship to unlearn and to unteach your partner of realities he or she has created around love. You both have to then truly discover each other. A lot of the time you don’t have to go by what they say but how they feel. You have to stop, start, continue, adjust to a lot of things and just when you think you know each other, one of you changes, which will definitely happen, and you have to start all over again starting and stopping and and and. If you choose to break things off you still have to go through the process all over again. So in its wild and untamed nature, love is beautiful but only if you are not coming with expectations and baggage and you just enjoy the rollercoaster ride.

By Mapule Dhlamini

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