A four letter word

by jdeena

Love.

It is so easy to use this small four letter word. You love your parents. You love your friends. You love your favorite pair of jeans. All our lives, we have been taught to use this word and throw it around effortlessly. So why are we surprised when we hear it thrown around the same way with our significant other?

I remember the first time a guy told me he loved me. I was not young; 19 years old. I never had a childhood romance, which is not surprising since my culture and religion frown upon that. I was in college and fell in love with my best friend. I had known him for a long time and never thought anything of our friendship until it became more. One of my favorite quotes is “Love is friendship set on fire,” and for me at that time that quote could not have been more true.

I had never experienced heartbreak either, and so when that love was brutally ripped away from me I experienced pangs of regret and isolation like I had never imagined. I felt like my whole being was mutilated, and it was at that time that I realized what true, unrequited love was. To this day, I have never felt the same type of love. I have come close, but they say there is nothing like your first love and that couldn’t be more true.

I was engaged and planned a wedding, and for most people this means that they were in love. Not in my case however. I admit that I gave in at some point to the pressures of my parents and society. I was 27; seven years after my heartbreak I had finally decided to get married. I don’t remember what I was thinking other than that I had made my friends and family so happy. Finally I was “figured out.” I was no longer an outcast. I was just like any other girl and wanted a husband and home.

That wasn’t entirely true.

I settled. I am not proud to admit it, but I did. I remember the few months before the wedding when I would lie awake at night and force myself to believe I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want to disappoint my family and friends who were so happy for me. I convinced myself that every girl has doubts and that I was being selfish for believing I deserved more. In reality, I did deserve more. I was too busy throwing myself into the motions of becoming a bride that I didn’t realize that he was being unfaithful. That he lied more than he told the truth. In truth, I looked the other way so that all could go as planned.

Had we not have had that last argument and broke the engagement I would be married to an adulterer. I would be unhappy and going through the motions; just playing a part. Did I love him? On some level I did. Was I IN LOVE with him? Definitely not. But I was realistic; you cannot always marry for love, although it does help when things get rough. Was he in love with me? I thought so, because you don’t want to imagine that your future husband doesn’t have feelings of love for you. I now realize that he was marrying for convenience, just as I was. Can I be mad at him for that? No. Can I forgive him for deceiving me? No. Even though I was going through the motions, I never would have hurt him or gave anything less than 100% in our marriage. The difference with him is that he didn’t care either way.

I am looking for love. I refuse to get married for convenience. Yes, I am almost 30, but all is not lost. I know that I am worth loving, but there is only one guy who can do that and he has yet to show up. I know he is worth waiting for though, and so until then, I will not settle for anything less.

Because LOVE is a four letter word that holds the weight of my heart. And I refuse to allow an imposter to carry that weight.

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