I’m tired of the world’s obsession with romantic love.
I'm not interested in the love they keep telling me about in the movies.
It is So. Fucking. Boring.
It's a very exclusive and contrived love that we are all supposed to aspire to. It's a romantic and carnal love that is reserved almost always for the beautiful, white, thin and heterosexual. (It's a love that lasts forever, by the way, else it doesn't count).
No wonder that those of us who don't fit into that feel like failures, or don't appreciate the love we do have in our lives because we're too busy trying to shoehorn it into this template of normative idyll.
This love is deliberately shoved down our throats precisely because so many of us cannot have it (and actually, upon examination, don't necessarily need or want it anyway). This love is often performative and competitive and can serve to make those outside of it feel small and inadequate.
I don't wish to undermine romantic love. It's wonderful and exciting and one of the many joys of being human. But it's not the most important one and it has a much wider expansion than the films are willing to show us. The films don't want to romanticise fat love, black love, queer love, platonic love, nonmonogamous love or the small and woefully uncelebrated love and dedication of carers, nurses and teachers. They don't want to celebrate love for nature, for words, for art, for pets, for family (blood-related or otherwise), for yourself, for knowledge, for the body that labors and functions for you every day, for food, for dancing.
They don't care about the small and mundane things that actually make love what it is – the unsexy, everyday rituals that add up to the whole sum of being cared for and cherished and SEEN for who you are. We can have all these things going for us and yet still feel deprived because we haven't found 'the one'. If you believe in that idea, I sincerely hope you have or will find it. But it's a belief that I fear gives some heart but most grief, in the end.
The rom-coms only care about selling us a fantasy that we can chase into a black hole - all the while finding fault with ourselves because the fantasy isn't as seamless as we thought it would be.
Sometimes things can't be 'til-death-do-us-part'. Sometimes it's until 'long-distance-do-us-part' or 'the-natural-course-of-this-relationship-do-us-part' or 'lengthy-and-expensive-divorce-do-us-part'. That doesn't make the love that you once felt for that person less meaningful or you a failure.
Love isn't given enough credit for being the incredibly large, complicated and all-encompassing thing that it is. If not having romantic love makes you feel unloved or lonely, consider widening your definition of what love can mean. Whether you're curled up with bae on a bed covered in rose petals, chilling with mates, having a cuddle with your dog on the sofa or just happy to watch a film or read a book in your own company, it is ALL love. None of these forms of love is more important, more beautiful or more worthy of celebration than the other.
Honestly, once you start to see it, you couldn't escape it even if you tried.
Text by The "I'm Tired" Project