Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Real Love: How to Know it's "It" When You're Not Feeling "It".

Before I met my boyfriend, when I first started dating, my friends and acquaintances would ask me what I'm looking for and wanted in man. I listed the usual: handsome, educated, Black, sexy. And we had to have "it", that was the # 1 thing on my list. The thing was, I felt "it" with the same guys that 30 other women felt "it" with or didn't feel "it" at all with a really great guy I couldn't see myself with for one reason or another. The guys I felt "it" for brought the drama and unneeded competition for affection, but never ended in a monogomous, trusting relatinship where I felt secure. Something was wrong. As I was now in my 30s, I realized that I could not make the same choices as when I was 20-something years old. I had to now make choices in my romantic life in much the same way I had to concentrate on having a career if I wanted to be married or in a partnership with a compatible partner.

Last year, I read a book, "Marry Him! The case for marrying Mr. Good Enough". I'm sure you've at least hard of it. I cannot tell you the endless debates I had surrounding the theme of this book. After reading it, I came away with an important intergral message: Love, and what that means, is interpreted in many ways and you have to find out which way to redefine it for yourself if you ever plan to be married or be with a great guy. After reading it, I walked away with some important truths that define me in looking for a relationship:

1. Do you have to have chemistry or "it"? After speaking to over 20 married couples, I was completely surprised at their answers. Some had it, some didn't. Some never had it. The one thing ALL couples stated though was that, despite what any so-called relationship expert will tell you, it's not important or essential for a successful marriage or partnership because whether or not you ever had "it", the "it" does fade. And after it fades, you have to have compatibilty and friendship or the relationship will end.
And just like love, the definition of chemistry varies. You may be compatible in various important ways without the chemical "spark".

2. What if you are not "in love" with your partner? We are taught in books and movies and by romantics everywhere that love is a euphoric feeling of butterflies that happens whenever you're around a certain someone. But that's not love. That's a chemical reaction in your brain telling you to "mate" because a suitable candidate happens to be in the right place at the right time when you're optimal to reproduce and that's the whole truth. There are some people that get that "spark" if you will with a quite a few people. It's not reliable. It doesn't tell you if the person is responsible or kind, or even if he/she is having the same reaction to you that you are to them.

Being "in love" means that you fearlessly are willing to allow another human being to hold your future in their hands. And if you meet someone capable and worthy of that responsibility that takes it seriously and holds it like a delicate flower, then you are "In love". So shut the door and don't let him/her out! Take the line from Juno the movie. "Nothing is guarunteed in love. The best thing you can do in love is find someone who doesn't think your sh*t stink. If you can do that, you've got a pretty good shot at being happy for a long time."

3. So if that's not love, what is it? Love is a bonding experience that can happen quickly or over time to where you and another person who share the same values, experiences and goals decide to commit to one another. That's really it. Real love is responsibility, acceptance, stability and it's trust. Butterflies are a bonus, great to have but not important to a true loving, lasting relationship.

And don't compare your romantic life to that of another. Remember my "You are the Rule, not The Exception" mantra. If you meet someone with whom you have a "spark" who happens to also be the best partner for you, so be it. Some people do, but remember they are the exception. Just like we can't all be supermodels, we can't all happen to, by chance, fall in real love with the person to whom we are chemically attracted to and remember the only purpose of that is to mate, once you mate, it usually wears off for one or both of you.

In conclusion, what's important is looking for real love and building on that with someone who wants to build that with you, not looking for the Holy "It" Grail. BUT I encourage you to have the strength to always follow your heart, whatever that may be. For some people, having that spark is way more important than being a in a stable relationship with a great guy that wants to build a future. If you can say to yourself and mean it, that you'd rather be alone than be without "spark", then don't settle for less than what you want. If you think your "Spark" filled love is out there, I say "Float On" and wish you the best of luck. It's not impossible to find, but it might be a long, long wait for that "spark"  love when "real" love is right in front of you.

Have you ever questioned if a relationship was the real thing because you did not feel "it"with someone? If so, do you regret not staying in the relationship?