Everytime a sentence starts like this, I find myself leaning forward with all the eagerness I can muster, dying to hear the second half of what love feels like. Even though I have met many people who are in love, I have never really heard any of them describe it with an all-encompassing description that beats everything else. So yes, I am always eager to listen and collect these descriptions of love that people drop here and there. But so many times, my eagerness has been met with an anti-climax. The many halves I’ve heard have made it so clear that many people truly do not know what love is. Cultural beliefs, environmental influence, and patriarchal relationship propaganda have influenced the way many people, especially women, view and understand love.
So I was not surprised when one day, a colleague interrupted my conversation with another colleague to tell me point blank that I have never been in love. She sounded really convinced, that anyone who was meeting me for the first time at that very moment would have indeed believed my life has been void of love.
Let me give you a little background.
In our communal office space, I was discussing continuous infidelity with one colleague and was explaining as I have on this blog many times, that so many women have been hurt badly, and by badly I mean terribly. Many women are insane as it is, trailing their husbands everywhere, stalking all his female friends and colleagues and threatening fire and brimstone whenever they see any woman with him. Some women have developed what they call ‘coping mechanisms’. They ignore the problem. They post pictures on Instagram and Facebook highlighting all the symbols of love they have in their lives when truly, those things are nothing more than symbols. The actual act and substance of love.
Some women have developed what they call ‘coping mechanisms’. They ignore the problem. They post pictures on Instagram and Facebook highlighting all the symbols of love they have in their lives when truly, those things are nothing more than symbols. The actual acts and substance of love are missing. Some women have found themselves exploring infidelity as a coping mechanism. Many of those on these ‘coping gang’ look fine, they act fine, they sound fine, but truly they are not.
I explained to the person I was having this conversation with that one factor that is responsible for loss of self-worth, loss of identity and all the different kinds of emotional chaos many women in relationships experience when they try to sleep at night, is the fact that love is no longer being served, but they are not willing to leave the table.
Then the interruption came thundering from the desk across the room…
You have never been in love… because you clearly don’t know how to give your all to someone, and not receive anything in return.
I knew who it was. She had a knack for jumping into shallow waters with a dive, so I really was not surprised that she was yet again jumping uninvited into my conversation with someone else.
The first thought that crossed my mind was to silence her with the most cutting response that crossed my mind; but instead, I smiled and asked how she arrived at that conclusion. She didn’t answer my question but had many more lessons for me about how love makes a person give and give, and even after they’ve been hurt continuously and ripped of their self-worth, they cannot leave because they are in love.
You’ve never been in love if you’ve been hurt over and over and you leave. Love makes you give yourself without expecting anything in return.
“You’ve never been in love if you don’t feel the need to give up your dreams and aspirations for this person.”
“You’ve never been in love if you have never felt the need to love him so much, your love is enough for the both of you.”
What does that even mean? Loving someone enough for the both of you. That’s like loving a nomadic stray dog and hoping it will stay with you because your love is enough for both of you. I proceeded to ask her the questions that fired through my mind.
Does love leave you empty? Does it make you question your worth? Does love make you cry, make you insane, make you stalk other women and threaten them? Does love leave you unhappy?
Yes, these were the questions I asked her, and she could not respond.
Why do people think being in love is equal to emotional bankruptcy? Why are women out there still thinking that expectations are not required in a relationship? I see it every time: “Don’t expect anything and you will not be hurt.” What on earth is wrong with people who peddle this notion as the gospel foundation of every relationship?
I’ll tell you what’s wrong. They have developed a coping mechanism that expects hurt and puts up with it. They have put up with an erosion of their self-worth for so long, that they do not expect anyone to treat them better. I hear even Christian women peddling this (Since the devil now sends demons to pose in churches as bachelors)
“I don’t expect my husband to make me happy. God is the only one who can make me happy.”
Yea…it does not get sadder than that. If your husband is not expected to make you happy, then he is by default either going to make you sad or have absolutely no effect on you. And yea, I hear some of you championing for the latter, so I’ll ask: if he has no effect on you, why is he your husband? What is the purpose of your union? Why are you with him? Why are people peddling this martyr-ish type of love as normal? It is not. Sure your husband cannot give you JOY. God gives that. But your husband should aim to make you happy as you also aim to do the same for him. It is his duty to make you happy as it is yours to make him happy. What he cannot give you is joy. That comes from within.
If you still believe in giving up yourself till you are completely eroded without expecting anything in return, please understand this:
Love does not leave you void. It cannot leave you void even if it tried. Love does not make you give up yourself for nothing. Love does not make you stand in front of the mirror and question if you are still pretty enough or if you still got it. Love does not hit you with pain pangs that feel as though your heart is about to fall out of your chest, nor does it make you anxious about yourself, your life, your decisions and even your past.
“Oh Demi please spare us. You are single. You don’t know the reality of life.” LOL.
If there is one thing I am sure of, it is the fact that love makes you better. Love brings out the innermost in you and makes it grow. Love reaches you in places you didn’t think you even had. And yes, you will give yourself for this love. But you will not have to train yourself to expect nothing in return. Because this love will always seek to ‘outgive‘ you.
PS: Check out my YouTube channel. Search Demi Fayemiwo.