Love is pretending. Having to pretend, just for the other to not be repulsed by you. That is what I genuinely used to think. Whenever you get asked a question, for example, you have to deliberate on what the correct answer is. And when you give the wrong answer, as eventually you will when you go down that road in the first place, a little bit of you will crumble up and die, leaving you ever so slightly more bitter than you were. After all, you only said what you thought they wanted to hear. How can the other one be mad at you for something that you did not really mean, anyway?
Why would you want that?
Still, being lonely starts to get old after roughly the first three decades or so, so when you finally do find somebody who is willing to try it, of course you want to seize the opportunity and try to be just what the other person wants instead of being yourself. I am writing in a gender neutral way, but I do believe men are more prone to this than women. The fair sex seems to be more self-assertive when it comes to relationships. At least in my, admittedly limited and biased, experience. A relationship like that cannot work, of course, so soon enough you will find yourself alone once more, left even more disillusioned when it comes to love.
And then out of the blue one day, when you least expect it, the trite, worn-out cliché rears its head, proving why it exists in the first place, and you meet a person who likes you, loves you even, for who you are and not who they want you to be. And when you say something stupid or hurtful by accident (or because you can be a stupid, unthinking ass at times, let’s face it) it is not the end of the world. Because, while love might conquer all, it is those small things it is especially good at conquering. The good moments are made even better and the bad moments are made so much less bad. And while there may be exasperation or annoyance every once in a while, you know it will be gone in five minutes’ time and be replaced by the usual, familiar contentness coming to the fore again. You realise you have those moments not because of the other person but despite of them. You love and are loved regardless. A baseline of loving, so to say.
I have become very well acquainted with that feeling over the last six months or so. Love, for me, is not pretending, anymore. Far from it, it is where I can be myself even more than otherwise. And for that, I want to say ‘Thank you!’