This one’s about love.

Xavier: What’s all this sh_t about love? How do we get so nuts? The time we waste! When you’re alone, you cry, “Will I find her?” When you’re not- “Does she love me as much as I love her?” “Can we love more than one person in a lifetime?” Why do we split up? All these f_cking questions! You can’t say we’re uninformed. We read love stories, fairy tales, novels. We watch movies. Love, love, love…!
Isabelle: You could just call her back.

I just watched a film called Les poupées russes and while it didn’t really teach me anything in particular, it did have some great views of London, Paris, and St. Petersburg. That was the main reason I rented it. I liked the internationalism of it and the cinematic effects made it fun and modern. As for the main story line, the main character was a jerk, in my opinion. But then again, I’ve done a lot of the same things he has in a restless search for love and comfort, whether it be momentary or eternal. I, too, can be a jerk. It’s only because I want to find happiness as much as the next person.
I guess I’ve always felt that pure happiness could be found through true love. My two favorite movies when I was little were Pretty Woman and Father of the Bride. The idea of being rescued by the perfect guy (no matter who you were) and then having the perfect wedding always fascinated me. I want that to happen to me. I’m very well aware of the fact that these ideas have been ground into my subconscious and they’re not going away anytime soon. To be honest, that bothers me. I see other people in the world whose obsessions have nothing to do with l’amour but with their art, their livelihood, their religion or something else. Sometimes I wish one of these things were my pursuit in life. Maybe I’d feel a lot less like one of the proverbial lemmings. But since I was 4 years old, I’ve always known two things about myself to be completely and utterly true: I want to be a mom and I want to be a wife.
As of late, I’ve been reading a lot of books and spending more time at home. I’ve had no major interest in dating for a while and I haven’t felt like I’ve had a real connection to anyone in quite a long time. Years, it seems. I know it hasn’t been years, but sometimes I wonder if even my last two serious relationships, both involving many a serious discussion on marriage and even an engagement, were truly full connections. I understood these partners inside and out. I understood what they wanted and needed. I thought I could give them that. I cared enough about and loved each one enough that I thought the kind of dreamy relationships we had could stay like that forever. That I could fill those roles of everything they wanted forever. Something was missing for me though, and as much as I wanted to say “No! I love this person and I can make it work!” I knew I wouldn’t stay happy forever. Only about a minute ago did I realize that the first of these relationships was far too wild. It pushed all the boundaries I knew. The second of the two was much too comfortable. It was well within the boundaries I had known. I had a pleasant spark with both of these individuals when I first met them and it grew into love very quickly. But I was never 120% sure. 98% sure, yes. Which is fine for a school exam. But not when it comes to love. The reason why 98% sure isn’t good enough for me is that a couple times while I was growing up, I asked my mom how she knew my dad was the one. She told me she “just knew.” I couldn’t believe her at first. Of course that’s not the answer you want to hear as a kid. I don’t really know what else I was hoping she’d say, but what else could she say? “Well, kid, I just walked down to the perfect husband store and picked him in aisle 5. Right height, right price, nice eyes. When you’re 18, I’ll take you down there and we’ll see what we can find for you.” I guess that could have been easier to accept. But we all know, that’s not how it works and there’s no perfect partner store.
You see, when referring to my future partner, I hesitate to use the word husband. It seems likely, but given my past and my philosophies and especially my wonderings about love, I feel as though I would be ruling out a possibility if I just stuck to a husband. Who knows if I’ll find a husband, or just a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or just a good friend who I hang around with a lot? I know some people find their soul mate in a best friend, and they never marry. Who says we have to marry anyway? Maybe I will find a partner, but we won’t marry. Maybe we can’t marry. Remember, my obsession with marriage (thanks, Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams). That and my parents have a perfect marriage—seems like it anyway. It’s been the model in my life. So, yeah, I want one too. And I want it to last forever. It’s an instinct for me: I want to find my one and only.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m scared that once I meet the “one” I won’t appreciate it. Or I won’t be happy forever and things will go awry. Worse yet, what if I already met the one and I threw it all away? So many times I’ve had that feeling I thought was the same as my mom’s when she met my dad and “just knew.” I thought I “knew” this was it several times. But I don’t trust myself to “know” anymore. I don’t know if I can love a spouse for the rest of my life. Or even for 50 years. I do know that when I have children, I will always love them, no matter what. I know that down to the blood and marrow in my bones. I’m far more sure about having kids than I am about getting married.
So what am I getting at here? I suppose I’m just expressing my confusion and bewilderment about love. I think most of us have, at one point or another, been frustrated by love. I want to know why it’s so necessary. Why am I obsessed with finding (or being found by) my one and only? I mean, at least lately, I haven’t felt as much of a rush to find love, but I still find this sentiment inside so annoying that I feel the need to rebel against it, kicking and screaming, saying “I don’t need you!” I feel the need to write a long, ridiculous post like this one. That’s how I feel about love. How do you feel?

