Perhaps, why Romantic Love Fails

{a change of topic, though perhaps not so alien to my usual posts in meaning.  Think: self-empowerment… again or at least, serious choice.}

The title, then, is:  “Perhaps, why Romantic Love Fails”  and let’s be generous and add “most of the time, not always, not automatically.”  

Bracing myself here, this should, or could, bring “romantic love” experts out of the woodwork to offer their own experiences, or beliefs, to praise or castigate, and all of that is totally fine by me.

 “Oh love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me. I’ll be anybody you want me to be.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters.

Imagine the amount of energy it takes to keep this up, to be “anything you want me to be” to someone, just for the fleeting sensual moment of feeling loved. Who then is really being loved when the ploy works? The pretender, the imitator, the parrot, the ghost: an elaborate illusion.  Not me, not the real me, just the character played by the actress. 

Any wonder romantic love so often fails?  

He isn’t loving me, he’s loving the pretence I serve him from morning ‘til night and the moment I can no longer sustain the illusion, he loses interest and perhaps rightfully, blames me for his disinterest.

“You’ve changed,” he’ll say. And right he is. Under the pressure of time and expectations, I gradually drop the illusion with which I ensnared him and I become myself, someone he’d never had a chance to get to know.

Perhaps if I hadn’t been so eager to “get him” and satisfy my longing by serving him with an illusion?

Perhaps if I had had the wisdom to look into the future to those times and event when I could see the illusion would be unsustainable; perhaps if I’d been courageous enough to show him who I really was, he may have loved me for myself, and we might have had something more than a staged performance…

Perhaps, and that’s the saddest realization of all, if he’d seen the real me he may have loved me for myself and never experienced disillusionment.  

Perhaps, like so many in my situation, I’ve been an idiot, turning myself out as a zip-lock bag of bait instead of the solid full meal deal I could have been; that I really was.

Perhaps, but perhaps is a lot like “if” and as Roger Whittaker sang, “No, I don’t believe in if anymore, if’s an illusion, if’s an illusion!”

So, I let the illusion go and live alone.  It’s not so bad once you get used to it and you have a few friends who don’t live in expectations of you pulling rabbits out of fancy hats.  Also, I must admit, love, however ephemeral, did have its compensations.  I had some really good times.  

I choose to remember the good loving times.  As to the separations, and I’ve known a few, the first was extremely bitter, then each one after that became easier, more natural, rather expected.  The thing about us is, we can get used to anything, even learning to enjoy experiences that at the outset appear unthinkable and disastrous.  

Looking back and thinking, if I were a few decades younger, would I fall in love again? Oh yes, definitely, for a great evening of being taken out to dinner, dancing, or the opera; for a night of pure heedless bliss with or without a full moon, and a sweet goodbye in the morning.  

Oh yes, I would fall in love… and fall in love… and fall in love… and make each fall redemptive.  In between, I would live alone in a world that is all mine. 


17 thoughts on “Perhaps, why Romantic Love Fails

  1. sherazade

    “I’ LL be anybody you eant me to be” is the very first mistake or the better thing to make love falls.
    A essere positivi l’innamoramento dura il tempo che hai cuore e occhi bendati.
    . Inevitabilmente finisce oppure cambia in affetto progetto di vita.

    Tornare indietro al primo amore al cuore che batte forte nonostante finisca?
    Absolutely yesss!


    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Yes… we do remember that first love, don’t we… then we tend to measure the others by that one, but that one was “the awakening” and it only happens but once! 🙂

  2. Phil Huston

    Rita Hayworth once said of her husbands “They fall in love with ‘Gilda’, and wake up with Rita Hayworth.”

    The “passion” evoked by romantic love is credited with an enormous amount of beauty as presented in the visual and literary arts. Is the muse at the moment of infatuation fleeting? Perhaps. The problem? Romantic love offers a seed to plant, not a treasure to bury. And once in the ground, too many spend too much time blocking the sun with assumptions and discussions about how it should grow.
    Which brings me to why Frank Zappa hated 3 minute love songs. He said that they set unrealistic expectations of “love” and that a 3 minute fairy tale or an ode to “my baby” was nothing like what real love was about. But then, and here’s that flash in the pan muse, look at all the 3 minutes of happy drooling Romantic Love leaves behind. No romance, no Byron. And how bleak is that?

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Great comment, Phil. What I’ve learned from life: romantic love should be sweet… and short. What comes after is commitment and hard work. Problem with the love feast is, it begins with desert and ends with the soup.

  3. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Love eh? Like snowflakes….no two are the same…..just a thought.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      “Yes, that’s a thought. Now the rest of you, keep banging your heads against your desk until something falls out!” (Quote from “Thank You for Smoking”) I couldn’t resist using that line here. You’re right though, no two the same, maybe why there are so many love wish cards, and love story books out there.

      1. Woebegone but Hopeful

        Never thought of it that way Sha’Tara, good point.

  4. franklparker

    I detect a cynic in the room! Both my love and I came to it (love/romance) in innocence and have matured together. It’s been 56 years now since that first dance and we are still together, still “in love” with each other. Neither of us has ever tried too hard to live up to the other’s expectations. Of course, if you pretend to be someone other than your true self, any relationship is doomed to fail.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I’m no expert on human emotions but seems to me you express the winning concept here: “Neither of us has ever tried too hard to live up to the other’s expectations.” Constantly trying to fulfill another’s expectations, or waiting for the other to fulfill one’s expectations, that would be the nails in the casket of that relationship.

  5. Akhila

    Love is not about the words you share or worlds you travel together… it is something quite natural.. and it won’t end or start at a moment when you feel like you are in love or he or she loves me…it’s always above to all your emotions

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Ah yes, Akhila, but that is a higher love, quite other than romantic love, wouldn’t it be? The caring love, selfless, moved by the sensed needs of others. The Greeks call that love agape.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Good thought. Maybe it should be called something other than love then, just like a baby cat is a kitten, then a cat, so a baby love that survives into a solid adult relationship should have another name? 🙂


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