Friday, November 12, 2010

Real Love

We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.

-George Santayana,
philosopher, poet

In 2003 when the Red Sox blew the ALCS in the bottom of the 11th inning to the rival Yankees, I was comatose. My girlfriend at the time couldn’t understand. “It’s just a game,” she pointed out. “There’s always next year,” she comforted. She was right. It was “just a game” and there was “always next year,” but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the sports franchise that I loved more than any other had suffered a crushing defeat and no matter what anybody said to me, I was going to need some time to recover.


We broke up shortly after that, and while I famously entered a “Blue period” only rivaled by Picasso himself, she moved on to a new guy. And then another new guy. And then another. Now, years later, time has healed the wounds of that relationship, just as it has healed the wounds of that brutal loss to the Yankees that fateful night in October. But looking back, I can’t help but find a connection between her reaction to the Game 7 loss and her reaction to our break up. 

My ex-girlfriend, like many girls that I have dated, seemed to always need a boyfriend. And with each boyfriend they are with, they claim to “love” them. I love the Red Sox. I live and die with their games. When they won in 2004 and again in 2007 I was over the moon. Just as their losses made me miserable, their victories made me ecstatic. And that is how love should be. Love is an emotion, the only emotion in fact, that should be allowed to run free without containment, restrictions, or rationality. When you’re in love it’s perfectly okay to go dance through the streets, scream in joy at the top of your lungs, or just giggle to yourself while sitting alone at your desk. And just the same, when you’re heartbroken after that love goes away, it’s okay to mope through the streets, scream in pain at the top of your lungs, or just cry to yourself while sitting alone at your desk. Feeling emotions that run the entire gamut means you are truly allowing yourself to love. 

"Love" should make you do crazy things.
If it doesn't, it's just "like."
So why, when a relationship ends, do so many girls skip the misery and move on to a new guy whom they claim to love just as much? People are always asking me why I am single. The simple answer is I don’t want to settle. If I am going to be with someone it will because I truly love them. When I meet people who jump around from relationship to relationship I wonder how they can do it. Most people are so annoying. And the more you get to know them, the more comfortable they become around you, and the more annoying they get. How is it possible that some girls find so many guys they can stand? Is it low standards? Or are they just so desperate to say they have someone to “love” that they cling to any decent looking, money-making, non-abusive guy they can find?

Girls who jump from guy to guy are equivalent to bandwagon sports fans. They are those assholes that break out their Lakers flags when the team is winning and toss them into the corner of the garage when they’re losing. But when you’re next to one of these fake fans at a bar and your team wins the game, your exuberance for the victory cannot be matched by that of the front running fan, because if your team lost, while you sat with your head in your hands, sulking in defeat, the other guy would just be wondering what game was coming up next. You are allowing yourself to love, and in doing so, you are making yourself vulnerable. To pleasure and to pain.

Now here's a man who knows what love is
I get that nobody wants to be miserable. And trust me, when I was depressed about my break up, I know I was not fun to be around. But while this time in my life was hard, it wasn’t pointless. Had I simply jumped to a new relationship, the time that would have been truly wasted would have been the time I spent with my ex. Most relationships end in a break up. Even half of the ones that lead to marriage end in a break up. So either all of these doomed relationships are a complete waste of time, or they are an experience that each person should enjoy and then learn and grow from. I’ll go with the latter. While my ex and I clearly were not meant to be together, I’d rather go through the suffering of a break up and eventually be able to look back on some of the nice parts of the relationship rather than simply move on to a new person and completely block out and forget something that I had dedicated so much of my time, my mind, and my heart to.

With love, it should be all or nothing.
No matter how stupid it makes you look.
That Red Sox loss in 2003 killed me. But when they overcame all odds to beat the Yankees in 2004 and go on to win the World Series, the pain and suffering from the year before made the taste of victory that much sweeter.


  1. yeah, why do people do that? I know you say girls but I've had ex's who've done that. I'm the one who is still single and they're all married, engaged, or having kids with the girl who they met right after me. I guess some people just don't like to be alone and settle on someone to avoid it. I can't do that. It's not in me to be fake and the 1 time I even attempted to date someone I didn't really care for, was one of the stupidest times in my life thus far. I'm awfully extreme so if I don't love you, I can't even like you. There's no point for me. Other people are ok with like.

  2. it's funny you say this because my perception is exactly the same as yours, although not gender specific. it all depends on the person and the genuineness of their feelings for people in general. some people settle and then don't have the raw emotions that come from a break up, so they move on quickly. some people are the opposite and go through the emotions and really take the time to reflect on the relationship and have better ones in the future because of it. to each his own, i guess!