Sometimes love is ugly, challenging, frustrating, painful – even in the happiest and strongest of relationships. Love takes work. It takes effort. Love is not always light and pretty. It takes the ability to admit when you’re wrong. It takes dedication, it takes loyalty.
But there is a difference between fighting for something that you know is too good to let go of, and clinging on to something that has already died.
Often, deep down, we already know when it’s not love anymore. What it is is familiarity, routine, insurance. It’s something we’ve gotten used to. It’s a security blanket. It’s the guarantee that we aren’t alone. Sometimes the death of love is easier to sense, if we’re with someone who directly makes us incredibly unhappy. And sometimes it’s harder to admit to ourselves, because we’re with someone whom we care about deeply, even if we’re no longer in love with them. But no matter the specific circumstances, we try to convince ourselves that the love is still there, because we’re not ready for the alternative.
And so we grasp onto it, no matter how much our gut resists, because we’d rather cling to something that is dead than willingly step into a world where we are hurt and alone.
It’s not a fault really, not a flaw. Just human nature. It is in our bones to want to be with other people. To feel instantly comforted from the touch or the assurance of another human being. To feel actual, physical pain when we stretch out in bed and are once again reminded that there is no longer a warm body in the place next to us.
But we must remember that there is a difference between forcing love and fighting for it. Forcing love – forcing yourself to feel something – is not love at all. It’s a manufactured emotion your body has created as a coping mechanism, a survival instinct. Forcing love means it’s already dead. And when you spend all your time forcing yourself to love someone, you miss the opportunity to fight for the person who really sets your soul on fire. The choice isn’t easy, but at least it’s yours.
Written by Kim Quindlen
This article was originally published in thoughtcatalog.com