It must be love

Pip and BrunoThat’s not so much a heading as a command.

With the recent death of tall glamorous designer L’Wren Scott in the news, it’s hard to miss all the pictures of her alongside her boyfriend, the less photogenic Mick Jagger. Mr Jagger is a worldly famous rock musician with a very famous band. They still tour the world after about 50 years of playing when other men their age would be doing the gardening with grandchildren, or have died.

This isn’t about L’Wren or Mick, it’s about what gets people together in the first place, how and why they stay together and the fall out from being in the wrong relationship, with the wrong person, for the wrong reasons.

I’m not going to make any reference to the reasons they were together as I don’t know them. I’m sure they were very much in love and shared a passion for creative things, her frocks and his music. They probably also liked to go out and spend time with other famous creative people. Travelling to fabulous places and doing all the things unimaginable wealth and influence allows one to enjoy. That’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about you and me, or is it you and I? I don’t know which is correct. I didn’t pay enough attention in school.

The title is ‘it must be love’. The reason it must be love is because anything else is a compromise, a compromise for you and for the one you are with. There was another popular song with the lyrics ‘if you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with’. Sounds good in principle but not so nice for the one you are with because you couldn’t be with the one you loved.

You know what I mean don’t you?

People are in relationships with other people, long term ones, marriages, even though they know, knew from the first, that the person they are with isn’t the love of their life. Maybe they felt they would never meet that great love, maybe they did but didn’t get loved back, that’s even worse. That’s the worst thing I can imagine. People have taken a partner in life because they are a good provider, because despite their many faults they find them attractive, or funny, or kind to animals. Maybe the alternative of being alone made being with someone you were very fond of but didn’t actually love acceptable to you, because the alternative was too hard.

The thing is though, this is ok for some. Make sure you are one of the some it’s ok for or it will destroy you. Maybe it already is and you know it but are doing nothing about it. If you are happy being with your life partner, whatever you choose to call them because you like a pair of comfy slippers rather than great passion, great love. That’s great for you. If you can walk about in the knowledge that you settled for something ok rather than waiting or pursuing something epic and wonderful. I’m sad, but happy for you. I know what that’s like. Just know and accept that’s what you’ve chosen, on purpose.

If that’s not you though, if you aspired to, wished for, dreamed of the great love, the love of your life, the person of your dreams and you look at the person you are with and know they aren’t it, that’s destructive, toxic, certainly to you and also unfair to them. You are with someone wishing you weren’t.

Don’t do that to anyone, certainly don’t do it and pretend otherwise as that is disingenuous. If you’ve also lost your ability to be honest with them and with yourself, you’ve lost a fundamental ability to ever be truly happy. You will be sad, not a good sad either, like when you grieve for a lost friend or family member. A good sad you might feel at a weepy film. A cleansing sad. No, this is a terrible, mind eating, ruinous sad as you are sad for yourself, sad to your soul. Your soul is broken.

Don’t be in that place. I’ve been in that place and getting yourself out of it is hard, harder than probably anything you’ve done unless you’ve had a pretty tough old life.

If this rings any bells with you, if you know in your heart you are in the wrong place but the thought of escaping, undoing what you’ve done, telling the truth to everyone and to yourself and doing something to claim back yourself from your broken soul seems just too hard, it’s not. Well it is heart wrenching at the time, but you’ll sleep like a baby later.

All that stress, those anti depressants you take. The anxiety attacks for a reason you can’t fathom. The sadness you carry about like a lead weight. That stops. It all stops. Your life will change out of all recognition. You might end up with nothing physical to show for the life you had. You may find yourself without assets or your own home; you’ll probably have less ‘stuff’. But you will have reclaimed the most important thing of all. Your self-worth and self-belief. You did what was right for you and for the person you weren’t in love with but with because it was easy, or convenient or acceptable to others.

I’m just reflecting. I always maintained I could live in a mud hut with the love of my life, that nothing else would matter if I was with her.

I now know what that means if I didn’t stay true to it for most of my life so far. I’m poor; I’ve got no ‘stuff’, no assets. But I’m not living a lie. It’s very liberating.

Don’t wear a false smile. Don’t live a false life. If you are happy with the one you are with and you honestly like your life. I’m happy for you. If you are not though, If you are being destroyed daily by being in the wrong place with a broken soul. Only you can fix it. Don’t let it ruin your life.

People die over this stuff. Tormented to their end. Their friends write Rest in Peace on their headstone when they are gone. It’s better to live in peace, not torment. That shouldn’t come as news to anyone.

You’ll have all the time in the world to rest. You only have one life to enjoy in peace. The best peace is in yourself. Inner peace is found through being true to yourself and others. People don’t write many songs about that though. They mostly write about love, because it’s important.

Live life and love right. I just made that up, you can use it.

