Choosing Convenience Over Love.
The process of grieving someone dear to you is soul-breaking, and time goes painstakingly slow.
A person whom I loved went from being a part of my daily routine to non-existent overnight.
I was left to bear a loss that left me dumbfounded. I had to accept a break-up that I couldn’t understand, one which did not breed clarity. The only choice I had was to accept and live through a blur: the relationship, the person, the time, the connection. Did that all really happen?
I would go to sleep with my hand outstretched like I used to, only it was never holding his comforting hand. Falling asleep to an unsettled mind resulted in very short sleeps. I would wake from dreams, but find it hard to distinguish the new dream I’d awoken to. I’d lost my living diary to confide in. The phone would ring; it wasn’t him. Disappointment. So much disappointment.
This relationship that I valued greatly was ending because he was moving and could not compute how to transport our relationship with him. It was easier for him to concentrate on the essential material packing that he had to do in limited time, and our connection didn’t fit neatly into the suitcase. The focus was on the weight of the contents in the bag, instead of the quality of items he was bringing.
I struggled with the Why. Despite our connection, despite our investment in one another, despite the ease with which the relationship flowed, this was now the end solely because he was moving to a less than desirable country. He tried to console me by telling me that if he were moving to a country that was more favorable, then of course we would make it work. That didn’t help.
An inconvenient country for a career opportunity was superseding my heart.
I have never been one to be naive, and I wanted to believe that there had to be more to it. Surely this was more to do with his feelings for me than being separated by oceans. But it wasn’t.
While I accept that we do not all place the same weight on things that we think will make our life meaningful and purposeful, it has been a challenge to understand how the same man whose intellect I admired and respected so much could be so ignorant with matters of the heart.
I can’t help but worry for him on how much he stands to miss out on in life with his ability to detach. While I don’t believe that we only have one soulmate in our lifetime, we have limited timing, chance and opportunity to tempt fate too many times.
I’ve sometimes questioned if I was born in the wrong decade, as my values and morals don’t always seem to align with the way our society and culture is headed. I am loyal and committed, which seems to be to a fault in today’s propensity to prefer choice and change. The art of commitment falls short in many facets in people’s lives today: their work, their friends, their educational studies, their relationships.
In today’s age of being globally connected, with all of the digital tools available at our fingertips, and with every mode of transportation just waiting for a ticket to be purchased, why was he still allowing miles apart to be the executioner in determining the path that our relationship was on?
Technology is available to enable more freedom in relationships, and allows us to maintain connection when we are apart. Why was he applying modern technologies and conveniences in selfishly constricting ways? Have we as a society become less committed to real connections? Am I in fact living in the wrong time period?
Friends often poke fun at my aversion to apps and technologies that are supposed to make my life easy. They tease me for having a landline, and know I would always rather talk than text. They really raise their eyebrows when they see my bookshelf of novels I adore, sorted alphabetically by author.
I admit that I lag behind with buying into modernity when it comes in a digital form, but this experience left me questioning whether I had to realign my relationship expectations.
Popular culture is flooded with romance and fantastical love stories in imagery, song, print and film. We love watching others take risks for love. Our heart skips and tears flow when the underdogs and the star-crossed lovers confront and overcome unbelievable odds. The greater the feat, the more we praise when they triumph the hurdles for love. Why couldn’t he make a similar leap for us?
Why was he so complacent in love? Have people become more spectators than actors in love and relationships?
In a time when we are exposed to, and can have relationships with, a population of people around the world never before imaginable, why then turn around and limit ourselves because of this very same geographical distance?
Some of the great loves in history may have never seen their story unfold had they lived in today’s digital age. People would meet once and then proceed to wait months and years to be reunited. They survived on letters alone that were few and far between. But they made it work. And many stayed together. They understood their special connection.
They understood that life is short, connections are few and excuses are easy.
Instead of him working for love, he chose immediacy and convenience, the easier options. He didn’t realize that by avoiding times of struggle, he was denying us an opportunity to make our relationship stronger and allow us to grow. Has our degree of commitment changed because of today’s influx of choices available to us? Have we lost sight of what is important in favor of what is easy?
There are countless temptations and systems in place today that can make us feel that the ease of access to meeting a new connection will be easy, as it is always facilitated at our fingertips. By adding an app, we can swipe our way to the next match and delete the previous relationship taking up storage space on our mind. How can we capture someone’s heart when it can be so easily distracted?
People are unpredictable beings, and there is never certainty when dealing with one another. X + Y does not have to equal Z, and we don’t have to allow bumps to become insurmountable mountains. Just because something is difficult, it does not mean that it should not be pursued. In so many ways, our society needs to work on perseverance and resiliency.
We need to view challenges as opportunities instead of things to be avoided.
Sometimes we have to play the odds and hope that the risks will lead to even greater rewards. It is impossible to calculate the perfect timing or plan the perfect partner. We can type in every single search criteria we may think we want in countless dating websites, but we cannot filter for a true connection. It is so important to cherish the one you have one with.
I cannot accept that this is something that needs to modernize.
The heart is the most connected application that we should be mindful of in our relationships. We shouldn’t make people grieve the loss of us because we aren’t listening to the right app. Real love isn’t a swipe away.
Ashley B. enjoys traveling, exercise and reading. Continually growing and learning from many experiences and relationships has encouraged her to begin to share and add her dialogue to the conversation. The more voices contributing to this complex social myriad, the better equipped she believes we are to foster a genuine and deeper understanding, appreciation and empathy towards one another.