Romantic love is assumed to be one the most essential components of a happy human existence, but is it really?
I have loved deeply and felt the burning desire for another. I have looked into handsome eyes and believed that my heart has found its home. I have said I love you and I have said forever.
I have impulsively spoken the words “You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me,” and, “I couldn’t survive without you,” with none of it ever holding true.
I have had great memories with great guys. I have cared for them deeply and shared intimate moments with them, but even at its best, romantic love has never lived up to all the hype.
The greatest loves of my life will always be my mom, my girlfriends and my dog.
Romantic love is wonderful, but the love of a mother who can answer your frantic call and calm you down in an instant by reminding you that “it will be okay,” is nothing to be scoffed at.
My mom is my person, my number one confidant. I go to her when I am over the moon excited because of a new opportunity or when I am under the weather because of a huge disappointment.
When I first got to college, I realized almost immediately that my mom was the one person on earth who liked to talk about my life almost as much as I do.
Now the paradigm of our relationship has shifted from daughter and doting mother, to best friends. Best friends, who love to make giant Cobb salads, go for walks around the neighborhood and shop for yoga clothes together.
She never doubts that I will do great things, even if I sometimes doubt myself. She would move mountains to help me and I would cross the earth to help her. She is the love of my life.
I have a handful of girlfriends who I love like the sisters I never had. They are the friends who don’t sugar coat shit. They tell it like it is: messy, imperfect and difficult. We talk about the crazy men who test our sanity daily. We talk about our families candidly, because we understand that unconditional love does not come without the test of frequent frustration.
We don’t have to see each other all the time, but I know that when I need them they will be there for me and vice versa. We buy one another flowers, lattes and silly little gifts. They encourage me to be brave when I am scared and I listen to them when they are feeling overwhelmed. These are my true loves.
I wake up to his wet nose and wagging tail every morning. I fall asleep with his furry head under my chin and my arms around him. He is always thrilled to be with me and we both light up when we see each other. He thinks everything I say is interesting, even if it is just mumbled baby talk about whether he wants a cookie and who is a good boy.
We take long walks in the woods, we explore the city and he even joins me each day at work, where he keeps the building secure from squirrels when he isn’t napping in my office. When I see my dog happy, I am happy. When I am sad my dog knows and leans into my side. When the world breaks me down, I wrap my arms around his neck and let my tears fall into his fur. He is my other half.
As a female in the second half of my twenties, I feel the pressure beginning to build for me and my female friends. Like a force indicating we take romantic love even more seriously, so we can lay the appropriate foundation for getting a guy to marry us.
Then so many of us end up getting dragged along for several more years than anticipated because our mister is afraid of commitment or really just afraid of growing up.
When I contemplate the perceived importance of having a successful and fulfilling romantic relationship, it seems a bit distorted. When we have so much love in our life, why does a romantic partner have to be the love of our life? Why can’t they be a love in our life?
Are significant others really the most significant of the others we love?
Instead of grasping onto, and for, romantic love, it is time to pay homage to the undeniably passionate and perfect love shared between family, friends and our furry four-legged companions.
I love you. You are the loves of my life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kimby Maxson/ Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wikipedia Commons