“ What is love ?” was the most searched for phrase on Google in 2012. I know this because I typed this phrase into google early this year. My ” what is love ?” search returned about 1,100,000,000 results and the number one hit informed me that millions of people around the world want to know what love is.
This ” what is love ?” google search of mine preceded a conversation with my now ex partner about love and how we felt for each other. We sat at the kitchen table and we spoke very calmly. We talked about the last eighteen months or so, our recent arguments and how we felt. I asked him whether he loved me. He said no. He asked me whether I loved him. I said no. It was unemotional and cold. The truth was crushing, but at the same time liberating. Truth was what we needed.
I wonder whether all the other people who enter the search term “ what is love ?” into Google know deep down that they do not love someone, or that someone does not love them. All those relationships unravelling. All those partnerships breaking down.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom. I read some fantastic stories on the internet that day. They made me smile. They were gushingly romantic.
What is love ? : I read a story about a woman in her 70s who had been married to her husband for 51 years. She knew within a week of meeting him that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Their lust subsided, they learned more about each other and their love evolved into a less selfish love. They care about the other more than they care about themselves. They would take a bullet for each other.
What is love ? : I read about a waitress in Austin, Texas who split up with her boyfriend of three and a half years only to meet her now husband 48 hours later. He husband knew instantly that she was the one. She knew instantly that he would ask and that she would say yes.
What is love ? : I read a story of two friends living together in a shared house with three others. Once all of their housemates had gone to sleep he would creep up the stairs to be with her at night. Their housemates finally found out after four months when a red rose was left outside her bedroom door on Valentine’s Day. They are now married with a son.
These stories didn’t tell me that love has to involve a romantic story, or a coup de foudre, but I did realise that previous heartbreaks and dark days are crucially important. We need to know what something feels like when it is wrong before we can every really know when something is right.
I know that:
I want to be with someone who puts me and my son first. I will always put my son first, and I fear that this will always be a challenge for a future partner to come to terms with. But I want to put the right partner before me.
I want to be with someone who respects me for who I am. My sense of integrity is uncompromising and defines who I am. I cannot compromise it for wealth or ease. The easy path is rarely the right one. I want to be with someone who appreciates my sense of integrity, has a strong sense of integrity themselves and shares my vision of what is important in life.
I want to give, but I need to be with someone who will do more than just take. I have a lot to give and I derive more pleasure from giving than receiving, but I need to be with someone who will appreciate my generosity.
I want to be with someone who treats me as their equal. I can compromise, but I cannot be compliant. I want to be in a relationship where we define our futures together.
I want to be with someone who will make me laugh because laughter is a great antidote for hard times.
Until then, I just want to be me.