Love Can't Endure All Things
How much bullshit should you put up with when you love someone?
Today's article addresses an email I received from a reader who wants to know what happened to overcoming anything through the power of love.
Dear Telltale Har,
I’ve been wondering—how long do we allow love to excuse other's behavior? To me, love should be the driving force behind people's actions, especially in a relationship. When things go a bit sour in a relationship, but you still have love for them, when do you call it quits?
I've wanted to quit because I’m tired of spending more time fighting and trying to prove my worth, than actually loving one another... but at the same time, I love him and feel the urge to try and make it work because I know we can overcome anything through love.
He claims he loves me, but is quick to walk away, and that hurts considering we were engaged, with plans for marriage. What happened to "through thick and thin?" He may be a bit possessive, and I may be a bit free spirited, but there has to be a middle ground.
Qualms Uprooting Intimate Ties
Hi there, QUIT—
I've been thinking about this email for a while.
There's a lot to unpack here.
You say, "I know we can overcome anything through love," but I want to tell you—that simply isn't true.
Through religion and media we're taught that love is some sort of powerful force that surpasses all other emotions and binds us together forever.
Romance novels and films will show us a disastrous couple going through a bunch of serious bullshit: they'll hurt one another, fight constantly, cheat on each other, you name it— and then they'll ultimately end up together in the end regardless.
Religion makes us believe that we are supposed to love who we claimed we'd love and we need to love them forever, or die (paraphrasing here).
The fact of the matter is—after initial attraction and infatuation, loving someone is a choice, as well as an action.
There is no rule saying that because you claim to love someone, you have to put up with their bullshit.
Spending a lot of time fighting = not worth it.
Trying to make someone see your worth = DEFINITELY not worth it. If they don't recognize your worth from the get-go and find ways to tell you how much you mean to them on a damn near daily basis— let 'em go, no matter how much you love them.
If your S.O. is quick to walk away, even though the two of you are engaged to be married, it doesn't seem as though he's really taken his proposal to heart.
I am not sure how long you've been together, but proposing to marry someone seems like a pretty big deal. He's saying he chooses to love you, 'til death do you part, and should hold up his end of that bargain. Unless of course, he no longer feels like his proposal holds any weight. If that is the case, it's best to let him go when he decides to walk away, and keep him away when he goes.
You mention he is "a bit possessive" and that automatically raises some red flags for me. Possessiveness is not a positive quality by any means. Since you didn't go into detail I'm unsure of how he shows his possessiveness but with your mention of you being a "free spirit," I'll imagine his jealously overflows into your relationship quite often when you interact with other human beings of either the same, or opposite, sex. That sort of behavior is intolerable and a bit of jealousy and possessiveness is not as "healthy" as most people claim. It's child's play.
The moral of the story is—no matter how much you love someone, you don't deserve to be made to feel disposable, and love can't be an excuse for staying in a less-than-ideal relationship.
Now if you truly adore this person in a can't-eat-can't-sleep-can't-think kinda way, I'd recommend talking to him about couples therapy. That would offer you both a safe space to voice your concerns and insecurities to a third party who will be able to help you both see that you should either split up and move on, or communicate what it is you both need in this relationship.
Until next time,
As always, feel free to email in with any questions of your own: [email protected]
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