When You're Struggling to Find the Point of Love
When You Think Love is Horrific
Whether it starts with cringing at couples holding hands or a bad love article from the New York Times, there comes a time when you can’t help but find romantic love cloying, inauthentic, absurd, and like taking a baseball bat to your knee.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Romance isn’t meant to be superficial or gag-inducing. There comes a time when dating and the likes are annoying, when you find proclamations of love as fake as plastic, and you’re not sure if love really is your thing. It’s okay if it’s not. The single life is sufficient.
Surrounded by Inauthenticity
The problem with romance in the modern day is that we (at least in the good ole’ U.S.A.) are raised in a consumeristic/capitalistic society. Love becomes merely a brand, a product, or an advertisement to fill up space between sitcom breaks.
You probably don’t hate love, or despise it with every fiber of your being, but you’re probably finding a lot of displays of it contrived. We live in a superficial world where gestures that used to be pure are used to sell products and ideas.
So how do you create authentic romance in your life? If this is something that you want, it will come from a happy place of introspection. You need to first care for yourself and learn what really appeals to your heart. Anything that comes off fake, inauthentic, contrived, and manipulative — just ignore all of that.
Online dating is one of the worst offenders. Keep in mind that not that long ago people didn’t need online dating to find a mate. You can drop the apps and go out into the real world, follow your interests, and lo and behold run into someone that will make for an excellent companion.
The problem with online dating is that things never come up organically. You’re in a contrived setting to try and test the waters to see if there is a spark or not. Sure, I’ve met people who’ve used this method, and it worked for them. I also know bunches and bunches of people who had ZERO success from online dating, and I know of people who are still using it like a crutch and not getting anywhere.
That’s because you don’t need apps to find love. Those websites are about getting you to pay a subscription, so they can make money — money off something you can already do yourself.
All good relationships have a natural flow to them. Pieces fall into place without having to force them. Online dating has major hurdles from the beginning because it’s unnatural, people are trying to convey a certain part of themselves and not the whole, and you’re dealing with people who have multiple conversations going on at once. It becomes a competition, which is stupid. Do we really need tournaments for suitors?
When consumeristic practices invade spaces that already have a natural way of operating the result is fast food. Online dating is comparable to what you get from fast food restaurants — it’s not exactly the healthiest or sanest option.
I know that might be harsh for some people to hear, but I’m trying to help you identify why love doesn’t really seem real to you. Part of it might be your own methods or the lens you’ve been brainwashed to have, and perhaps you’re just now starting to remove that lens.
It’s Okay if You Find Love Horrific
When you’re young, firework hormone explosions overwhelm your brain cells. It’s difficult to look past those initial love spells. But as you get older — your brain and hormones gain insight. You gain experience, which gives you leverage in terms of finding an appropriate partner.
To develop any sense of romance and escape the kitty pool of consumerism — you should quite simply, and obviously, develop your own interests. Figure out what makes you passionate in this dismal world we share with billions of people (it’s not always dismal).
So when you find love horrific, don’t be too hard on yourself. Give into your indulgence to dismiss courtship. You don’t have to blather, moan, and turn it into a soapbox.
Don’t get down in the dumps because you perceive “love as horrific.” Instead, smile. Sit back. Relax. You’ve solved a puzzle, Johnny! You’re not backtracking, and likely don’t need hours of therapy to find out what Daddy issues you have that inspired your disinterest in love, you're merely out-thinking the system.
What system? The system of fabricated love that’s all around us. Coming from one existential soul to another, you deserve better. You deserve a genuine, certified reality experience — not one that’s manufactured to appease others, to accomplish some sort of life goal, or to produce spawn. The world is content with the number of humans it has, perhaps we could tone it down a little?
The COVID-19 pandemic was/is a gigantic initiator of social experiments. You may have realized in isolation, or with more quiet time, that you had actually been living too much in socialization. Perhaps you were living a life to please others, and it was easy to be on autopilot and not have to be accountable to or aware of your actions. Your greatest defense is time in introspection. If you want authentic love for yourself or a partner — lean into introspection and stop living in and around constant social dynamics.
