Can love complete us?

Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash

We all want to be loved. And love. The longing for warmth, touch and care that only love can provide. When we come across someone who loves us, it feels as though a deep yearning in our soul is fulfilled. From the barren desolate terrain of being by ourself, we enter the loving fertile shade of another human being. It is like a dream. At last we have found the perfect partner for us!

We can’t seem to get enough of each other. Our life revolves around the other person. We talk for hours on end. We make love with a longing feverishness. Simple things like watching a movie, going for a walk or doing the dishes seem deeply meaningful when done together. This is what we yearned for, and now we have it.

Then in the midst of love’s symphony comes a jarring note. A discord that pierces us with its rough edge. We find it hard to believe. Everything just seemed perfect a while ago. Where did this painful jab come from? The pain is all the more pronounced, because the source of the pain is the person we love.

Anger, frustration, disappointment is exchanged. But hope is not lost. We try to clarify, understand, express and listen. In spite of this small blip, there is so much beauty in our togetherness that the attraction keeps us together than apart. Only now the perfect picture is torn.

Then we seek ways to make our togetherness last. Scenarios are discussed. Scenarios are revised. Scenarios are questioned. The practical aspect of living together has entered the idealism of loving each other. As we spend more time together the conversation shifts from our similarities to our differences. The individuality that had subsided for love, reasserts itself.

Love has made us more vulnerable than we usually are. Love has made us more desirous than we usually are. Love has made us more fearful than we usually are. What seemed effortless and spontaneous, has now become effortful and burdensome. We have to weigh our words before uttering them. Anything can be misinterpreted.

Is this going to work? Do I really want this? Is this the person for me? Does this person love me? The rose tinted glasses of love are replaced by the scrutinizing lens of critical evaluation. We talk to ourselves. We talk to others. Slowly a distance creeps into what began as a merging of two souls.

The other person is no longer behaving in a way that makes us feel happy. In the togetherness there is fear, sadness and aloneness. The person transforms from the man or woman of our dreams, into a normal human being riddled with desires and fears.

We try to resolve differences through communication. It is a new language. How do we speak to each other without blame, shame or judgment? How do we share our feelings and also take responsibility for them? How do we speak in a tone that is warm, when everything inside us feels cold?

We try hard to make it work. We don’t want to lose the warmth and love. The laughter and touch. If only we could not be hurt by what the other person says or does. If only we could master the art of compassionate communication. If only we could be with each other, without losing ourself.

A tug of war ensues. Sometimes one pulls, the other gives in. Sometimes one gives in, the other pulls. When both pull the bond of love begins to strain. When judgments happen the bond weakens. When mistrust seeps in the bond gasps for breath.

At such a time three things can happen.

1. In spite of the challenges, both stay together. Commit to learn how to drive this vehicle called human love. It’s no longer about one person, but two. What affects one affects the other. The sensitivity emerges out of this realization. The commitment is birthed out of the love for each other, in spite of the differences.

2. Both co-exist. Authenticity is compromised for practicality. This happens where it is necessary to continue for reasons other than togetherness — children, finances, society. Often one partner emerges stronger than the other financially or emotionally. Both settle into a pattern of relating to keep the relationship going.

3. End the relationship. It is too much of a hassle to deal with the inconvenience of learning a new way of living. Particularly when both partners have had a taste of financial and emotional independence, the willingness to stretch themselves even for the sake of love is limited.

But this does not end the need for love.

Which is where the entire saga began. The togetherness simply uncovered a need for love that was always there, whether acknowledged or not. The love experienced in each other’s presence covered it for some time. When the relationship ends it again highlights the lack of love, more intensely than before.

Often we blame our partner for the lack of love. Or for the betrayal of trust. Not realising that this drama unfolds only to make us realize, that no human being can complete us. Our pursuit of love is flawed, because it relies on another person to fulfil us.

We are fortunate if we get a loving, caring and understanding partner. Even if we do, the presence of that person does not complete us. It simply means we are blessed to experience that love in this lifetime.

The love we seek is our nature.

The Light of our Being, is eclipsed by our neediness of the other.

Till the time we seek love outside us, we perpetuate the delusion that another person can complete us. The delusion creates hurt and pain. It need not make us cynical or resentful of human love. The purpose of relationships is to make us realise that our primary relationship is with ourself. What we seek from another is within us.

To find love as our true nature we need to stop seeking it from outside us. We need to stop distracting ourself to escape our incompleteness. We need to stop hoping that true love is waiting for us at the next corner.

We need to stop.

Everything.

And take note of our incompleteness. Our need for love. Our feeling unloved.

In that noticing, the hole of emptiness, becomes the Whole of fullness.

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