By Avery Gaines

Love.  Something we all grow up yearning for, searching for, navigating our way through every other emotion in-between.  It’s the fiber of our minds and the fabric of our souls. And it exists in another person, we’re told. If we do the right things, we’ll unlock the worthiness of someone else’s adoration.

We’re taught:  If it’s too easy, it’s not real, if it’s too difficult, you’re not doing it right.  And we’re told the kind of love we want is neither: it will be challenging but worth it, unconditional but chosen, sparks that light flames of passion, a roller coaster that’s also steady.

We begin to categorize relationships as one or the other. We decide on traits that would characterize what “true love” is to us. We’re told to discard anything else. We’re not instructed that every relationship has meaning or purpose. We’re not told how to try.

We’re not told what to do when a soul only loves you at certain times of the day, like when you are drinking your morning coffee silently next to them. We’re not told what to do when they come home and they’re worn out and they take their frustration out on you. Why is it that once you’re in the “forever love” category, these things become permissible, just part of the process, but before they get to that pedestal, they’re inexcusable?


What happens when you fail and they seem disgusted but under the guise of “only wanting the best.” What happens when you spend a day all over town with them and it seems like time stops when you’re together and that sure feeling is almost omnipresent, until it isn’t?

How do you know when you’re a distraction?

How do you tell the difference between the love that’s healthfully conditional or the warning signs that it isn’t love at all? After all, our parents were disgusted when we failed. And people can’t be expected to be loving all the time. We’re told that love is for the people who weather the storm, not just tolerate it. But what about the people who are left feeling like they only receive companionship when someone else is in the mood?

Image: Daryn Bartlett

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