Monday, May 3, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With It

If you're tired of discussing my nightmarish relationship, I'd love the opportunity to begin discussing my nightmarish breakup

I grew up with this romantic fairy-tale notion that if two people love each enough, it can conquer all and they should be together, despite the obstacles. After all, that's the idea we've been fed, right? That love is the end-all be-all and nothing else should matter as long as there's love.

When I read Little Women in third grade, I remember being devastated that Jo and Laurie didn't end up together. I mean, he married her bratty sister Amy. WTF?! They were best friends and clearly loved each other, so in my eight-year old head,I simply could not comprehend why Jo rejected his proposal and the two of them didn't get married. What kind of happy ending is that?

Now, almost twenty years later, I think Louisa May Alcott is a genius, in more ways than one. Although they cared for each other, Jo knew that Laurie wasn't the right man for her and that if they married, they would destroy each other. And even though I couldn't understand it at the time, I totally get it now.

I read Kristin Chenoweth's book of memoirs A Little Bit Wicked last night partly because I love her and partly out of curiosity about her on-again off-again romance with my idol Aaron Sorkin (the brilliant writer of A Few Good Men, Sports Night, and The West Wing).

And it was absurdly clear that they are in awe of each other's talent, have a tremendous respect for one another, and there's a lot of love between the two of them.

But sometimes, that's not enough.

Their coupledom seems to be fraught with complications. She's a Southern Christian; he's New York Jewish. She has never done drugs; he's had a public battle with cocaine. And as a girl who's had trouble just dating people outside of her political affiliation, I have no idea how they reconcile those differences.

This all got me thinking that sometimes, even if two people really do love each other as much as is possible, sometimes they still shouldn't be together. It makes practical sense, that being in love doesn't necessarily mean that you are meant to spend the rest of your lives together. Sometimes, people just don't work well together in relationships, romantic or otherwise.

For example, I've had friends throughout the years that I have loved dearly and still consider close, but I only speak to them once in a while or see them on certain occasions. Sometimes friendships evolve to a place where both of you can can live with it and continue, but it wasn't how the relationship might have looked in the beginning.

And I have loved people, a few some people, with all my heart and had images of wedding dresses and babies in the future, only to discover that would not be a plausible future.

When I broke up with love of my life to date, my college boyfriend, my mother's words of condolence were that I wasn't accommodating enough to make it work (she's notoriously unsympathetic, E and I have been slapped with this lesson multiple times throughout the years). This may or may not be true; I am not particularly accommodating, but I also think we had too many differences and issues to have lasted.

He is now engaged to someone else and they're getting married this summer and from what I can tell from the outside, she is much more similar in personality and life goals to him than I am. Which I have come to realize doesn't mean that we weren't tremendously in love years ago; we just weren't compatible.

And had we stuck it out, which apparently depended on my accommodation level, I'm positive it would've ended in divorce and/or physical injury. Hopefully his upcoming nuptials fare better.

I think sometimes the couples that you root for (I'm talking to you Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes) and are obviously in love, still have "irreconcilable differences" and just can't make it work together. Which is never easy to face, especially if there is still love there.

I guess it's sometimes too much to ask to fall madly in love with someone who you could actually make it work with and grow together with over the years instead of apart.

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