I wonder about love sometimes. Like everyone since forever, I guess. I wonder what it feels like for other people, in marriages especially. Is this one of the universal human experiences that all people share in their own archetypal way? Or is love so different for everyone, so huge and untouchable and beyond what can be compared, that my love is its very own?
Because it isn’t always great. Sometimes it’s really hard and painful and teary. And even worse, blank. Like the bulb just went out on the movie and I’m staring at peeling white paint when just a second ago I was watching some beautiful scene with women stomping grapes in a Greek vineyard. And I blink and I wonder how in the world things could suddenly be so very bare and depressing when usually they’re so gorgeous it hurts.
People always say how love isn’t a feeling- it’s a decision, a commitment, what’s left after the feelings, and so on. Which is true, of course, but I think that’s a bigger deal for some of us. Because for some of us, people like me, if there are others, pretty much everything is a feeling. Watching a kid do a handstand or checking the mail or drinking a latte- these are feelings, way more than they’re actions or facts. Even cleaning can move me to tears if I’m not careful.
And so, when all those little love-is-not-a-feeling moments happen, it can feel like the world’s crashing in. My husband doesn’t even notice, because the decision kind of love was created for people like him, people who love decisions and stick to them no matter what and don’t even notice the potential for emotional trauma whizzing by. So he can discuss divorce rates over popcorn because they’re true and factual, and can acknowledge the fact that no one is immune to broken relationships, and somehow that doesn’t cause his stomach to self-destruct and snot to run down to his chin. But for me it does. Not because I don’t believe those things, and not because I don’t trust my husband completely, but because divorce rates are emotional and I need at least a squeeze on the thigh in the face of them.
Which is also why comparing can be so dangerous. Why reading headlines about Brad and Angelina, or even blogs about newlywed apartments can be as addictive and destructive as heroine if you’re not careful. Because it’s usually the love-is-a-feeling moments that make it to the headlines and the memoirs. And that’s when you’re left wondering about your own love… Like everyone since forever, I guess.