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Saturday, May 5, 2012

What Does Loving Someone Mean?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about love lately. Hey, I'm a single woman. This is what we do. It's part of the job description. I'm sure it was in the brochure that is issued to you. We think about guys, we talk about guys with our friends, and well, if you're a writer you write about it.

I married at a very young age, barely 20, was married for a long time, and then I wasn't. I did not date until my divorce became final, about a year and a half after we'd separated. I didn't care about boys, I was having a love affair with myself.

Now, many years, and a few relationships later I'm asking myself lots of questions - like, what does a good relationship look like? What does it take to make it work? Is there such a thing as "forever" or is this just for now?

After years of being brainwashed by Hollywood that love means never having to say your sorry, and "you complete me," oh, being told all the ways "he's just not that into you," it's hard to know what to think. But that doesn't stop me from trying to figure it out.

I was reading this interview with Debra Messing, who recently got divorced, and she said forever was one thing when we died at 37, 200 years ago, but now is it realistic? Granted, my cred on this topic may be questionable, but I've learned a few things in my years of dating and singledom post divorce. Here are a few...

For the most part people are who they are. Don't think that if you love someone enough, care for them enough they'll change. Unless they want to, they wont.

Be your own person. Don't define yourself through a relationship. "You complete me" is bullshit. Complete yourself.

“If you find yourself in love with two people, choose the second one, because if you really loved the first one you wouldn't have fallen for the second” Wise words from Johnny Depp of all people. I might not have believed this years ago, but I've come to see it's true. Another person doesn't breakup a relationship, if it was intact another person would never be a threat. This lesson has meant me letting go of my own blaming for the end of my marriage. And it's liberating.

I am still working on that balance of loving someone, needing someone, but not losing myself. I think it's possible, but losing myself  in love still scares the crap out of me. You work hard to become independent, strong and happy all on your own, and then you fall in love, and someone falls in love with that vital, independent person, and then as you meld, the lines get a little blurrier. It's challenging.

Loving someone who doesn't love themselves and isn't happy probably won't go well. If they're not happy without you they won't be happy with you.

Clever, fun banter is great over dinner, but is this someone who will bring you soup when you're sick? Call you just because you seemed a little down and they wanted to make sure you were okay? Think about you and not just themselves? That's what makes someone worthy of your time. Rob Gordon from "High Fidelity" is a fun character to read about, but being in a relationship with him is frustratingly empty.

Throw out your preconceptions of what the "perfect" partner looks like. He/she may show up in a very different outfit than you expected. Don't slam the door just because they aren't what you expected.

Look out for yourself. Only you know what is right for you. It's just that simple. And that hard. If you crack the code, let me know, I'm still confused as hell.












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