Recently, it has come to my attention that many of my single friends — from Flagler or Tucson — have been romantically frustrated.
Having engaged in numerous conversations about the definition of true love and how to find it, I thought I’d share some of my reached conclusions.
Let me first just say that love is much too complex to ever be broken down into five simple truths. It’s so multi-dimensional and layered, and at times, just plain cumbersome and convoluted. No single person has all the answers. And to claim that would be delusional and pretentious.
What I’d like to do here is offer some of my personal insights into the truth and challenges of finding love and keeping it. Some have found the following words beneficial, whether they agree with all of them or not. My hope is that you can take something of value out of this post.
Here we go…
I believe that ground zero to any romantic relationship is reciprocal feelings.
SIMPLE TRUTH #1: True love is always mutual.
Both people have to feel the same way.
Having both physical and emotional chemistry is paramount. Without it, I don’t see much reason to go any further.
This first truth may seem painfully obvious to most people, but unrequited feelings are actually quite common within relationships. Where one person is in love but the other isn’t. Simply put, I think that feelings must be two-sided and of equal strength.
OK, so some of you are saying, “Yeah, Kim. I’ve been in love before. I just can’t find Mr. or Ms. Right.”
So why do people not find real love? Why do people not find “the one”?
Sometimes it’s merely bad luck. Not meeting the right person. Not being in the right place at the right time.
But in general, I believe that people who don’t find love, don’t find it because of three overriding reasons.
The first is self-explanatory — emotional guardedness. Obviously you can’t find real love if you’re emotionally fortified. Love is all about “the fall,” being vulnerable and embracing it every step of the way.
The second — and pay attention now — is people convincing themselves that there’s a certain “type” of person that they fall in love with. They think that love fits into this neat little package, and if someone doesn’t fit their “criteria,” then they can’t love them.
What a bunch of nonsense.
If you had asked me when I was younger what kind of a man I was going to fall in love with, I would’ve said, “A good Catholic who was extroverted, got good grades and was career-driven.”
Well, Sky, who is my fiancÃ© of more than nine years, is an introverted atheist who dropped out of high school.
I mean, even now I can sit here and say, “I could never fall in love with a conservative Republican,” but who knows? I mean, anything is possible.
SIMPLE TRUTH #2 : If you want to find love, you have to be open to falling for anybody.
Because real love has nothing to do with types.
Of course, it’s fine to have preferences. But people aren’t something that you can program to your liking. They aren’t pets or projects that you can mold or manipulate into your ideal prototype.
Let’s go back to Sky again. He is liberal, open-minded, funny, smart and charming. He’s also insightful, verbally-skilled and good-natured — all qualities that I prefer in a lover. But I wish he was more patient, I wish he was better in groups, I wish he was more initiative, I wish he was more optimistic.
Point blank, no one is ever going to be exactly the way you want them to be, and it’s not reasonable to expect that, because everyone has traits you wish were different about them.
And vice versa.
I mean, let’s turn the tables for a second. What if you met someone who you felt really strongly about and had all the qualities you ever wanted, but you didn’t fit into their package? For instance, they say, “I think you’re great, but I like guys (or girls) who like sports. And you don’t, so this isn’t going to work out” or “I like girls (or guys) with blonde hair, and you’re a brunette, so…bye.”
How would you feel then?
Of course, a cynic might say that people just use all these “criteria” merely as justifications for being single. This is completely plausible, however I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument.
To get to the heart of it — Sky and I have great chemistry, we love each other unconditionally as friends, we’re in love with each other, and we’ll never leave one another no matter what.
So who the hell cares about the rest?
SIMPLE TRUTH #3: When you find true love — any kind of love — you realize how petty everything else is.
That common interests, tastes, personalities, habits or backgrounds are irrelevant. That they have nothing to do with love.
I believe the cornerstones to any loving, quality relationship are warmth, kindness, open and honest communication;, generosity, appreciation, reliability, consideration, understanding, physical affection and loyalty. Nothing else matters.
In general, I think people don’t enter romantic (or platonic) relationships with the right perspective. I believe that’s one of the reasons why they don’t find real love: They follow their heads too much instead of their hearts. They focus on trivial matters that obstruct them from seeing what’s really important. They get so caught up with the details that they can’t see the big picture.
Even though this is the fourth one down, I think it’s the most poignant truth:
SIMPLE TRUTH #4: True love is warm, kind and all-accepting…completely free of judgment or criticism.
It says, “I love you for who you are. I love you no matter what.”
It provides unconditional acceptance.
To round the home stretch with this, the third and final reason I believe people are unable to find love is simply (or not so simply) a lack of will power. I guess this is more commonly referred to as having “commitment problems.” Not having the discipline or resilience to overcome difficult personal situations.
This throwing up of the hands at the first or 50th sign of trouble.
SIMPLE TRUTH #5: Love never gives up when things get hard.
It’s steadfast and unyielding through the greatest adversity. It’s stubborn and unwavering.
To use a couple examples — My sister is a bipolar drug addict, who’s currently in rehab. One of my best friends is coming off a crippling depression that made her completely unable to function for six months. My love for them isn’t phased at all.
True love never is.
It’s not deterred by time. It’s not deterred by distance. It’s not deterred by flaws, fights, trials or tribulations. It’s always there, no matter what. Through all the times you are broken and weak, all the times you act terribly, all the times you want to give up and not deal with it anymore. Through all the blood, sweat and tears, it remains.
Because when it comes to love — true love — you can’t turn away from it, no matter how hard you try to fight it. It always finds its way back. And you can’t help but return to the people you love.
Real love isn’t fleeting. It’s all encompassing and ever-present. It’s both soft and sentimental and at the same time, massive and overpowering. Love relentlessly fights through challenges with a Never-Say-Die defiance. It says to life, “Come on, give me everything you’ve got. I’ll still be here.”
Its passion supersedes all else.
To use a quick example — Sky’s and my nine-year anniversary was in October. Our car had broken down the day before. On the exact day (Oct. 15), we had spent dawn til dusk trying to resolve it, fixing the car and running around like chickens with our heads cut off.
Stressed and demoralized, we were walking home after dropping off the car at the shop.
“What a great anniversary this turned out to be. Geez,” I said, shaking my head.
“Well, I think it’s all kind of fitting,” Sky said.
It made me stop and think.
“Yeah, you’re right. It is,” I said. “You mean that we always stick by each other no matter what, and we’re always there for each other through everything.”
I believe that so much of love has to do with faith.
So, to people who are in relationships and those who aren’t —