22 replies »

  1. This is an awesome post- I was doing this exact same thing for YEARS and feeling sad to the depths of my very being, with no particular reason for it, just that I knew that the chemistry just wasn’t right and I wanted more for myself. I felt so selfish making the decision to leave, without really being able to explain *why*, to the other person…well not without hurting them even more. But yes, afterwards, I could sleep again, and felt a great peace. It took me 4 years after that to find my great love, but now I have, and there is not even a 0.0001% possiblility its not right…! I am so glad I made the decision to do what was right for ME. All those other people- parents, friends, extended family, who have their own expectations of your relationship…well, its not actually about them! I did struggle with that too.

    • So cool to read that, thanks for the reinforcement. I took a lot of flak from family until I was able to sit and explain to them. Yay for you finding the great love x

  2. As always, love your insights, love the lessons, & love those little ‘wisdom phrases’ or are they ‘clauses’ – I didn’t pay any attention at school either. I know I just went to school to eat my … ummm, … other people’s lunch!!! 🙂 I’m adopting the mottos ‘Live in Peace’ & ‘Love Right & Live Life’. I know, I twisted that last one around to suit me. 🙂 Hope you don’t mind. Hope you’re having a good day.

    • I don’t mind Ann. I’m Happy you’ve enjoyed the post and I am having a good day thank you. xx I think a clause rather than a phrase, maybe. A clause is like a condition, which one must adhere to. I like the idea of that

  3. I have some thoughts on this too Sandy:-
    I understand that some relationships deteriorate to an irretrievable degree. Good or bad the pain of winding up is awful – I know this too. But there is a flavour in your blog that seems to me to put the focus on the wrong thing, and it’s that I want to address if I may.
    In a relationship or a marriage, it’s not passion, not sex, not personal fulfillment – but desire to do the good thing, the correct thing, that brings joy and peace. To make another happy by giving them the comfort and assurance that they are valued and appreciated and that you will always put them first, is what love is. Bringing peace and security intentionally to another human being is a beautiful thing – and that’s love.
    Your partner is so easy to love once you determine to do so. An act of the will, independent of feelings or passion, to express love to them. It generates a responsive feeling of affection in yourself when your determined actions show them, and you, that you have made them the pleasure of your life. When I choose to prefer the good for my partner in all my actions, I am loving them. And they naturally respond positively to that. If both partners have this intention to prefer each other’s good above their own you have a virtually unfailable relationship. What can possibly be left out for either party to wish for from each other?
    I saw a billboard that said. “Love without action has no value”. So I choose to show love first, not necessarily ‘feel’ it first. I can assure you, and so can anyone who has lived their loving this way round, that it works – unfailingly. Passion and feeling, as the basis for love, puts it on pretty shaky ground. It may be an exciting starting point, but the alternative of making a longterm decision to express love and preferment to my partner, regardless, cannot and does not fail. Too many get sucked in to the cheap popular notion of only loving if or when you “feel” like it. If I only feel like it, when my libido is up on its hind legs, or when there’s something in it for me, then I have the horse before the cart. It’s part of the modern “If it feels good, do it.” To which the corrollary must be, “If it doesn’t (make you) feel good, don’t do it.”
    But “me first” doesn’t work. “Her (or him) first” always does.
    Sandy, I have had a marriage that fell to pieces and ended in divorce. I knew while the process was underway that it didn’t need to happen, but pride and ego (“me” first) wouldn’t let us stop what we had started. So it ground on painfully to the inevitable conclusion. We were both too young and immature to be able to manage what was happening. Neither were we aware enough of what makes a relationship work. How I felt and how she felt became the detemining factors in everything that happened. No vision, no maturity, no life experience. We let nothing halt the process. Really sad.
    We had both believed the lie, that was constantly reiterated and affirmed by friends and family and society, that if we weren’t happy in our relationship we owed it to ourselves to end it. Just get out. Be happy. It’s your right. Etc etc etc.
    But what about the kids? What if there were alternatives to divorce? No, just get out, get “free”, “you owe it to yourselves.” By then, we had the tiger by the tail and there was no stopping and no encouragement to stop , or re-consider, or to try to communicate properly. So it was over.
    I can happily report that after 18 years of contented, celibate, disinterest in new romantic relationships, I met and married a wonderful soul mate. We spent just 13 years of bliss together (ok the bliss was interspersed with the occasional blistering row and episodes of grumpiness). But there was never any question of not persevering with our marriage and our loving friendship – even during the battles – because we both knew that we were unswervingly committed to each other and to our marriage. There wasn’t an alternative. No situation could arise that would or could jeopardise our loving commitment of preferrment for each other. There just wasn’t anything that could spoil what we had. But it was always our choices that held us together – not our feelings. And forgiveness overcame everything that might have interfered.
    My how I loved her. Oh yes, I loved her in every good way that a man can love a woman. But it was because I chose to and I knew that she too, chose to be utterly committed to me, that our marriage worked.
    I lost her to a silly little accident after just 13 years. Was I distressed? You’d better believe it. I didn’t know how I could go on without her. I once said that when her life left, mine left too. But I’ve found we can be pretty resilient characters when we have to be. And faith sure helps. I shall always miss her. I shall always be sad that we were cut off in the middle of something beautiful. I shall always adore her. But she leaves me with wonderful memories. And a richness I would never have had if we had never found and “won” each other. I have been mightily blessed, and privileged in our friendship and our marriage. And I believe she would say that she was too. And that was not because of me – but because of us.
    I’ve written far longer than I meant, sorry.
    My point is that if I see happiness or fulfillment only when life works the way I want it to for me, and I measure its sucess by such a fickle yardstick, it is both short-sighted and misleading. I believe in our modern culture we’ve lost the ability to look for “good” rather than simply for “pleasure”. We are bombarded by the message that my personal good is the only real good that should concern me. That my joy, my fulfillment, my satisfaction, should be the focus of my life. I don’t and cannot agree.
    To choose to give equal value to those other lives that intesect with mine, may not be popular or even encouraged today. But my impression, gained from a life which has not always been easy or rosy, is that there is a better, old-fashioned(?) path that leads to a more secure happiness, joy, peace and sense of purpose, than the road modernly travelled.
    At the risk of having everything I’ve tried to share immediately disqualified as coming from a religious crank, I’d like to add that somewhere in the Bible it says “We love Him (Jesus) because He first loved us.” And that’s my point. In any important relationship if we know we are loved unreservedly, then loving in return is practically irresistable.
    Thanks for reading – assuming you did.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed comments Paul. You should write a blog! I can see your point and why you might take issue with mine. I just simplify things here rather than taking a detailed examination. I try to keep things to around 1000 words or so. I can also only talk from my own perspective, what I know to me so from my own experience. People want different things from their life and relationships. Thank you for taking the time to give us the perspective on yours. It’s always good to have another view on life’s rich tapestry, good, bad, painful, fulfilling. The lot. Cheers,

