“I hate you and then I love you. It’s like I want to throw you off a cliff… then rush to the bottom to catch you.”
The most complicated thing in the world is love, and if you think it’s not then you have never truly been in love. Love isn’t easy, even when you love someone who loves you back. That’s because there are two people involved, two autonomous individuals who have their own ideas, wants, and needs. And because there are two people involved these differences can mount, especially when there isn’t complete communication.
I saw a show once where the main character and his wife were brutally honest with one another — about everything. It was almost neurotic the level of honesty they had, but it highlighted something huge that I guess I had never really thought about before, the idea that we all hold some things back even from the people we love. Would you tell your wife she looks fat in that dress? Would you tell your husband he doesn’t satisfy you in bed? Therein lies the complication.
The love bug has bitten me twice in my life, and in the first instance the complications came late, at the eleventh hour, when I had begun to think there would be none, that I had finally found the one love that wasn’t complicated. And when they finally showed up they came fast and furious, so quickly that I couldn’t catch up. I was in mourning before I even truly realized it was over, that I couldn’t make things right, that I couldn’t change the complicated into something simple, something manageable. And that’s the key, being able to take those complications and deal with them one by one so they don’t swallow you whole.
I’m in love now, and it too is complicated. It has been from the start, but that’s one of the reasons it’s so fulfilling, because I know this is the forever kind of love, not the transitory sort, so getting through the snarly spots is important to me. It’s easy in that transitory love phase to just throw in the towel, to just give in to the complications. That’s what happened the first time for me, and I realize now that wasn’t meant to last. That was for right then. If the complications can overwhelm you then it wasn’t worth it to you, on some deeper level you might not even understand right when it all falls apart.
And that 80s song is right. Love does hurt, but it’s the healing that is transformative. It’s when you figure out a way to let the scars heal and work through them that it becomes something truly special. Maybe that couple on that TV show have it right. Perhaps being completely honest is a way to avoid the complications, or to at least confront the issues in your relationship, but that comes in steps. And you still never want to tell your wife that the dress makes her look fat. Do you? That might be a complication you can’t recover from.