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Stay, Don’t Settle

February 6, 2014
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stay don't settle

Be kind to your heart and those around you who care for it. Many have said, “Just because you love each other, it does not mean you have to be together” but can it be that the inverse is true? “You do not have to love each other to be together” or “Just because you don’t love each other, it does not mean you cannot be together”. The latter two sentiments may sound like something parents might say to their children as they push them towards an arranged marriage, and as a young romantic I can almost see myself pull a Kevin Hart meme that says something along the lines of “This fool is something else”. As my years catch up to my aged soul, it is however becoming painfully clear to me how a lack of passionate can’t-live-breath-eat-sleep-without you love can still yield a successful relationship. Do I personally seek such relationships? No. Do I personally want such relationships? No. Am I still romantic? Probably.

Humans in general are psycho-sexually driven life-forms when it comes to mating. Genders will argue that women are more psychologically/emotionally driven while men are more sexually driven. Since we are all human, I have now settled for the combination of the two. Though each gender is more driven by one aspect, each is represented within the two sexes of the human species. [Now back to my initial inspiration.]

Love, though it may be strong especially in the beginning will not always result in a relationship. Very often we lie to others, not because we intend to but because we cannot be honest with ourselves about how we feel about another person. If you do not feel safe confronting your own feelings, when you are alone in your own company, you cannot be expected to be honest with someone else. That said, it is thus crucial that we are as honest with ourselves as possible and accept what we feel and what we don’t feel about other people.

Love shows its faces in many forms that we are all familiar with; love for your mom, your dad, your siblings, your pet and your career. When you love a man or a woman as a partner – that love, much like all the other forms of love, will motivate you to exhibit certain behavioural patterns towards the object of that affection. You may say certain things to let them know that they are the one to whom such love is given.

Now the problem with this particular kind of love is the obvious; it’s potentially fleeting and can be given to more than one person either concurrently or alternately. Loving someone requires some decisions or rather loving someone enough to get romantically involved with them involves decisions; are they compatible with you, your life and if you want something long term are they compatible with your family, your daily routine, do they support your ambitions, dreams and aspirations and the likes thereof. Love is already there, been established, and if you’re lucky that love is acknowledged by both parties the point when they are ready. Given the aforementioned list, decisions now have to be made; do you encage the person you love in a relationship because you love them and do they fit your life, your lifestyle, your family, friends and colleagues.

If the answer is yes, proceeding is easy, however, is the answer yes because they do in fact fit or is it yes because you’re thinking “I love him/her enough for all of those to just fall into place as we go along”. I’m pretty sure Gatsby had himself convinced he loved Daisy; he initially didn’t fit, ‘got himself together’ and where did that get him? Read the book, watch the movie, it’s not a happy ending.

Often the rare breed of more rational otherwise referred to as ‘cold’ human beings will first go through the checklist. They will use initial attraction, keep the potential life partner close under observation, random assessments, extremists may set up tests to determine if the person fits into their life, before opening their psych to love – if love is necessary. Is this a safe(r) option? Of course. Much like an interview, you look at the CV (whatever you’ve heard/read about the person) call them in for an interview (dates, meetings, lunch, dinner, party) assess their credentials, strengths and weaknesses during which time you objectively (as far as human nature allows) assess you own interest to give them the job (relationship). If they check all the boxes on the criteria, then you stay around and let the love grow. Or… [well you know how that ends]

Personally, I don’t believe in love at first sight. Too many boys/men have approached me claiming love and I didn’t return the feeling, nor did I think it was genuine since it was often a prelude to “Can I have your number?”. Attraction at first sight on the other hand, I strongly believe is real though it may also be one sided if the two parties don’t notice each other. That heat you feel in your lions or the flutter in your belly when you see them is undeniably real. Call me ‘cold’ again, but I do believe that attraction is a safer emotion when put up against love. I can be attracted to Joe Budden, but I’m not going to eat two liters of ice cream while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary crying my pretty eyes balls out just because he doesn’t feel the same, it’s Joe Budden for goodness sake.

Love not returned burns hotter than acid when compared to love returned; for some odd reason. When the love you feel for a romantic psychosexual partner is returned, a calm assurance develops within. Hopefully trust, honesty and open communication will grow as well in order to strengthen this love. Love returned ‘warms’ you, it releases endorphins and oxytocin in women as well; ‘feel good’ and ‘stay with me’ hormones respectively.

Be grateful and respectful to the person who throughout their lives has loved relatives, pets and friends instinctively, as it is him who now accepts that they love you and chooses to stay with you to make that love last. Consider yourself blessed, because somewhere out in the world, perhaps within your own circle, someone had to stay where love left, leave where love still lives or watch the one they love feed on joy and love of another fortunate soul.


Written By: Noloyiso Mtana ( @nollyodbanks )

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