So what is genuine love? Love should be a response to try to understand rather than throw someone under a bridge. Love is when you buy someone’s groceries because they can’t pay for their own. Love romantically is when you find someone with great integrity, who will be there when you’re sick and/or dying.
Love just on the surface level isn’t love at all — it’s lust, libido, or an infatuation complex that triggers your firework hormone factory.
So when do you know you’ve found true love? Probably not until the most important part of a marriage vow — when you don’t really deserve love; when you’re worthless because you’re sick and dying, and life for your partner might actually be easier without you.
When someone loves you unconditionally, when you feel unlovable , when someone sticks to you when you're in the middle of a mental health breakdown or cancer, that’s love… unless they’re trying to be some sort of martyr or have Munchausen by proxy.
Real love has more value than surface love. It’s when someone cares about you beyond your flaws or circumstances. They love you during the valleys of your life, and they don't accuse or criticize you just because the two of you are in a rough patch.
We Look for Love in the Wrong Places
There isn’t an exact formula for true love. You have to find and make it your own. There’s nothing wrong with letting go of the chocolates, flowers, teddy bears, and giant hearts and looking for something more real, something that clicks with you. There are a number of expressions in love that are not caught up in the demonic world of getting people to buy stuff. (Consumerism is probably not demonic… maybe.)
People are imperfect. We have holes, and so we’re hoping that in another person it will fill those voids, or they’ll be strong in an area where we’re weak.
Our needs can’t be fully met just in and of our own self — as much as we may try to hide out as a bearded hermit, conversation keeps the blood running in our veins. We also can’t expect that having someone we spend our lives with also completes those voids. It might make the load lighter (or heavier) but as finite creations, we’ll always have an itching spot that we’re incomplete. This is why all of us are easily led to addictions — whether shopping, work, drugs, lust, or a number of fascinations.
It’s those void spots that make us linger too long with someone who hurts us; it’s those void spots that make us cave to cheesy teenage love, and it’s those void spots that keep us awake at night wondering if we are really there or already dead.
A Little Self Help
Be free to be who you are. Don’t let anyone take your smile away. You deserve to relax and pamper yourself. I don’t know about you, but I get tired and stressed out about all the conversations on love and couple-dom.
Sometimes I just want to crawl under my desk and pretend everything is perfect. Or maybe build a sheet fort and just spend days watching cartoons and eating cereal. I really crave authenticity. I crave being a genuine person, so I also crave genuine relationships. A lack of integrity is a deal-breaker. In fact, it’s the only deal breaker I need. And in a world where we don’t actively pursue and develop integrity, we come up short breathing in and out cheese instead of oxygen.
You deserve to see yourself as having value, you are a priceless, one-of-a-kind gem. Your love life matters and shouldn’t be dwindled down into nonsense. It’s easy to get caught up in something if someone seems interested in you, but if it’s not genuine, and they’re just trying to flatter you, it could be a waste of your time.
You may get heart thumps for someone, but you need to evaluate and make sure you’re not being duped by flowers and wine.
Real Love is Out There
When love blossoms, you’ll be able to talk openly and honestly. You’ll feel free to be who you are and not limited. You’ll know that your dreams are still achievable. Love doesn’t get angry or dismiss someone with ease. It doesn’t shut you out just because you don’t agree with someone. Love is warm, it’s both simple and complicated, it’s tender, understanding, and loyal.
He doesn’t really love you if he’s seeing someone else, he doesn’t really love you if he doesn’t care about the people in your life, and he doesn’t really love you if he leaves you.
If she doesn’t spend time with you, if she won’t meet your family, and if she makes fun of everything you like — she’s probably not that interested.
There are billions of people on this planet. Don’t stay with someone just to keep the peace. Have hope that there is real love. Chase after real love.
Or don’t… and live happily as a party of one.
© 2015 Andrea Lawrence