To be, or not to be … in love

Love has gone from something sacred, something shared between two people who are crazy about each other, to something exploited on reality television and within society as a sport of sorts. The demise of the American intimate relationship is probably one of the most heartbreaking realities of this generation. Relationships have become disposable and the value of a lifelong partnership has been greatly reduced. I don’t often get the chance to express my complete sentiments on this topic, but after several pre/post-holiday conversations with friends about this love thing … here it goes.

My father always warned me of falling in love with this thing he called a “representative.” He told me that people (men and women alike) have this representative, or person they pretend to be attracted to and make themselves fall for them. And then … at some point in the relationship, you begin to see the real person. Sometimes this representative dissolves after several months, but some linger for years. The problem with this representative phenomenon is that some people marry the representative and then when the real person reveals himself or herself, it’s too late to get out or it just adds to the already staggering marriage/divorce statistics. The other problem with this is that sometimes people don’t even realize that the person they try to make people believe they are, is not really them … they have in essence conned themselves into believing they are something they are not. And that, my friends, is an issue for an experienced therapist!

This holiday season, someone is reading this article while evaluating their relationship or lack thereof. I will share that I have experienced this representative thing a time or two. With totally transparency to my readers, I will tell you my truth … I fell so madly in love with a man who I thought was the best thing since white chocolate wonderful peanut butter … for those of you who know me, you know that this means something significant! After what I thought was a great relationship, he decided he wanted out, but I later found out it wasn’t something I did, not that he didn’t love me anymore, but that his representative had gotten him in over his head. You see, instead of saying from the beginning that he had no interest in marriage, he led me to believe he was … of course until he couldn’t hide from it anymore. The representative could longer hold up appearances, so the relationship shattered with me looking at this man like he had played the worst type of game with my heart. You see, this representative phenomenon as well as the adoption of love as a sport, being used for alternative reasons besides the search and selection of a life partner has made many no longer want to partake.

My closest friends will tell you that I am openly and certifiably a hopeless romantic. I suggest that there is no beauty or fun in obtaining all of your life’s goals without having someone to share them with. I suggest that it is no fun growing old alone, and I believe that in the deepest part of our hearts, we all want partnership, happiness and the ability to be our true selves with someone. But we must choose it (love) … daily.

In a society that often praises independence, we tend to forget that we do need others. I’ve said it in the political arena before, but it applies here as well: we are all interdependent. We do, truly need each other. It is absolutely crazy to believe that we can function in this world alone. I watched a recent documentary on my long lost sister, Beyonce, where she opened up about her marriage with Jay Z. She said, “There is nothing more exciting than having a witness to your life.” I greatly agree. I believe that love and marriage have gotten a bad rap. We have lost sight of the beauty in partnership, the idea that lifelong partnership is greater than any career goal or social status. I believe that happiness comes from within, but life, with a partner committed to support and witness your life, as you do theirs, brings joy so special it can only be described as bliss.

I remember growing up, imagining the day that I solidified my relationship with that special someone. I grew up believing that it was the norm for folks to court, date, engage and marry. It was a significant part of the American Dream. It’s something I hope my future children are able to dream about. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Where there is love, there is life.” So … to be or not to be in love? #ChooseLove