Chaos Attraction

I Won't Do Anything For Love (But I Might Do That)

2004-07-12, 3:14 p.m.

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I opened up my copy of the News & Review a few weeks ago and turned to "Streetalk," the usual stupid feature where random idiots on the street get quoted. This week's topic: what would you sacrifice for love?

This isn't mentioned on the website, so I'll have to quote for you:

1. "You should probably ask me what I would not be willing to sacrifice for love. I'd probably sacrifice food, dessert, chocolate- chocolate, yes, chocolate- that would be it. Chocolate. I have sacrificed chocolate for love, yes I have."

2. "I thought I was in love and was willing to do anything for her. It turned out that love is blind, and I didn't see a lot of things- let's put it that way. No, I guess I'm still looking for love, so I probably would sacrifice anything to have true love."

3. "Anything, especially money. I didn't have to sacrifice anything for my husband; he's a good one. But if that situation came about someday, and I had to, I'd live in a shack for love. Absolutely."

4. "I would sacrifice money for love, because you don't really need anything else. You could buy happiness, or you could try to, but if you're in love, then obviously you're going to be happy with the way your life's going, you really don't need much more. If you're happy with someone, that's all you need."

5. "I'd do anything for love. I'd kill myself- I don't care- for love. The problem is we say we have to fall in love with somebody for real. Most of the time, I don't know what love is. People need people, and we call it love. True love- I don't know. But if I find a true love, I would say goodbye to myself."

I was flabbergasted reading this. Horrified. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe they'd said those things, I couldn't believe they'd actually DO them and be fine and dandy with them "because it's love!" And just look at that last guy, doesn't he just scream "I want to be Romeo and kill myself for a girl, because my life's not worth anything to me anyway?" How sad is he?

I admit, I used to be like that. When previous ex was vaguely considering moving to Alaska, for reasons I no longer recall, I was all, "Well, I guess I'll just have to move to Alaska, *sniff*" I hate cold weather! I'd have been miserable in Alaska! What was I thinking, to be so blind as that?

The thing about love is, it isn't 100%. It won't fill up your life. Your life will not and can not be about constantly lying in bed getting laid. You still have to hold down a job and get money so you can eat, even if you aren't eating chocolate. Heck, even if you stop eating, your SO might want to on occasion. You still have to spend some time in your life alone and without them so you can make money.

If you gave up your entire life and everything you cared about for a person, that person cannot make everything better for you. I've seen plenty of posts on Indiebride by girls who moved to be with their SO's and then they notice that they've moved somewhere they don't like too much, finding out that they miss their old life, and that they have no jobs, no friends, and nothing for her to do but sit at home waiting for her SO to return. (And that's just a sampling of posts on this subject, mind you.) See what I mean? You can't "give it all up" for someone else and expect that they can make up for everything else that you're missing. It's impossible for someone to provide all of that for you. You have to take care of yourself.

(I'm not saying that one shouldn't move for their SO if they really want to, nor am I going off of my own non-moving-for-SO experience here- I'm just saying, it ain't that easy.)

Then there's the "Oh, I'd be happy to live in a shack with my love, as long as we've got each other" people. I bet absolutely NONE of them have actually lived in a shack, or had the possibility of it staring them in the face. Because if you had, you'd feel differently. Trust me. You'd go from playing "Stand By Your Man" to the songs to tell your boyfriend that he better get his ass a job or you'll dump him soon mix a lot faster than you'd think you would.

As y'all know, this is something I was almost literally having to face. If Dave couldn't cover his own ass, I couldn't have him move in with me, period. Eventually, he tried to talk me into moving with him, saying I could take the bus to work and find jobs there.

Only, I knew what would happen. I'd have to move in with him and his parents in uh...not a good neighborhood...and hope like hell I could find some crappy job I could get to. Because I'd have to pay for everything myself if we were to get a place, and have my own name on the lease and who knows what I'd do if they wanted his on it. And if I couldn't pay rent and food and utilities all by myself, we'd have to move in with him and his friends into a place like this or this. And at that point I would have simply shot myself. Love wasn't worth living in total filth and squalor and bad smells, it wasn't worth starving, it wasn't worth living with relatives. All of the above would have ruined things even faster had I moved to be with him and decided that money wasn't important.

