mural: Alexis Diaz
Good love is exceedingly rare.
I understand that some people might read this and see it in one of two ways:
- “Love is hard to come by — good or bad” or
- “This is as good as love gets so hold on!”
(The latter being like the overarching message in the 2011 New York Times Bestseller “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” I never read it, but apparently plenty of people did. If you missed it, you can snag yourself a hardcover copy on Amazon for $0.01.)
Interpretations like these are usually used in defense of a relationship that, while it may not be horrible, is also not great.
But that’s not what I’m saying here.
I’m not suggesting that “love” is hard to come by, or “this” (anything) is “as good as it gets.” Good love — real love — is out there, and it doesn’t feel like that.
It’s just incredibly rare.
Good love is hard to come by. Not because those of us who find it are among the blessed chosen lucky few, but rather because:
So few of us understand what “good love” actually is.
We mess it up a lot. We ascribe expectations to love it never signed up for and has no business holding. We drag baggage into relationships and unpack it in indirect ways over the years, hurling emotional vases at each other from positions of guarded defensiveness and lining the dimly-lit hallways with passive aggressive barbs, luring each other in with renewed reassurances of love even while we reload the guns.
We don’t think we do this, but we do.
Good love is so hard to come by. Good love not in “codependence “ — not in sacrificing our sense of self or happiness, or dumping all of our emotional wellbeing into what our partner says or does. Good love not in grandiose displays of “love,” or carefully-measured markers like “marriage.” Good love not in forced, prescribed gestures of affection and reassurance. Good love not in jealousy or anxiety or attachment or demands.
Good love like honoring one another as our own people. Like a relaxed connection. Like respect, and lightheartedness, and calmness. Like eye to eye, and shared rapport. Like going on loving even when we’re at our most hurt, or most angry, or most anything. Like never playing the victim — or thinking in terms of how we hurt or what we don’t get. Good love like mutual self esteem, and self-love, and self-care; like taking responsibility for own emotional wellbeing, owning what’s ours, and coming to each other with fairness. Good love like abundance mentality, and good love like unconditional warmth.
All of this, so hard to come by.
And yet all of this, fully within each of our power to create.