The legend is as old as time itself: when you find true love, all your crappy relationship habits will disappear. You’ll suddenly stop being controlling/manipulative/jealous/etc with your partners because true love is magic. It fixes you.
Yeah. And rope bunnies can fly.
The article I just read says if it’s true love, then “you’re both good at listening, so you solve your disagreements before they get out of control” and “you can respect each other’s personal time.”
You know what true love does? It self-corrects bad habits because true love requires growth. It requires effort to keep a relationship’s wheels well-oiled, especially if you have problems with basics like listening. If one of you keeps making the same serious mistake, both of you will find yourself at the end of your coupling, and it won’t be because you didn’t love each other enough. It’ll be because you didn’t do the necessary work.
Here’s another one: “You don’t have to try to have fun. Being together is more than enough.” Why? Because if you truly love someone, your relationship doesn’t seem stale at times? Then we disagree again. If you’re an ungrateful type and you expect your dopamine and serotonin levels to be fizzing even after a year of being together, you’re probably going to leave the beautiful person you adored because you only want what you don’t have.
I’ve seen far too many relationships end because one or both parties thought that love was enough. It isn’t. Love is a feeling. Feelings are fleeting. True love can only be found in action. I let go of true love once upon a time because I left all my gratitude on the side of the road somewhere between Year One and Year Five. I forgot what I had, how unique it was, how precious, how rare. So I let it go.
In those days, I was too young and naïve to understand what relationships required, so I had no clue what I needed to do to take care of what I had. It slipped away because of my own failings–not his, not ours, but mine.
I’ve spent a lot of time since then looking at my flaws, which have improved not because of “true love” but because I fucking tried. I’m still so far from perfect I’m barely on the normal people’s island, but I’ll tell you one thing I’ll never do again: Take true love for granted.
People are not toys. Treat them as such, and you might just lose the most precious partner you’ll ever meet like I did 15 years ago.
After that, I got tired of loss, so here’s another story of true love: I loved myself enough to try to sort through my issues so that, when true love arrives, I’ll be better equipped to deal with it. I’m still nowhere near the ideal partner, but I’m better than I was yesterday, and tomorrow I’ll be better than I was today.
That’s all I can do, really. It’s all any of us can do.