I'm going to get a little personal here for a moment.
I think I'm missing out on one of life's most amazing gifts: being in love. I'm in my early thirties and I have never once been in love before. By "being in love" I mean being in a loving relationship with someone who is also in love with you. I do not mean to say loving someone who does not love you back. I'm talking about the full package, the two-way street of mutual love. I have never had a relationship where I've been in love with the person I've dated where she loved me back. I thought I came close to it once, but in retrospect, I don't think I could call it true love. It may have been obsession masquerading around and fooling my brain into thinking it was love.
Some of you have been in love. Some of you maybe are in love. Some of you fell in love, got married and are still in love with your spouse. But love for me so far has never happened. I'm very picky about women. I need a girl with a certain look. I tend to fall in love with my eyes pretty easy, but that isn't really love, that's lust. True love means you have to be able to look past the surface to the inner core of a being. You have to accept them for all their flaws, you have to still be able to love them at their worst moment. That for me is the hardest thing to do. I have a really hard time loving the whole person and seeing past their flaws. The most beautiful woman are far from perfect.
I've been on many sides of the love dilemma. I've been in what I thought was love with women who didn't love me back. I've had women who were in love with me that I didn't love back. I've been in love with a woman's looks but hated their personality, and I've been in love with a woman's personality but wasn't attracted to their looks. It is not fun being in either of these situations and they all lead to emotional suffering for those involved.
Falling love is scary. I've been avoiding the whole idea for years. I actively try not to get emotionally connected with any of the women I date, preferring to keep things casual. I usually have short term to medium term relationships, and when they end, we usually go our separate ways. I rarely keep in touch with any ex-girlfriends. I guess I kind of prefer it that way. I was at my monthly philosophy meet up the other day and the subject of marriage came up. A young women said she would never get married again after her first marriage failed. I commented that I don't even believe in marriage. If I love someone, why would I want to get the law involved, and have contracts and lawyers and the mess that comes along with that? A marriage contract is not going to make your love for someone else any more real.
So where does the future take me in terms of love? I have no idea. I may be in love one day, or I may not. My future is most likely determined and I'm really just along for the ride. It's all up to the universe to guide me where it takes me. I must confess that there is a girl that I kind of have an interest in. I don't really know her in that we've never really talked, but for some reason, I can't get her out of my mind. Is this love, or the beginning of love? I have no idea. Knowing myself, I doubt anything will ever blossom out of it. I could find out that she's a devout Catholic, or is really conservative in her politics, and that could ruin everything. In other words, I can't really fall in love with someone until I know them inside and out. I personally would rethink my opinion of someone if I found out their worldview and politics were very different from mine because beliefs are very important to me. This is one reason why it's so hard for me to fall in love. I need a women who is physically, sexually, politically and metaphysically compatible with me. Trying to find someone who's on the same page on all four of these crucial areas is almost an impossible task. And so for years I've simply been compromising and dating women who met one, or some of them. Perhaps this has prevented me from really falling in love.
I find it really hard to imagine myself truly loving someone who didn't fall on the same page as me. I'm so goddamn opinionated that it would eventually become an issue. But love seems to always involve compromise in some way. No two people are completely on the same page. I fully acknowledge this. I could look past a few minor things. In fact, I must. It is unlikely that I will ever meet the girl of my dreams. She probably doesn't exist. And if she does, chances are our world lines will never meet. Even so, I can't force myself to fall in love. That's why the idea of loving god as a necessary condition for getting into heaven never made any sense to me. I can't force myself to love another being. I can fake it, but what kind of god would want that? Love seems to just happen. It seems determined. We often fall in love with people that are wrong for us. The one time I thought I was in love, it was with a woman who was totally wrong for me on so many levels. But it happened. I don't know why, but it just did.
There's another fear that I have when it comes to love too. That is the fear that I have about meeting someone's expectations who falls in love with me. When someone likes me, especially if they don't know me all that well, they form an idealized image of me in their head that most likely in real life I will not be anything like. Because I find it hard to see past other people's flaws, I guess I worry about whether the person potentially in love with me will have the same issues. In some ways, I'd rather they keep that idealized image of me intact in their heads rather than I ruin it by allowing them to get to know the real me.
But is love worth it? It is better to have it and lose it than not have it at all. If we're lucky, we get one true love during our lives. I'm not in a rush, but I can't help but feel that I'm missing out on the one thing that perhaps makes us different from every species of life that exists: our capacity to fall deeply in love with one another.
Welcome to Atheism and the City. This blog is about exploring atheism through contemporary urban living. I live in New York City, the secular metropolis, and I have an avid interest in all things religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economics. I am an atheist, a humanist, a philosopher and a thinker, and the purpose of Atheism and the City is to write about my thoughts and experiences on the subjects and topics that I have a passion for. Feel free to respond to any post whether or not you agree.