At the risk of being called a cold-hearted love hater, I’m going to say some things I believe to be true about love. Love is a chemical cocktail. There are many things more important in a relationship than love. There will be times when you don’t love your partner with everything you have. And no matter how much you love them, there are just some people you shouldn’t be with. I know.
Before you get mad at me, you should know that I’m a total romantic. I eat sappy love poems for breakfast and I still tear up a little when my wife brings me flowers (or pizza), which is still all the time. But I’ve also seen some things and done some things that gave me a much more realistic (and less exciting) view on love. I worked in a women’s shelter as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and at Planned Parenthood, as a Family Planning Assistant and Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator. Working with love and relationships and couples were my life. And every time someone said, “but I love them” as the sole reason why they should be together, my life got a whole lot more complicated. Hear me out, and I think you’ll get on my team. If not, get off my lawn. Just kidding. You’re welcome on my lawn.
I don’t care if the person your with makes you so lovesick that you can’t breathe without them. If you can’t trust them, you can’t be in a relationship with them. Trust is essential to healthy relationships. Without trust, you live a life of worry and hurt. Do you want to spend your days with the gut-twisting worry that comes with a shady partner? It’s no way to live. Trust can be a goal. It can be something you work on and get better at over time. So sometimes a lack of trust (especially in the beginning) doesn’t mean you have to end things. But you have to get there at some point — regardless of how much you love them.
Have you ever had or witnessed this conversation? “They’re such a jerk.” “Why do you stay with them?” “Because I love them.” I have. Most of the time, it was in the context of unhealthy behaviors. I don’t want to shame people who feel like love is the most important thing (because it is absolutely important), but I do want to let people know that love is not a justification for abuse or disrespect. You can love people who are bad for you, and who can’t be in your life.