8 weeks later
Where do different capacities to love come from? What is a capacity to love comprised of?
I talked a lot in my last article about how I believe I have a larger capacity to love than my significant other did, and why this fundamental imbalance was the reason for our relationship coming to an end. But I have done a lot of thinking and growing over the past 8 weeks since writing the rawer Part 1 of this article, and certain feelings of mine have evolved to the point where I am reaching new levels of clarity that weren’t quite on my radar yet when everything was so fresh.
I have come to believe in the past couple months that the real issue my partner and I had was not all due to our different capacities to love, but rather due to the different ways in which we perceived what it means to love another person and to successfully share a life together.
I have been thinking a lot about what it is that makes the difference between finding a significant other not unlike others you’ve had before, and finding a true partner for life. Love is special, and warm, and cozy, and fun, and beautiful, and we definitely did not have a shortage of that in our relationship. But what we both began to forget about over time, in our own respective ways, is that love is also accountability.
Accountability to work as hard at your relationship as you do at yourself, and vice versa. Accountability to hold yourself responsible for your own feelings and actions and not to make your happiness reliant on someone else. When done properly, both people should be putting all of their energy every day into doing what makes them the best version of themselves so that they can in turn be the best version of their partnership and form the strongest team together possible. My person and I both fell short on different parts of this equation, and although I do not necessarily believe that this is how it’ll always be, we definitely needed this wake-up call to be able to understand these aspects and tendencies in ourselves as individuals.
I lost sight of what it meant to invest in myself, by becoming overly attached to someone who would never truly be able to do the same for me, because that is not how he sees love. He has set dreams and plans that won’t be put on hold or wait for anyone. He fell in love with me for all of my potential, and then fell out of love with me just as quickly when he got tired of waiting for me to catch up to him and live up to it. I cannot fault him for that.
What I do know, is I woke up every morning and picked him, every day. Despite our problems, our struggles, our differences, and our issues with each other, I chose him, every day, and I still would have, every single time. And this tells me that at end of the day, if I were forced to choose, I will always by default value love more than personal success and ambition. And he will value the opposite.
While both love and ambition are extremely important to both of us, love will always come more naturally to me, and the importance of personal achievement, for himself and in a partner, will always come first for him.
I lost myself so completely in someone who I don’t believe will ever truly be able to lose himself in anyone else, but the truth is that one shouldn’t ever allow themselves to become lost in another person in the first place. Looking back, I will always have been as much at fault for the failure of my relationship for giving us too much as he will have been for giving us too little.
When you do find the love of your life, you need to be equals. Your capacities to love aside, you need to be partners that can commit to working every day to valuing your own ambition and wellbeing as highly as your partner’s. You need to put yourselves first, and your relationship first, all at the same time. You both need to give as much to each other as you give yourself—you need to put as much into what you’re both building together as you put into your own life individually.
Sometimes I have moments where I still think he might actually be The One, but only time will tell on that front. A lot of time. In the meantime, I have so much work to do, and he does as well. And for the very first time in all of my life so far, I feel ready, and maybe even a little bit excited, to do it alone.