Terrified. I am fucking terrified and excited all at the same time. I’ve been musing on unrequited love lately and the kind of work it produced from artists. Some of the best love songs were written about unrequited love, and I could only assume that many painters and photographers were longing for at least some of their subjects without getting the return. There’s no question that the act of fulfilled love has produced a certain level of inspiration, but perhaps a force that drives the artist further is the conquest of an emotion unrequited.
In it’s essence, I am speaking of the kind of love that can only happen from actually getting to know the person-at least acquainted somewhat. I’m sure many ships were sailed to honor the ideals of people like movie stars and models (in older times maidens, and henceforth), but true and profound feelings can not be discovered without personal interaction, in my experience. Without that we touch too much on the idealism of our own mind, and that kind of obsession borders a different kind of madness.
Unrequited love is a desire that burns, enflames and makes your heart hurt. It makes you miserable and happy, but not like being in love. There’s no contentment or comfort, no chance that what you have will be lost. It is less of a gamble maybe for those who would rather hold onto something that exists only for them, instead of abandoning it and pursuing la life someone else would consider more “fulfilled” romantically. Even though this appears foolish to the sceptic, people choosing to hold on to an unreturned love are holding onto their dreams and hopes, giving out to positivity, even when futile. I have spent many years in love, being loved; becoming jealous, in fear of being abandoned. But an unrequited love can never abandon you- because you never had the other person in the first place.
Which is the more detrimental scenario? Having unrequited love with someone you can never have (the situations for this are endless with possibilities, but there is self-delusional reasoning away from this), or having unrequited love for someone who you have some sort of quasi or acquainted relationship with, be it physical or psychological? I think this depends on how your mind works and how rational you are. Too often in my life I have engaged in “crushes”, the flutter of the heart coupled with passing thoughts and inner smiles. Sometimes being less engaged in, and more haven fallen prey to some level of romantic entanglement. Realistically they were short lived affairs, and eventually if they did not lead to a relationship- there was something there that pushed me away from the other person. As I gain age and experience it’s logic I have on my side to help me break any bad cycle. Knowing that I did not have a future with these people severed my emotions from love’s grasp. So what is it that pushes it further in the opposite direction from my mighty human logic? What is this uncontrollable desire, is it at our own hands or is it at the mercy of some latent chemical reaction within our brains? This is where I start to deviate, and have my conflict. Love defies the logic associated with rejection. Love does not play by logic’s rules.
So where does this conflict come from? If it’s not the brain, then it must be chemical, or spiritual, or voodoo (right…). I have struggled with the idea growing up that one’s life can become a series of coincidences that are so strong, that you feel as if some invisible hand is guiding you along. The world is large and vast, but completely interconnected. I have met a variety of people from very far away, with very different lifestyles that end up thinking more like me than many of my own friends. Sometimes even having the staunchest most pertinent wisdom that I’d ever heard. So much so that I would think there’s no way this person had not been “destined” to fall into my life. Why have we crossed paths? What is creating this connection other than something that happened in the most un-forced perchance way?
It is these connections, in my life at least, that have fueled the kind of desire I speak of. Now, you can think what you will about love- and you will be right for you. Love is an objective thing. Love only exists within the human or humans engaged in it. If you’ve never felt what you think is love, then someone like me who has fallen in love repeatedly might say you probably never have been- because it hits you like a ton of fucking bricks. It perplexingly weighs you down and makes you light at the same time. You begin to see life and others in a completely new way. It’s like taking a drug; your pupils dilate, your body reacts physically and mentally you find yourself overcome.
Now compare this to unrequited love. How is it different? How is it the same? I’m trying to be objective, but I only know what I’ve felt. Firstly, unrequited love is never satisfactory. Except maybe in the moment where you feel you have become jaded to love, at this moment only, can discovering unrequited love give you a new clarity. Secondly, when exactly does it become unrequited? Is it the moment that you find out that the object of your infatuation has absolutely no interest of returning your feelings? Is it safe to assume seven stages of grief are appropriate after this moment? Too many people rely on their own instincts of the other person not returning their feelings before actually knowing it first. I guess time fades these instances of love.
Under the inference that unrequited love has an end, what would be the best methods to hurry this painful ordeal along?
It’s in these instances when unrequited love could be useful in setting someone free. It takes courage to step outside of something that isn’t fundamentally working, if it has entered the lull of sameness and domestic comfort. These things don’t necessarily point to the fact that love is over, but rather pose the question if you are happy loving in this environment, smothered of passion and spontaneity.
All in all it’s a matter of time. I cry out to those with unrequited love not to lose hope! Time is on our side. I may be leading lemmings to the cliff here, but I am an unfortunate optimist.
This requires more thought and needs to be explored further.