“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No… don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”
I’ve never believed in being in love.
Although I thought I once did.
I stopped believing in this idea when I realized that it’s easy to confuse the feeling of being in love with the feeling of being afraid to lose someone.
I thought I was “in love” with Harry*. Looking back now, I see my relationship with him in a new perspective.
I was deathly afraid of losing Harry when we were together. For years I walked on eggshells, trying to say and do all of the right things to please him, and yet, I was hanging from the edge of a building with buttery fingers. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t have Harry to love. So I gripped on to the building for dear life, feeling very sure that the desperate feelings I felt for Harry were because I was in love with him.
I stopped believing in being in love when I recognized this catastrophic confusion in my emotions.
I also don’t believe that there is only one person in the world meant for me. I believe in trusting the universe that everything is evolving as it should—but that is a lot of pressure on the universe to expect the love of your life to just drop right into your lap.
Sure, this could happen, but I believe it takes a lot of bravery and guts to recognize what the universe is dropping into your lap sometimes. A soul mate could be standing right in front of you—serving you your coffee every single day, or passing you in the opposite lane. Maybe your soul mate is sitting next to you in your poetry class, or maybe they live in another country—in a life you’ve never yet imagined.
I believe you can have many soul mates. People come in and out of our lives for various reasons—each serving some purpose. However long or short their stay is with us, they are important.
I believe we are encountering soul mates all the time. Sometimes they become permanent fixtures in our lives, and other times, they are just meant to be with us for a little while.
Let me get back to the point that I don’t believe there is only one person in the world for me. I say this because love takes a lot of work. Being in love is scary, rocky, tumultuous. Really loving someone takes time, consistency, stability and effort. Sharing your life with someone means sharing the same values, similar integrity and morals, similar motivations and goals. Perhaps the person I’ll share my life with isn’t even a soul mate at all—just someone I happen to meet and connect to in a deep, grounding way.
Because that is what love is to me.
Love is grounding and freeing at the same time. I believe love should keep me safely tethered to a parachute while I jump out of a plane, or to a set of cables used to support my weight as I ride a zip line over a jungle canopy.
But being in love? I don’t believe in being in love. Being in love is fleeting.
I believe in love. The grounding, permanent, bring-me-coffee-in-bed kind.
*My family is wondering who the heck Harry is. This isn’t his real name.
Editor: Brianna Bemel