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I love you. Three words that don't mean anything anymore. It's a phrase that seems more filled with obligation than the adoration it's purported to represent. The way it's cracked up, it isn't supposed to be hard. It's supposed to be magical; a whirlwind that brings us new joys each day.
It's not. Anyone that truely believes otherwise has either never been in a serious relationship or is in denial. It may seem that way at first; in fact, if it doesn't than someone is need of lessons on the subject of courting. However, there is no information available so early in a relationship. All we have is what the person before us wants us to see and our own vain hope that this person is, in some way, special. That hope is our undoing as we use it to fuel our faith in this person. In short, "young love" is an ignorant thing.
Real love isn't so pretty. It's work, and hard work at that, It would be impossible to give love a blanket definition; it means something different to everyone, but it requires a willingness for compromise and am understanding of sacrifice. There are disagreements in love, but they are handled delicately and with the utmost respect from one party to another.
And therein lies the problem. Many people claiming to be in love with another have no appreciation for any of those things. Any desire for compromise can be deemed a selfish act. Any request for sacrificeis simply lunacy. But respect most of all is overlooked.
How often have you heard an argument turned bitter fight peppered, or at least ended, with those three words of merit? If it's not many, count yourself lucky. How often, though, have has someone complained to you about their partner regarding an issue the other knows nothing about? That lack of openness is certainly a problem.
Consider a long soured relationship, for instance. We tell ourselves we still love this person, but do we really? We try to make ourselves feel that blissful contentment, but we know it's not there anymore. After every fight, every screaming, obscentity-filled test of wills, we feel that inherent fear. If we aren't with this person, then we're alone.
That's a frightening word: alone. It engenders solitude and depression. The very idea of what it means is enough to fill a person with dread. If we are alone, we have no companion, no one to share our experiences with, no one to revel in our glories, no one to console us in those dark failures. Most importantly to some, it seems, there's no one to scratch a certain itch.
So, we fool ourselves. We lie to ourselves as long as it takes until we finally believe there's still something special there. We manage to convince ourselves that this bond is somehow deeper than that which could be formed by any two humans, no matter their backgrounds.
But why do we bring this misery upon ourselves? To put it simply, we don't know we do it. More often than not it has to be someone else's doing; be it our partner, our family, or even society as a whole. There has to be someone to blame for our misfortunes, and it certainly can't be ourselves.
So, we live our lies and soften them with as many niceties as we can muster. We smile at our friends and tell them about our "wonderful" partners. Later in the evening, we curse them as yet another argument turns into a full-blown fight. But, as we love to tell ourselves, nothing's perfect. All we have to do is work at it. Together.
And there our problem is solved. As long as we're working at it, regardless how often we don't get along, then we're still together. Not alone. At least if we're together, we don't get those pitiful looks from our friends. We don't have to sugarcoat our answers when asked if we're seeing anyone. All that matters is we have this person, whether for good or ill, and that we're not alone.