        • I really enjoyed your viewpoint, Paul, and like the sentiments expressed. We have become an egocentric society and I also disagree with the notion that our needs and wants come first.

    • I agree completely with what you say Paul. If you truly put the other persons needs ahead of your own how can you not succeed? The real challenge I suppose is finding someone else to do the same back…

      • I think there’s always someone there for us. But we need to spend less time looking and more time preparing ourselves to be ready to be that person to someone else.
        Thanks for your affirmation Nellie.

  4. That rang a lot of bells.
    I had a first marriage which broke my self respect…and a wonderful second one where I saw what love was.
    Despite all the obstacles, all the problems…amor vincit omnia

    • Hi Helen, you’ve had quite the adventure, lot’s to write about and reflect on. I hope people come and read your awesome blogs. Obstacles and problems? Surely not! 🙂

  5. Hahaha, love the sentiments Sandy, ‘it must be love’! My wife and I or me and the wife, whichever sounds better, were only just talking about our marriage in bed the other night. We’ll be married 33 years this August – F***, 33 years – where did that go. It was one of those deep meaningful conversations you have after sharing a bottle of wine followed by a bit of ‘how’s ya father’, yes, still doing that after 33 years!! It got around to “any regrets”, NO said the wife. Followed up with, “would you do it again, marry me”, of course said the wife. “I wanted to marry you back then, I’d want to marry you now!! You see, me and the wife are mates, lovers and partners in everything we’ve done and will do. It’s not just about love. You can love a puppy, a kitten, a motorbike, a car, a rugby team, a song etc etc etc. Just being in love with a person is not enough, you have to be mates, you have to like being in each others company, you have to like doing things together. Believe me, we’ve not had the perfect marriage (does it even exist). We’ve had our fair share of caged fights, storming out the doors, chucking our wedding rings at each other – it ain’t been plain sailing, but, we’ve learnt to make-up (the make-ups can be great), we’ve learnt to accept when the other needs their space, not to be selfish, to compromise. That great old song “All you need is love” – what a load of bollocks – you need more than just love to be in a long lasting, passionate relationship!! Final note, it’s too easy to give up, it’s too easy to walk away!

  6. Gosh, another thing you have written that really resonates with me.
    I’ve just completed a year of being single after being with my ex husband for over 35 years!
    Whilst you are in the middle of a relationship, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees.
    I thought we were soul mates, his analytical brain completed with my creative side and visa versa. They say opposites attract, and I must say that being so young and pretty inexperienced in love when we got together, I sort of assumed that was the way that life was supposed to be.
    Since he has gone however (did a Len Brown on me), I realise that what I used to have was not real. It was familiarity & security and above all compromise.
    I am now discovering ( like Shirley Valentine) what it is like to be me, and after years of feeling ( what I now know) I was second best or at least not quite good enough. Never quite slim enough, respectful enough or conservative enough for him.
    I now am discovering to my surprise, that not everyone thinks like he did. Some people actually think I am gorgeous! And I’m beginning to believe it is actually quite nice to be me, and I am deserving of real, true, deep and messy, lust, admiration and everlasting love and I don’t have to accept anything less.
    The first step of course is learning to love myself!
    Like you, I find this a very liberating time indeed. So cheers and here’s to the future


  7. Sandy where did you get your wisdom and insight from, you are an inspiration. Hold on to your values and perspective on life they are truly special. Thank you.

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