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5 thoughts on “This one’s about love.

  1. Hey Emily.
    I never had that impulse you have – to be a mom, or to be a wife. I still doubt I will ever be a mom. And I was single for four years after my high school boyfriend – I guess because I’m selfish, and I think love requires selflessness, to a degree: the very definition of love might be the willingness to put someone else’s needs and desires ahead of your own. No, scratch that, willingness is the wrong word. Love is the desire, the joy, of putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own.

    But here’s where the old “You need to be happy alone before you can be happy with someone else” comes in: you need to know, 100%, who you are, and what your needs and desires are, so that you can make two important distinctions when you meet somebody. First: is meeting this person’s needs going to make me happier than following the path I was on, than going down the 100% this-is-what-Emily-wants path? That’s a big deal, if you know for sure what you want and you’re willing to give it up, happily, for someone else. But you can’t know that for sure unless you know what you want. It’s quite easy to feel like being with that other person is where you’re supposed to be, if you had no sense of where you were going in the first place.

    And the clincher: is (s)he willing (happily) to drop what (s)he’s doing and do the same for me? I think that’s the ideal: when you’re ready and willing and happy to give up everything for someone, and that someone says, “You don’t have to. I want what you want, I want to put your happiness first, because your happiness IS my happiness.” Someone who gets you, someone who wants to be in a committed relationship and have babies as badly as you do. That’s when you’ll know: when both of you would sacrifice your own happiness for the other’s, but neither of you have to, because you find a way to get each other where they wanted to be in life.

    Oh – and one last thing – there are some things in life we can only do while we’re single. It’s easy if you’re searching for love to feel like it might never come, and you take your singleness for granted. But hopefully, when you meet the right somebody, that’s it – no more singleness. So take advantage of it now; it’s a phase of your life you hope that you’ll never get back, so don’t leave anything undone. It’ll keep you busy, and maybe toss you across the path of somebody like-minded. And more importantly – once you meet the right somebody, you don’t want to have any regrets.

  2. You make some good points there, Diane. I’m most affected by what you said about being happy by yourself before you can be happy with someone else. It’s true. There are a lot of things you can only do while single–that’s why I’m in Japan now! I guess things will come in due time. If they do come. Right?

  3. I have never read any of your bloggie things Em, but this one totally intrigued me. Relationships are so, incredibly funny to me and when people try to put statistics or definitions to them it only seems more comical. I remember the frustration, especially when you know what you want (at least a little bit) but you have no idea how to get it (kind of like an A in neurology- which I am studying for right now). But here are my particular thoughts on relationships (bullet form because all writing skills have been erased from my science brain):

    I agree completely with Diane (and you too :) that you have to know who you are and how to be just you before you can make yourself part of a couple. It only blurs the lines about who you are, so you have to know for sure before you get into it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not knowing and there is still so much growing up to do, so I wouldn’t sweat it.

    Marriages are truly hard work, but the cool thing about the right one, when you “just know”, is that you don’t mind the hard work, you even kind of like it. For me that was a good litmus test.

    I think you have it especially tough because so many people are attracted to you! I wonder if that can be confusing about who you really like.

    Last thought, don’t let people pressure you into feeling like you should be! Especially freakin Steve Martin (whom I love) or Kimberly Williams-Paisley (who totally married Brad Paisley, so now I love her too). I will tell you what one of my best friends told me in high school when I was boyfriend-less and bummed, “You WILL meet someone, you absolutely will meet the right person…when you’re ready”.

    So much love, Emily!

  4. Hi Emily,
    I found your blog because you live in Okazaki, and so do I. I’m married, and I love my kids and always will (you’re right), and I like my wife. But I don’t love her. Is that okay? I’ve been wondering about that a lot recently. It feels okay at the moment, because it’s easy. I wonder what would happen if I meet someone and fall in love with them. It’s scary and thrilling and I hop it never happens but I hope it happens. I wish I could choose a date for it to happen. It’s funny because I think about my oldest son as the love of my life. I have never felt the love I feel for him towards anyone. Parents, wife, previous girlfriends. Wierd.
    Anyway, must go. Keep an eye out for me. I have a white bike, and I’m usually at higashi okazaki station around 6 coming home from work. If you see me, say hello!
    Jim.

  5. If your heart is open, love will come in. -Jane Seymour in her jewelry ads

    Who knows what’s coming? Nobody. So enjoy the hell out of today! -Diane over her third thursday beer

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