Three of my friends got engaged recently. For some reason I found it difficult to feel happy for them. In all cases I knew that the friends had had traumatic times with love and that these were whirlwind romances. Why is it we seek to make such rash judgments on people who are clearly incredibly happy? Why did I feel the need to pour cold water on a hot love affair?
It’s so very easy to jump to a quick conclusion and speculate a future of doom. I’m sure so many of us have done it but I’m also sure that many of us have also felt ourselves falling head-over-heels. And that feeling of just knowing that this is “the one”. (Of course none of us know that. But none of us know they aren’t “the one” either).
Falling in love is for so many of us the one time we allow ourselves to live in the present. And you’ll hear this a lot from me – the present is the only place we can be truly happy. I’ll write more about that another time. For now let’s stick with love.
Living in a past love can only be painful. It will always remind us of a love we’ve lost for some reason – maybe death, or due to circumstances. Maybe through our own choice. Maybe through the choice of another. In any event, the reflection of a love passed will always be tinged with sadness, regret, rejection.
Living in a fantasy of a future love that doesn’t exist is setting yourself up for a fall. Nothing and no one will ever measure up to that ideal vision that you dream of. We are all human and no human is perfect. You can only end up disappointed by reality.
Living in a future love can be fun IF we do it with a present love. Making plans, imagining a future together. Indeed I’d argue that this isn’t living in the future. Planning is a present activity. Especially when you do it in partnership – it’s the existence of a current love that makes the planning possible. And if those plans and thoughts turn to commitment quickly who is anyone else to say that is wrong?
There is of course a little envy at play. And it’s such an incredibly feeling. That feeling where you cannot control yourself. When the rest of the world ceases to exist and it’s just you and the person in front of you.
And I’m sure – at least I hope – you have experienced it. Whether you’re battle-worn and weary from your own heartbreak or happily married for many years. Even if you don’t rush into commitment you still have that gut feeling; “This one’s a keeper”. But the chances are if you are someone rolling their eyes at engagement announcements after just a few weeks together you are also not currently in that first flush of love. And if you’re not there it’s easy to forget how strong it is.
So I’m trying to reserve my judgements because, god knows, I have well and truly lost all perspective of common sense in the face of overwhelming passion and love and knowing they were “the one”. Have I always been right? Well that depends on what you consider right. Everyone I’ve been with has been the right person for that time. Everyone has been the right person for the present they were in, even if they are past now.
I had to take a deep look inside myself to work out why I couldn’t originally just be happy for my friends. I suppose it made me think of a part of my life that is currently absent but I have so much to be grateful for in my life. And when I focus on the positives in my life it leaves me more open to the positives in other people’s lives.