I am a hopeful romantic.
In my eyes, love is the only valid reason for continuing to live on such a chaotic and restless planet as this. That state of being, the ecstasy and fever of swooning doves, the bright sparkling eyes of novelty that blossom from within, that ultimate and infinite bliss! That is why I stick around.
Now, love comes in many forms. There is self love, platonic love, romantic love, sensual love, and parental love, just to mention a few. Within all of these is, what I would consider bliss. And before I go on let me define that. Bliss is total release from fear, removal of anxiety, total acceptance of all that is presented to you. Seems pretty nice to me, and thus my reason for searching for love. Specifically, love of romance.
Romance is a dance, a beautiful intermingling of intimacy and tenderness. What I hope to find in this lifetime is a chance to connect with another being as deeply as we both know how. I have recently come to terms with the fact that this is not everyone’s desire, nor a desire I hear spoken about too often. Nonetheless, the heart wants what the heart wants, and I can only do my best to accommodate
Throughout the last five years I’ve dedicated myself to this endeavor, and it has not been easy. Thankfully, from all of these experiences, I have gleamed small nuggets of wisdom that help me maintain my peace as I continue putting my heart out to those who might accept it.
#1 Keeping love for those who say no.
The most difficult part of this journey was not getting back up and trying again, but continuing to keep my heart open and love the women who have denied my request.
And how unique a task. To keep your love toward someone, even when they say no, takes a brave heart and tender vulnerability. For me, life becomes numb if I reject this sensitivity, but so peaceful when I accept it.
This is a challenge. When we are rejected, we often feel our self worth crumble, which makes us jump to blame, external or internal, both of which never solve the problem.
“Oh it’s because…”
“Well if only she…”
“I will never find love with this…”
“All men are…”
“They don’t understand…”
Now although these may have some truth, it is not going to fix the problem. I believe an acceptance of what has happened will calm the pain more so than any type of blame placed on one person or another.
Which is where point #2 comes in!
You are not worthless because someone says no.
This action of judgement never fixes anything. I wholly agree contemplation is important—try and understand what happened—but while you do, take this advice (which, while unconfirmed, may be attributed to Ghandi):
“The person is the person, the problem is the problem.”
How poignant a statement. I’ve had at least 10 girls come into my life who I sincerely thought were pursing me romantically, and after I expressed my feelings, was dazed in realizing they had different feelings. My responses were thankful and appreciative, but when alone I would often break down as anger and sorrow came to me.
It was hard to accept, but I was mad at the problem of being alone, not the person who rejected me. Seeing the real problem will help keep us calm. We can clearly see that we are not mad at the person, we are just lonely. And while that person might have been able to help us remove a shade of loneliness, it is their choice, and we must honor that.
Now the interesting thought coming up for me is this: “But certain people are flirts, sometimes they lead you on, and then leave you high and dry. That is just wrong.”
I agree, playing with someone’s emotions is a hurtful practice, especially in an area of life that is so tender to many of us. As a remedy for this type of game playing, I often confront the situation head on. Being honest about how you feel will remove any possible doubt or confusion. Sometimes people have sexy or flirty personalities—this is a way of being, and not always meant to attract a partner. Distinguishing that is hard, but this is where honesty really shines a light on where we stand in the relationship we are having.
Regardless of how much it looked like someone wanted us, if they say no, we must respect that.
And thus, my final point
#3 Accepting the answer that is given to you.
I had an experience where a woman who I loved dearly told me of her affection for me as I left for two months in India. As the time rolled on, we chatted over the phone and confessed how beautiful and sweet our return would be. Heart fluttering to the highest degree, I had known. But when I returned, the attitude changed, and her feelings for me had left. I spent a month waiting for her to come around, being as patient as I could since she told me she still loved me but was confused on what she wanted. After enough time, I knew her feelings had shifted. Although she told me she loved me for two months, I had to let it go.
The beautiful thing that came from the acceptance was that I still felt love for her, but it no longer hurt me when she didn’t reciprocate. I could spend the day with her, and even ask her if she had found another love without jealousy or bitterness. The love for her and wanting her to be happy rather then simply pleasing myself is what kept my heart open and our friendship strong.
Relationships are tricky, and it often takes time to get what we truly desire. I think the one phrase that captures the topic is this: Love it all. Love the attraction and the rejection. Love the highs and lows. Do your best to love the other person regardless of how they want to proceed.
And maybe, just maybe, we will find love for ourselves while trying to give love, and accepting that it is not always returned. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, but one which pays off immensely. I am still single, I am still searching, and my heart will keep breaking, but I have more love for myself then i ever thought I would have.
When the day comes that I finally meet the person who will want to be with me, I will be so glad I had loving connections with others along the way, no matter the size or intensity.
Author: Nicholas Goodman
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Ivan Lee Davis/Deviantart