Yes, I’m a Cynic. No, I Don’t Believe in Love.

If I had a dollar for every time I went to begin a blog post with “I’m not a positive person” or some such variation, I’d have a heckin’ lot of dollars. But that gets boring after a while, and incredibly depressing, when you think about it. It is, nevertheless, kind of true. I mean, I don’t sit around all day every day, staring at the wall with a glum expression, and thinking about all the bad things in the world. I do however, have a tendency to be incredibly cynical (or realistic, depending on your view, but I for my part, am very realistic about my cynicism), and often that comes across as the same thing.

I’ve been single for a very long time, and have never had what you would call a long romantic relationship. The reactions I get from people when they learn this, is generally one of shock and/or incredulity, expressed in some kind of over the top reaction that would be better suited to stage than real life. Yes, there are single people in the world and yes, when you get all dramatic about our lack of love life, we do kind of want to punch you a little bit. We don’t need to be pitied, and we’re not (necessarily) miserable. To be honest, I think single people are simply not the norm. Particularly single people in their mid 20’s; the time when many other twenty-somethings are married/having babies. There’s almost this unspoken expectation that if you’re not in a relationship (for a long period of time) then there must be something inherently wrong with you. We single people are not a different species, I promise you.

I may be single because I haven’t yet met the person I want to spend any significant amount of time with. And also because, well…I like being on my own, and people actually suck. But here’s where it gets into the heart of the matter; I simply do not believe in the adulated concept of love. I understand, of course, that love exists. There are probably millions of songs and poems and plays and movies dedicated to it, after all. So perhaps it is not that I don’t believe in love, but more that I don’t believe it’s sustainable in the long term. By this, I am of course only refering to love of the romantical* kind, not love of the platonical** kind; that’s a whole different beast. You often hear it said that “the honeymoon period is over”, but it seems that once this supposedly magical, yet apparently measurable period of time ends, so too does the effort it takes to maintain a relationship. I have lost track of the amount of people I know (or follow on social media) who have made grand announcements about engagements and marriages, only then to be separated months after their nuptials. Or people who have actually said “now I’m married so I don’t have to try anymore”. It’s like they care more about appearances and having the party than actually continuing to love their partner after the last guest has left.

I’m not bitter because I’m single, and these words don’t come from a place of malice or jealousy. I actually think not being in a relationship allows me to look at them with a clear head, and without the tint of rose coloured glasses clouding my judgement. Anyone who knows me, will have heard me say that I think marriage is a pointless institution, and archaic to boot. Look, maybe I’m wired wrong, but I don’t see the point in spending a billion dollars on a single day, when there’s a significant possibility that the marriage will end. Will I celebrate my friends getting married, and be happy for them? Absolutely. I don’t begrudge them a thing, truly. But I also won’t be surprised if they come to me in 12 months time and tell me they’re getting a divorce. Love can be a beautiful illusion, but I am fully aware of how quickly that illusion can be shattered.

You’ve all heard the saying “all good things must come to an end” and I can’t help but believe that this is particularly true about love. I realise that, in much the same way you don’t buy a car to crash it, you don’t get into a relationship with someone expecting to break up. But you can’t deny the possibility that you will. Think of all the partners you’ve had in your life, and how many relationships you had before you met “the one”. How do you know that this one won’t be like the rest of them? How do you know that when you say you want to spend your life with someone, that they will feel the same way? It’s true that, like anything, there are exceptions. I’ve seen plenty of cute hand holding little old couples that kinda make my heart warm. But in this day and age, they’re the minority.

The truth is, I never go into anything without considering every possibility, positive or negative. And the fact that I expect the worst outcome means that I am indeed a cynic. But the plus side is, when things do turn out well, at least it’s a pleasant surprise. At least that’s something!

*rarely used, but it is actually a word.

**not actually a word, but it I’m all about that continuity, don’t you know.

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Glass Girl

‘I am in love with you,’ she said, ‘and it is powerful and all consuming, and more intense than anything I have ever known. And I want desperately not to love you, because it would be easier. Because it breaks me just a little more every day, and I’m terrified of losing you, and terrified of losing myself all at once. I am made of glass, and with every tiny fissure, I weaken. One day, I will shatter, and all that will be left of me will be fragments of a glass girl. If I was a stronger person, I would walk away, find someone new, settle into a love that is just good. But I have too long been yours, and could no sooner walk away than I could carve out my heart from my chest. I am bound to you, love. And gods help me, but when it hurts, and I’m crying on the bathroom floor at three in the morning, you’re still the person I call to make it better.’

Elastic Love

Love is a little bit like a rubber band. Love, like a rubber band, can bind two things together and hold them fast. Love is elastic, it can be stretched to the limit and still manage to spring right back. Love, like a rubber band, is durable but can also be incredibly fragile. If you stretch the boundaries of another person’s love for you, there’s every chance that it is going to snap. And even if you manage to fix it, tie it back together, that knot is always going to be there, marring what was once whole.

Imagine you and the person you love, are bound together by a giant, invisible rubber band. That band wraps around you both and is made up of everything you share with that other person. Sometimes it can bring you close together, and sometimes you need to walk in opposite directions so the band stretches out and gives you some room. That band is your relationship, your love. In every relationship, there are going to be hardships. The thing about love is that it is never one hundred percent easy, and you can’t ever expect that a relationship is going to be all good, all the time. So you need to be flexible.

Rubber bands have a certain amount of stretch. Sometimes you can push the boundaries and get more give than you thought possible. But if you take that elasticity for granted, you’re going to break it. Love is the same. A lot of things can test the boundaries of your love and your relationship. Everything from money issues to a sudden unexpected death, from insecurities to a lack of trust. When hardships occur, it is ok to need space, a bit of room, a bit of give. The trick is not letting that invisible band of love stretch too thin. Because the minute you do, you weaken it and when it gets too weak, it will inevitably break.
elastic
Of course, the elastic band theory doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. You have elastic bands with every person you know, and some will have more give than others. One of my strongest elastic bands was stretched a bit lately. The very notion that it could have broken, though unlikely, scared me more than I think I really want to admit. Flashes of possible scenarios went through my head, my thoughts going, as they are prone to do, straight to the darkest places. We talked it out, my rubber band person and I, and everything was ok. It was a strong reminder of that which I have already stated here; love is not always easy. But when you get it right, it’s worth every second.

Lover’s Lament

In the dark of night he lost his fight and took his final breath.
He closed his eyes and gently smiled and gladly welcomed death.
The one he left was so bereft and couldn’t bear the sorrow.
Of losing one she loved so dear to a place she could not follow.
She slowly withdrew from the people she knew and became a fragile shell.
For every day without him was a living, wretched hell.
Her shattered heart soon fell apart and crumbled into dust.
Her blood stopped pumping through tender veins and slowly turned to rust.
She fell to sleep, a slumber so deep that she could not be woken.
And when she died, her family cried for a girl, once whole, made broken.