a decision

Well before The Guns and I started dating I had a long-distance, on-again, off-again boyfriend.  We were like totally in love for about 6 months and then we had our first (of many more than I’d like to admit) break-up. And it was my first real, serious relationship break-up, though I’d had lots of almost and sort-of boyfriends that resulted in pre-emptive break-ups (read: there was nothing official to break up, but it still felt like a break-up), but since this had been a real and serious (read: actual) relationship, this break-up was extra hard for me.

And I felt so lame, because I was so not that girl who could not function because of a BOY!

But OMG ya’ll, I so WAS that girl.  I think because I’d actually worked on this relationship.  Like really worked (anybody done long distance? ahem, it’s work).  And beyond that whole attachment thing, this was something that I’d worked on for awhile and was failing.  This was the person I was closest to telling me that he did not want to be so close any more.

And it really doesn’t matter the reason, when you look at it that way. And so I cried a lot, and I made an abnormal call to my father (note: I love my dad to pieces, but we are just not phone people.  We should probably communicate more often, but it’s working doing the occasional e-mail thing, perhaps because we also communicate telepathically?  And by “telepathically” I mean “my mom tells him everything I say”) to ask him how in the world I’m supposed to get over this break-up.

And my dad told me that love is a decision.

That love is a lot of things, like a feeling, and yes, you can “fall” in love, but really at some point you actually decide to let yourself love someone, and then, yeah, maybe you fall, and things seem to be out of your control but at some point with a little bit of work you can decide not to love someone too. And that is how you can be ok.

It doesn’t sound romantic does it?  That you can love someone based on a decision, very much like you can invest in an IRA based on a decision?  Or decide that you should really add more fiber to your diet?

But I think it can be romantic… but first who cares if it’s romantic, if it’s TRUE?  And it so is.  Because I started to drill that into my head and for the next year while the ex and I were on and off and on and off again. I slowly learned that I should decide not to love him any more.

And then he made that decision really easy for me when he told me he wanted to date someone else… that he’d kind of already started dating.

But I digress.

So I decided not to love him any more.  But it’s more than that.  Because then I started dating The Guns.  And at some point I decided to love him.  And I wake up everyday and decide to keep loving him.

And yeah, maybe it’s romantic to think about how you can’t possibly live without someone because you just can’t and there’s no logic or reason or decisions behind it.  But there’s also something that’s flipping amazing about 2 people spending everyday deciding to love each other in spite of the messes they can be.

Sometimes the decision to love The Guns is easy.  So easy.  Actually, most of the time it’s cake.

But sometimes it can be hard.  Or tiring.  Or can involve him wanting me to give him a massage (an actual massage.  on his back. don’t be dirty) when I would really rather use my hands to move cake from a plate and into my mouth.  And I know it can be hard for him too (some proof of this).  But we decide to do it.  Our relationship, our marriage, is not a story of how lucky we are to be able to live together, a fluke that two compatible people happened to start dating, or something that magically works (though I am blessed to feel that way sometimes, but it’s a feeling, not the truth).  It’s a decision we make daily.  And I think that’s the only way it works.

What do you think?  Is love a decision?

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4 thoughts on “a decision

  1. Miles and I dated long distance for four years before we moved in together! Four years!! THAT was work. I had to put in effort every single day to make sure our relationship stayed strong. It was decision that I am so happy I made. Now that we live together and are married, I don’t feel like it’s a decision. People always talk about how you have to work to stay married… I seriously don’t understand what they mean when they say they “work” at it. I’ve never felt that I’ve had to work for a strong marriage. I worked at it when I was dating long distance, but definitely not now. We are very lucky that marriage is magical! On that same note, I can understand how it is a choice. When we were dating, we worked hard to keep our relationship strong when the easy way would have been to just break up.

    • Viktoria, I don’t disagree with you. The majority of the time my marriage doesn’t seem like work either, and certainly a long distance relationship is going to be more “work” or feel like more work than when you get to do the day to day together and have that physical closeness that you often can’t get during a period of long distance. It’s also going to be different for different people. I have many friends who are newlyweds that really have to work at their marriages, where as I feel the “work” only sometimes, but anticipate that things may get harder the longer we’re together. It’s going to be different for every person and unique to every relationship. When I talk about “working” at my marriage I mean watching my words, not just snapping at The Guns because I’m tired or in a bad mood and I can take it out on him because he’s stuck with me. For other couples it may be prioritzing time to spend together, or learning how to discuss things they disagree on in a fair way. I agree though, I’m glad I don’t feel like my marriage is work, but by putting our relationship as a priority in our life… in effect it is work.

      The decision part is more something I remind myself so I don’t become lackadaisical in my relationship. I’m in a way different situation than most women who are married… I’m in an environment where if either The Guns or I wanted to cheat, it would be very easy and even accepted (one thing I really dislike about ships)… I don’t think about cheating myself, and I don’t worry about him, but I see it happen to other couples all the time, and so I’m hyperaware of it… and I talk to people who have cheated and they say things like “I just feel so much happier with this person… and I’m in love with them, and how can I ignore that” and that is a strong argument- it’s an emotional argument though, and too many married people fall into that trap. And that’s why I say that love is a decision. Just like commitment. They are two sides of the same coin. And true, you can be attracted to many many other people and potentially fall in love with more than one person, but you will have to make that decision, to either stay focused on your spouse and decide to continue to love them, or to stray and decide to love this other person. I don’t think I’ll ever cheat, but I recognize that most people who cheat, never thought they would either… That’s why I think it’s important to recognize that love is a decision… though you’re right if you think about it that way all the time, we can focus too much on the mundane and not enjoy some of the fun, whimsical and romantic parts of love and relationships.

      Ultimately, however you look at love paints how you act in your relationships, so as long as it’s working… keep doing it!

  2. Thanks for sharing your article with me! And, yes, I agree. Love is absolutely a decision. Actually, I think it’s both – a decision and a feeling. The decision fills in the gaps where the feeling wanes. Sounds like you have that with your husband, which is a gift.

    Thanks for blogging about it. Keep it up! You’re doing great.

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