As we approach Valentine's Day, how can I resist a little musing on the subject of love.
There is a popular notion in romantic fiction of 'The One'. The number mentioned in the name appears to imply that each of
us has one person in the world who is their perfect partner, soul mate, friend and lover and when they bump into that
special person, suddenly all will be right with the world.
I don't believe in this notion. That is not to say that I would not like to believe in it. I cannot believe in this notion.
I have a number of reasons. First of all, the population of the Earth is currently 6.6 billion people and growing. Each of
us will only get to know a few hundred people well in our entire lifetime. Pretty long odds, hey? Secondly, I have had reasonably
long relationships with at least two women in my life already who I definitely loved and I still do. That is what love is. It
is constant and undying. If I did not still love them, then that would indicate that I was wrong to have said I loved them in
the first place. I did and I still do. We happen to have gone our separate ways for one reason or another. That does not alter it.
Sometimes when I explain this to a potential new partner, they have difficulty with it. "How can you possibly hope to love me
if you still love her?" Well, why the hell can't I? I deeply love both my daughters at the same time and still have plenty to
spare after that. It is who I am. I am a lover.
I'd go further and suggest that I love all of the women with whom I have ever had an intimate relationship. For some, perhaps, I feel a
stronger love, maybe because our relationships were longer and deeper (stop trying to think up innuendos). I am taking a little risk here as there
are three of my ex girlfriends who are my friends on Facebook [where this article was originally published] and I hope that if they disagree they will feel free to add
a comment telling me I am talking bollocks and am now really horrible to them.
One is Sue Lester, who was my first ever 'girlfriend' when I was 15. We were so sweet and innocent that we never even kissed,
just held hands, gazed longingly at each other across a crowded playground and drew love hearts with arrows through them and our
names at either end of the arrows during about 2 weeks of lovely bliss before my hopeless inexperience managed to cock it up. Sue
Johnson (as she was then known) got in touch with me after about 20 years through Friends Reunited. I still felt an immediate and
deep affection for her after all that time and we have since chatted a fair bit and got on great, like no time had passed at all.
I still love Sue after having no contact at all for 20 years. I can't deny it. We have no plans to start drawing the hearts again,
but there is definite love there from my point of view.
There are also a couple of women that I love with whom I have never had an intimate relationship. You know who you are!
So why am I not still together with one of these people who I loved and still love? Well, I think that the answer to that is that
on every occasion either I, or they or often both of us were not ready for a very long term relationship. Also, we were on different
life paths and these came together for a while but then diverged.
Maybe if you don't know me very well, you may be thinking that I sound like a bit of a womaniser. I am aware that I am a bit of
a big flirt at times on Facebook, so that may reinforce that notion. But in all seriousness, when I start a committed
relationship I am fiercely loyal and faithful.
So why am I rambling on about all this? Well, I will take you back to the notion of 'The One'. I think that a more
plausible view would be that you can hope to find 'One of the Ones' to share your life with. I think that there are
quite a large number of women in the world who I would find attractive enough and get on well enough with to happily
share my life with them. I also think that I have reached a stage in my life where I have an abundance of love to give.
All I need now is to meet someone who I am very attracted to and who is also ready to love.
I believe that love is a choice. It is a letting go, opening yourself up to potential disappointment and pain. It is
choosing to put the welfare of yourselves as a couple before your own welfare. It is a risk, but always one worth taking in my view.
I therefore also don't believe in the notion of 'falling in love'. I have felt the intense attraction for someone that
is often described as falling in love. When every fibre in your being yearns for them throughout the day. But I think
that is just intense attraction / infatuation. It inevitably fades and if either of you has not already chosen love by
that point, then you are headed for the rocks. I believe that long-term romantic love is something that you make happen,
not something that happens to you.
I actually think that the popular notions of 'The One' and of 'falling in love' are damaging, giving people unrealistic
expectations of life and deluding them into thinking that love is something that will just happen one day instead of something
they have to strive for and actively choose to unconditionally give.
Some time ago I decided to just love without fear. Not just to love a girlfriend or partner, but to love everyone I come into
contact with (yes fellers, that includes you, so best run now if you are scared). Even lorry drivers. Of course, at any one time,
someone special may get a large helping of my love (as well as my daughters). I now always love for love's sake. It is its own
reward and well worth the risk. Now my life truly is beautiful. You give a little love and it all comes back to you.
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