“I’m thinking ‘bout the way people fall in love in mysterious ways, maybe just the touch of a hand, me I fall in love with you every single day, and I just wanna tell you I am…” – Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
I am currently obsessed with this song, which is surprising given it’s romantic nature, something I haven’t been able to tolerate much of since my separation from my husband.
Like the song says, I have been thinking a lot lately (surprise surprise) about love, and feelings in general; why we have them, what dictates who we have them for, and how society views our feelings.
Chances are most of us have had one of those moments, you know the ones, where someone makes your heart flutter and your head feel faint. Most of us have had someone we just couldn’t stop thinking about, that we wanted to talk to all the time and spend every waking second with. Some people term it “puppy love”, although I’m not entirely sure what that means.
What is it that decides who we fall in “puppy love” with? Of course there are the usual stories, the cute guy from your English class, or that really sweet guy you met on that online dating site…but what about the stories that break the mold? The married man you can’t stop thinking about, or maybe you’re happily married and can’t stop thinking about someone other than your spouse; that person you can’t explain why you feel differently about than the rest of your friends, even though you have never considered yourself gay before; the infamous unrequited love story; or an abuser who only hurts you. What is it that sends our hearts into these painful situations? We usually know so well that we should not fall for these people, but it doesn’t matter.
According to society as whole, these scenarios are ones where we should not have feelings…yet it happens anyway. It’s out of our control. We can tell the feelings to go away, although I don’t know about you but personally that doesn’t usually do much good.
Married people are “off limits”, we use derogatory terms for people who fall for married people such as “the other woman” or “mistress”; and vice versa, married people are supposed to be faithful, and those who admit to having feelings for someone other than their spouse are termed “cheaters”, “scum bags” and any number of other names people (usually women) have made up. People who admit to having feelings for their heterosexual friends are often made fun of, and it’s not uncommon for the friendship to fall apart because of it. We all know the tragedy of the unrequited love story, at least these people are not usually made fun of, instead they are pitied…which I’m not sure is any better. People who stay in abusive relationships are often blamed, said to be at fault for the abuse since they choose to stay in the relationship.
We all know this stuff, I’m not telling you anything new or shocking…so why do we continue to find ourselves in these situations? I have personally found myself in every scenario I mentioned above, not because I was oblivious to the impossibility and almost certain heartbreak of the situations, but because my heart didn’t care.
Why is that? Why don’t our hearts care that situations like these will almost certainly break us? Even better question, why do we as a society look at people who find themselves in these situations in such a negative light? We know we’ve pretty much all been there at least once…yet still the stigmas exist.
Some say that these people are just desperate for love; that they’re lonely and sad. Others look to old adages like “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” and “we always want what we can’t have” to explain away situations like these. While I agree that sometimes these are accurate, I assert that this is not always the case. There have been times where they were definitely not true for me, personally.
So I’ll ask again, why?
A quick Google search for “what decides who we are attracted to?” yields 48,200,000 hits on topics ranging from “Your brain on speed dating” to articles listing “5 Insignificant things that determine who you have sex with”. Apparently I am not the only one wondering about this topic. The list of insignificant things includes things like the tilt of your head, the length of your ring finger and the number of scars on your face as factors in who we are attracted to. (…if you say so…) While the article “Your brain on speed dating” utilizes fMRI imaging techniques to look at what areas of the brain are most active when a person is viewing a potential date. Based on this information they claim that there is a section of our brain that forms a, rather shallow, first impression of the person followed by a second area that evaluates the persons compatibility with ourselves. Alright…that’s an interesting tidbit of information, but neither of those really answers my question.
So here are my thoughts on the matter…
We all need to love and be loved; it has been scientifically proven that without love we will die (for real, not being dramatic).
I think something in our soul recognizes something in someone else’s soul that draws us to that person…sometimes it’s temporary, sometimes it’s lifelong. Either way, it’s beautiful and wonderful, even if it ends up hurting, because our soul needed to encounter that person’s soul. I think often(but not always) there is something for us to learn from these situations, and our souls generally tend to keep us there until we’ve learned it; or sometimes there is something we are supposed to teach the other person. Although other times there is no rhyme or reason to it, it just happens. It’s like our souls have magnets, and sometimes we encounter someone who’s soul has an opposite magnet and we are automatically drawn together by that magnetic force. Sometimes our magnets stick together for a long time, and other times they simply touch and bounce off of each other again. Sometimes they never touch at all, but simply come close to each other and then move away.
If you look at it as I do, there are no mistakes when it comes to love as long as you follow your soul’s pull. Maybe this is a cop out, maybe it’s me justifying the “mistakes” I’ve made (and if you look at them as mistakes, there are a lot of them); maybe it’s me trying to soothe the heartbreak of my recent divorce by telling myself that I did not make a mistake in marrying him in the first place…but I don’t think so.
I’ve loved hard and deeply, I’ve trusted my soul (for the most part), I’ve been true to myself and honest even when it hurt…and I’ve hurt a lot; I’ve shattered into a million pieces, and then put myself back together. In the end, though, I’ve followed my soul…I haven’t let society’s opinions of who I should and shouldn’t love stop me from loving anyway. I’m proud of that.
Love is incredible, it’s magical and wonderful and mysterious; it’s hard and scary and painful too. It doesn’t make sense, at all, and that’s part of the beauty of it.
I have come to the realization that, as painful as it is, our hearts feel what they feel and there isn’t really a whole lot we can do about it. I started this post wishing that I could know why my heart betrays me like this, but I’m ending it with the sense that understanding that would take away the magic that is love…and goodness knows I do not want that.
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