03 November 2013

Stubbornness is a Symptom of Love

“She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women. Don't let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong! But they were words she could not say.

The only thing she said when he released her from his embrace was, "You don't know how happy I am to be with you." That was the most her reserved nature allowed her to express.” 
― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

Stubbornness is a symptom of love.

Even in the most blatant and outright expression of rejection, a man or woman in desperate love would cling on to the thinning fibers of what had once been a beautiful tapestry of magic and soul and love. Begging for the return of a fairy tale laid to waste, hoping that things can still be right again.

In some cases, this can still hold true. In others, that dream is a fallacy destined to damn that hopeless lover into the shriveled persona of Miss Havisham. Leaving its full weight on his or her shoulders, to carry alone, when once they were two.

Fixated in that faint glimmer of hope, twinkling faintly in that distance, this poor soul would reach to the farthest edges of the earth trying to claim that fading star - doing the wretched, the foolish, the impossible - because that is what you do to claim a dream. You do everything that you can to be worthy of that dream.

More than a year has passed me, and time, I fear, has rendered me no more wise on the ways of love.

In the past year, struggle had been a constant companion as I sifted through the stories that had drained me to my very bones. Love can be filling, it can plump up one's heart, inspire boundless joy but similarly, love can be painful, leaving you starving until your very meat feels no more than mildew clinging onto your bones that feel no sturdier than dust.

When I have decided to walk away, I realize that love is beyond complying to a dream of a perpetual tomorrows with glorified endings under a colorful rainbow of memories to come, love is taking a step back and doing what will eventually and hopefully be what's best.

In the light of this, I write not to divulge my personal story, but to share the trials of a dear friend. I had once written how she had bravely stepped out of her comfort zone to fight for a love she feared to have lost due to her failures in the past. And truly, she had painstakingly filtered her entire lifestyle to accommodate the demands that this fight entailed. As her friend, our invitations had been constantly denied so she can devote as much time to the one man she wants to prove her love to. Despite so, we often find her at her wits end, in disarray, in paranoia and in desperation, as she could not convince him completely. Several times she would admit that it was her own doing that has caused him to be so fickle-minded and unsure, and to a given degree, I would permit her this self-bashing. Nonetheless, after a year of this confused cat and mouse chase, I fear that she has already earned her stripes, and yet her guilt remains weighing her down.

What worries me is that even in the midst of this turbulent lovesick puppy dog chase, she remains unshaken in her resolution to win him back. She has completely closed down all other options of dating, and has stood her ground that there can be no other person she could possibly love the same way. As much as I can say I admire her conviction, I am concerned for her well being. In optimism, I pray that we shall one day look back on these days and laugh how ridiculous and crazy this obsession had been.

A dear guy friend of mine had shared this truth with me previously, of which I wish to impart to her:

“If he’s not calling you, it’s because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn't follow through on little things, he will do same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he’s okay with disappointing you. Don’t be with someone who doesn't do what they say they’re going to do. If he’s choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn't respect your feelings and needs. “Busy” is another word for “asshole.” “Asshole” is another word for the guy you’re dating. You deserve a f*cking phone call.” 

“A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the woman he loves” 
― Greg Behrendt, He's Just Not That Into You"

The asymmetric exchange of personal investment in a relationship surely would cause one party to feel short-changed; and the fulfilling exuberance of giving becomes emotionally burdensome - doubt begins to seep in, questions begin to surface, conversations begin to be guarded - how can love possibly survive in constant withdrawal? Milan Kundera, my go-to love expert, writes, "No love can survive muteness", and I fear, the muteness of thoughts, the stifling of feelings, the hindrance of love will eventually poison a person to madness.

Stubborness is a symptom of love; but permit me to end this little discourse with the more civilized tongue of once again, Milan Kundera:

"But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave." 

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