To Love without Certainty
This article is based on a survey by the author on social media asking people whether they would still love someone despite knowing it wont last.
Someone I know who has been in a relationship for years had just revealed to me that they have broken up. Of course, this is nothing new. In fact, who among us can count the number of couples we know that did not last? However, I began to think about whether this person would still have loved the other had he known beforehand the unfortunate and inevitable fate of their relationship. I then decided to conduct an informal open-ended survey on social media about this asking people whether they would still love someone whom they knew would leave them in the end.
In less than 12 hours, 70 people have so far responded and to my surprise, an overwhelming number have answered that they still would. Now, I am wondering whether those who said yes were visualizing their current and possibly happy relationship or a past unfaithful and unpleasant one or an imaginary future relationship with an unknown lover. People’s responses may have been influenced by what situation and who they were imagining. Regardless, I believe that there is wisdom to be had in the responses I have obtained.
In contrast, less than ten individuals stated that they would rather not love if they knew that the relationship would inevitably end one day. They believe that life is short so people should choose wisely and not waste their time on such an individual because there are many more out there who may be able to reciprocate the love that they would give. The reasons given appear to have common sense and may appeal to people who believe in being realistic and in practical living.
But let us consider people’s rationale for answering this survey in the affirmative. I have identified seven major arguments.
The first argument that was given is that being in love gives us joy. And happiness no matter how temporary is still happiness. It provides us an opportunity to be with that person and the chance to love and be loved.
A second argument deals with the fact that there is no constant in life. And because of this, we should take the risk because love itself is a gamble. We should therefore go with love’s flow and let it lead us where it will.
The third argument deals with how love is defined. For it to be love, it must be unconditional. We do not love so that we could get love in return. We should not love solely for happiness.
A fourth argument is that even if love does end, there are lessons that can be learned from this experience. Life is a struggle filled with challenges. As one of the respondents so eloquently put it, some hearts are meant to be broken in order to become strong.
A fifth argument is that there can be no love without pain. Pain and love are two sides of the same coin, according to another respondent. The happiness you get from loving is worth the pain. As long as there is pain, there is love. If you no longer feel pain from the relationship, then perhaps there is no more love. And because of the inevitability of being hurt when we love, one needs to be strong before entering into a relationship. And this requires a level of emotional maturity.
A sixth argument deals with time. Time spent with the person we love is precious no matter how short. Therefore, we should not worry about the future. Instead, we should live in the present.
I believe that the majority of those who responded possess a positive outlook on love and life in general. These are people who hold on to the idea of the inherent goodness and beauty of loving. And this is an encouraging discovery that people still believe in love despite the pain that may accompany it and the possibility of it ending. Sacrifice is what defines our love. And our ability to keep on giving even when it hurts us is the measure of the profoundness of that love.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frederick Edward Fabella, Ph D is a research director, a dean and a graduate school professor in the Philippines. Follow the author on Twitter @ErickFabella. Visit his blog Meanings and Perceptions