‘So what, are you guys, like, serious now ?’
This is the question friends ask whenever I start dating someone new.
Should exclusivity and commitment be the end goal of love? It’s like saying with a mouthful of chocolate- I love chocolates, so I will only eat chocolates from now on.
Sure, the taste of chocolate can be compared to none other. But does that mean it is the only thing you will eat, forever ? Is it not enough that you’ve once loved chocolates with all your heart, but just because you’ve decided to move on to other food, that your love for chocolate is not any less real?
It’s not that chocolates don’t make you happy, but people change, cravings change. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to eat chocolates anymore.
People have an obsession with immortalizing things. Recording every moment, posting it onto the internet — as if something ceases to exist if it’s not displayed to the world.
But why do things have to last forever to have value ? What about the emotions felt in that instant — the awe of standing atop Unterberg’s peaks, the amazement of seeing Venice canals for the first time.
With each snap of the camera, these feelings get diluted by just a little bit. Sure photos will last forever, but what is the value of an experience remembered through smartphone screens?
Wherever I look around me, couples never seem happy. Their union seemed to be formed more out of fear or convenience rather than genuine affection. The love they claim to so strongly feel is littered with excessive control and expectations.
Are they still two people in love, or merely roommates in this prison of life?
Which makes me wonder, clearly these couples are committed to each other — but is that what love looks like? What is the value of commitment without love ?
Love should be free; it should be about people bringing out the best in each other, rather than weighing each other down.
When I broke up last October, I wondered if he ever loved me at all. But we were happy, and that’s all that matters right ? The happiness was real, and just because we stopped being happy together, that doesn’t make the emotions I once felt any less beautiful.
Would I have acted differently if commitment wasn’t my end goal ?
See, the moment I started thinking about commitment, I had changed our shared narrative to one written in future tense. When my heart stopped being happy, my prefrontal cortex rationalized that with all of his potential, maybe a future together is worth fighting for.
But potential is only of value if it is realized. It’s like having money but nothing to buy, all that’s left is a pile of worthless paper.
When you start defining your current happiness by hopes for the future, can you really make an unbiased judgement?
Instead of seeing things as they are, you have now entered a world gated by your own imagination.
Can you really be happy then?
So, meet each new person with an open mind. Look for genuine connections, independent of what may happen in the future.
Ask yourself, if you never see him again, will you still ‘love’ him as much as you do now ?
Everyone wants a happily ever after, and there is nothing wrong with that. Commitment can be a beautiful thing, but it is a choice. It can be because of love, it can even be the end goal of love.
But it is not love.
Previously published on medium
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