If It's Bitter, It's Not Love
Love can’t do everything, because some things aren’t worth it, and it’s harmful to think that they are. In the name of love, we often put up with unpleasant circumstances and remain anchored to relationships that in reality are far from love.
The fear of loneliness, change, and regret keeps us in relationships that aren’t doing anything for us anymore, which takes away from our lives and brings us more problems and bitterness than happiness.
Sometimes we think it will be fleeting, or that the other person will change their behavior, but most of the time this doesn’t happen. What’s really happening is that there’s an absence of love. You say it, but you don’t really feel it in your body and soul…the relationship has died and it’s time to make decisions so that you can improve, despite your most limiting fears.
“I don’t care if you love me a lot, just that you love me well, and better every day.”
– Walter Riso –
Love also comes to an end
Hyperromanticism has bombarded us with with some very unhealthy, harmful ideas about love and relationships. Movies, songs, and poems have taught us that love is the only thing that gives meaning to our lives; that if it’s true love, it will be so forever; that you have to put up with anything for love, etc. And not only is this unhealthy for our emotional wellbeing, it’s also completely false.
Love doesn’t always last forever. This is normal, and it’s been scientifically demonstrated. And it also doesn’t give meaning to anyone’s life. The meaning of one’s life is not determined by external factors, but rather by oneself, through one’s interpretation of the world and their capacity for appreciation and enjoyment. And we don’t have to put up with everything for love.
Tolerating certain things about your partner is normal and healthy. We know that nobody is perfect, and that people have to tolerate many things about us, just like we have to tolerate many things about them.
The problem is when we put up with things that go against our identity, our rights, or our values. Or simply when we notice that the other person doesn’t care about us or support us anymore. It’s their right to do so and live however they please, but the moment this happens, the relationship has reached its end, and you can’t call it love anymore.
Of course, everybody loves in their own particular way. Some people are much more affectionate and expressive than others, but there are some details that we shouldn’t overlook. Lack of respect; the violation of personal rights; manipulation or trying to change our way of thinking, feeling, and living; this is all nonnegotiable. If the other person really loves you, they love you for who you are, and they’ve chosen you because you are who you are, so it doesn’t make sense for them to want to change you, hurt you, or manipulate you.
Through these reflections, you can think about your current relationship and observe yourself from the outside. Do you smile often? Or do you spend your days sad and arguing. Are you more at ease with other people than you are with your partner? Be honest with yourself when you answer each question.
How do you make the decision?
If you’ve come to the conclusion that love is conspicuous in its absence, that it’s not there anymore, but your fears are keeping you from taking a new direction, it would be good to think about it with a rational and practical mind. Consider the following advice:
- Love yourself. Don’t let anyone else treat you in a way that you know you don’t deserve. Nobody deserves to be in a relationship where they’re ignored, disrespected, or not taken care of or supported. But if you let it happen, it will keep happening. Therefore, you should establish limits, despite your fear of change. You are uniquely you, and you can only do it if you learn to love yourself and value yourself above everyone else.
- Learn to let go. Not all relationships are going to go well, and that’s a reality that occurs all around the world at any given moment. When this happens, don’t try to force things. Don’t continue on with something that’s not working. The most sensible and intelligent thing to do is to know how to let go and withdraw with dignity.
- Stop dramatizing. What’s the worst that could happen if you leave that relationship? You don’t need that person. Before you met them, you didn’t even know they existed, and you were peaceful and happy, which means they’re not vital for your life. The worst that could happen is something that you’re ready for, so you should face the situation calmly, knowing that you don’t need anyone to be happy, and much less one person in particular. Only you are responsible for whether or not you fall into a depression or emotional dysfunction.