Love is Not Just for Valentine's Day-How Does Your Love Rate?
When I stand before God at Heaven’s gate and I am asked, “What have you done?” I will answer, “I have loved another with all my heart, regardless of the outcome.”—Denise Handlon 2/13/2011
If you are lucky in love you are with the ‘right’ person and experience a life filled with the richness of knowing that your love is reciprocated. Unconditional love between two people brings a deep satisfaction and pleasure to one’s life. It touches the very heart and soul of those in love. It frees one to focus on other areas of life with a confidence that the love established is one of trust and dependability.
In Robert Browning’s poem: Grow old along with me he writes of a love that is long lasting; a love that ripens with age and maturity. This true love of spirit, mind and body, deepens as time goes on and surpasses the superficiality of changes that occur to the body when aging. A respect for one another and acceptance for one’s own place in the process of growing old are key components to healthy aging and continued love. Again, there is a trust that your beloved isn’t going to discard you when you no longer wear the hue of the newly blossomed rose.
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be...
When Friendship turns to Love
One of the favorite romantic comedies is When Harry met Sally. It features Billy Crystal, as Harry, and Meg Ryan, as Sally, two college grads who first meet as they embark on a long road trip together. The longevity of their comedic attraction to one another developed first into friendship and finally into recognition of their love for one another. When an awkward, ‘morning after’ the consummation of their love creates a misunderstanding and they drift apart, Harry realizes on New Year’s Eve that he can’t live without Sally, and makes this announcement to her as she leaves a crowded party.
To be truly seen by another, beyond appearances, and with all of the personality quirks and disagreements, is a wonderful gift. It is the act of being recognized for who we really are, the very essence of our being, and loved not because of what we achieve, nor for our external beauty; not for our wisdom or overall intelligence, but despite all of that and everything that gets in the way in everyday life. This is a love that leaves one feeling a warm glow inside.
When Harry Met Sally
Unrequited love, however, can evoke feelings of anxiety and depression. In situations such as these, the world seems to be populated by couples while you are the only ‘lonely’. Despite the fact that many people experience this phenomenon at some point in their lives, when it happens to you, it seems as if you are the first one who has ever experienced this heartache.
People whose love goes unreciprocated share a common bond. Perhaps they are in love with the wrong person: someone who is married or otherwise unavailable. Or, maybe they have difficulties expressing their feelings and fear rejection, so they keep their love hidden. Or, possibly, you are the one who is with the ‘wrong’ person and yearning to be with someone else, (or someone yet unknown, but hopefully soon to be discovered), such as a fantasy dream girl or guy.
In the 1987 movie: Roxanne , a modern version of the late 19th century French play, Cyrano de Bergerac, Steve Martin plays the long nosed fire chief in love with Roxanne, an astronomer played by Daryl Hannah. She thinks she is in love with the handsome firefighter, Chris McConnel, played by Rick Rossovich, who is a tongue tied buffoon when it comes to wooing women.
Just like in the original play, the movie version has C.D. ‘Charlie’ Bales writing love letters that Chris claims as his own and the unsuspecting Roxanne falls for the ruse. It isn’t until the end of this 1987 movie that the truth comes out, and in good Hollywood form, all ends happily with Roxanne and Charlie professing their love for each other.
This ending is contrary to the one playwright, Edmond Rostand wrote in 1897. In this original version Cyrano dies, never revealing the truth of the love letters to Roxanne, who suspects him despite his protests. This is one form of unrequited love.
Don't sell yourself short on love
But, what about falling out of love with another? How many stories have we heard or know personally of the professional who, following many tough years going through medical or law school, abandons the loyal love for the new found one on the way up the career ladder? Or, the situation where the spouse announces, after children are grown, that he is looking to build a relationship with someone new, younger, and dreams of ‘growing old together’ are dashed.
Is it right to continue in a relationship that has no spark or common goal? Is it fair to either party to ‘settle’ when one or the other is no longer, (if ever), attracted to the other person because of well…whatever the reason may be?
In the very popular book, He’s just not that into you, authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, a former writer for the Sex and the City series, offer advice to women on how to recognize and let go of a ‘go nowhere’ relationship in which one is feeling hopeful, but stuck. Realizing when love is one sided is an important skill to hone. The ability to read the signs and move on with one’s life gives you the freedom to seek a fulfilling relationship; one with someone who will reciprocate the love you have to offer.
I will wager that the reasons to stay or leave are as many as there are lovers in the world. In my opinion, it is an individual decision, but one which should be based on the integrity of the person asking the question, “am I loved, respected, and valued in this relationship? Is this relationship fulfilling my needs and heart’s desires?”
While the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, it is important to live a life that honors who we are. I am not advocating relationship hopping to find someone who will give us what we want materially or sexually. What I do suggest is to live your life truthfully and if that inner guidance is revealing something to you in which you have been avoiding looking at, by all means follow this guidance. You, and your current partner, will be happier in the long run.
Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday in which we share special moments with someone we love, are made that much sweeter knowing that we are with the love of our life. Anything short of that is merely settling.