Honestly, I think that weekend spent over at the second nasty apartment was the beginning of the end for me with regards to Dave. I distinctly remember being much, much crabbier about him/around him after that. Or maybe that's just when I woke up and smelled the rankness and realized his life was never going to get any better and if I wanted to be with him I'd have to accept that too. I hadn't grown up not expecting anything better in my life than that, though. Maybe if I had grown up with nothing but crappiness all my life, it would have been fine and dandy for me to give up "everything" for love because I would have had nothing to give up in the first place. But for me, that wasn't the case, and the price I paid for having him in my life was too high.

I hate to say that we broke up because of money, but...well, that's about why. I couldn't give up money, and I couldn't give up the hope of ever having money enough to live on, to keep him around. How stereotypical Taurus is that? *sigh*

And as for that last very, very disturbed man, love shouldn't be about getting rid of the person that they fell in love with! It's not freaking annihilation! They should love you for who you are, not "I love you, but I want this from you" or "I love you, but I want you to have everything revolve around me," or "I love you, but you have to jump through my hoops." Optimally, you should want to take them as-is now, not taking them in hopes that that one thing that nags at you will change.

I made that mistake, too. I was all to Dave, "I love you, but I want you to have money," and I wasn't willing to take him as-is. I didn't realize for a long time that I felt that way. I thought nobody was more true-blue than me, but...hah. Surprise, I'm not. I had my One Thing I couldn't get over, and when that thing didn't get better, I got all shitty about it.

Which, I guess, is the point of this entire rant. You may be lonely. Your loneliness may be palpable (to paraphrase Carrie Bradshaw). You may have gone so long without an SO that your hymen really did grow back and you no longer remember how to perform the act in the first place. When someone comes along, you may very badly want to jump on them like King Kong on Spanish fly* and have big romantic obsession and hold onto them like you'll never let them go, because who else is ever going to come along? And you're right, maybe if you let them go, maybe someone else will never come along, and the loneliness will never end, and you'll end up eaten by the Alsatian**.

But that's STILL better than giving up your life and/or soul to be with someone, and expecting that someone to make up for what you lost for them. It's STILL better than being with someone and having bad thoughts about them because everything's great except there's that one thing about them that drives you completely fucking batshit and they won't stop it and you'd be happy if only they'd just stop it, but they won't, and whyyyyyyyyy won't they stop it if they love you as much as they say you do? It's better than turning into someone's nagging mother trying to alternately take care of and nag someone. It's better than turning into a person you don't like. You and the person were probably doomed from the getgo, but making changes or putting up with someone that you really can't stand only drags it out and makes it worse.

I don't think there is anything at this point I'd be willing to give up in order to keep someone in my life. I'm convinced now that if you have to give up something for someone that's vitally important, or even somewhat important, it just won't work. Period. If it all doesn't match up from the getgo, it probably won't match later, and you shouldn't live your life in hopes that something will change.

This is a pretty heavy thing for me to realize, that I can't really compromise or relinquish. (Again, stubborn Taurus stereotype.) They tell you all the time that's what you have to do to keep a man. And when I think of all the things a potential SO would have to have in common with me, that line up perfectly, that we're in perfect harmony about at the same time, in order for a relationship to last... I can't help but think, "I'm going to be single forever. There's no way a mortal man can be in perfect alignment with someone as strange as myself on every level." (Not to mention wonder how anyone manages to have long-term relationships. I can only assume they are more conventional than I, and thus are easier to match.) And thinking "Never again" really, really, really, really SUCKS, and is scary to boot.

But it's still better to be alone and miserable by yourself than it is to be alone and miserable with/because of someone else. Even if that's for life. And while it may suck to resolve to not be with anyone ever again unless they're absolutely perfect (since I can't handle the casual fling thing), it still beats being with many someones with whom it can never work out because there isn't the perfect alignment, getting my hopes up, and having them crash down on repeat. I can't keep being with "close but no cigar" folks.

I only hope I keep on being this sensible and don't someday have a hormone rush dragging me into yet another close-but-no-cigar relationship because it's been ten years and I waaaaaant it, regardless of any sense I may have had before. If I do that, feel free to shoot me and cite this entry.

* I don't know what that means, but the mental picture amuses me no end.

** What on earth IS an Alsatian dog, anyway? Anyone have any pictures? Preferably ones I could put on a T-shirt?


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