Love you forever.

Is it possible to love someone forever?  Or is it more realistic to believe that nothing lasts forever?

The notion of ‘nothing lasts forever’ can be effective in dealing with disappointments and let-downs. It’s like a mental shrug of the shoulders that acknowledges a setback but allows you to move on unhindered.

In the past however I used it as a permanent mind-set. It was the only way I had of rationalising and managing my life.Of course all that happened was that I became trapped in a self-fulfilling prophesy. I desperately wanted and needed to love and be loved, but as long as I held onto the idea that everything was temporary, it was never going to happen. And believing that I was worthless compounded my perception that love would never exist in my life at all, let alone forever.

A counsellor once said to me, “It’s a miracle that you are married.” She was right. I’d experienced such dysfunctional love. The grief I had felt at losing my mum was based on a false love – I had no love for her, only love for the mother that could have been. And that goes for my father too. His love came at a price. Love was a ‘deal’ – Quid pro quo.

As an adult the problem was my inability to identify what love actually was and then to accept it when it came my way. Who doesn’t remember their first true love? The bitter-sweet romance of youth with a promise that it would last forever. Naturally he broke my heart in a way that only a first love can and left me resolving never to allow myself to feel that vulnerable again.

Whilst everyone else around me seemed to be connecting with their long-term sweetheart, I went through relationships that were at best superficial and at worst completely destructive to my body and mind. Alcoholism and depression became my constant companions. They fed my fear of attachment and ensured a loveless existence. And a life without love is no life at all.

Learning to love was by far greatest challenge in my healing. With the help of faith and hope I confronted my alcoholism, dealt with the traumas of the past and reclaimed my life with a passion. But finding the courage to love myself and others was challenging and painful. Opening up myself to the possibility of rejection was terrifying, as was the notion of commitment.

When I finally believed I was worthy of a relationship, I had to learn how to manage the love within it. I’d previously had the unrealistic expectation that ‘love you forever’ meant ‘I’ll never leave you’ or ‘I’ll never hurt you.’ And I’m sure for some people that’s actually the truth. But for me I could only receive ‘love you forever’ as something for the moment.

I’ve come a long way from only believing in ‘nothing is forever’, and I truly want to believe in ‘love you forever’.  When I made my marriage vows I meant them and want the marriage to last.  But if I’m honest, there are times when I doubt that it’s possible. I struggle with having the experience that reminds me how people can let me down but on the other hand having the wisdom that reassures me that I am strong enough to trust.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” And that’s what I intend to do. I’m a work in progress and not a million miles away from doing the thing I think I cannot do.

But in the meantime I’ll take a deep breath and say “Just for today, I’ll love you forever.”

______________________________

Top image thanks to Freaky Peas      http://www.etsy.com/listing/89892270/blue-heart-original-multi-media-painting          Bottom image thanks to Joy Northrop           http://www.etsy.com/listing/108601989/forever-love-digital-download-whimsical

34 thoughts on “Love you forever.

  1. Such a beautifully written post… For me, I believe that love is an action verb, not just a feeling and so there are people with whom I am no longer in an intimate relationship with but I still ‘love’ by being kind and considerate towards.

  2. You are always so fearlessly candid and open, Carolyn. And what a powerful question that is. I have to believe that it is possible. At the same time as many others have said, you must love one day at a time and be grounded in the present. I think the problem with the whole fairy tale of love is that it doesn’t account for the fact that while it isn’t unrealistic to expect to be in love forever, it is quite unrealistic to expect that your mate will never change. Everyone changes. As such we must expect on some level that the way we love each other 10 years in will be different from the way it looks and feels in the beginning.

  3. Great post, I love the fact that I know that I am loved forever by my husband and my children. So, because I know how important that is, I make sure that they know I love them forever. We don’t always have to love what they do, but I make sure that they know, that they know I am always there for them and that I love them no matter what!

  4. I always enjoy your posts, Carolyn, and can relate to them! “Is it possible to love someone forever?” is such a great question. I know it’s true of the parent-child relationship but in terms of romantic partnership, it’s more important for me to be grounded in the present moment and the present reality.

  5. Such powerful sharing, Carolyn. This is an area where I’ve struggled as well. You’re right, it’s a journey and one, I think, that is worth the fear and even the disappointments. Thank you so much for this post.

  6. Beautiful Carolyn! I believe no matter what our past, that is all any of us can say. We can only love for today. Love is not always easy and work is involved. We don’t always love wholeheartedly everyday, but we are committed to the relationship and doing the work to make it last. That is what holds us together. All the best. Hugs.

    • You make a great point Cathy that love isn’t easy and work is involved. I think we either sometimes forget that or believe it’s too difficult. I’m glad that you can also to relate to ‘love for today.’ Thank you 🙂

  7. This reminds me of a book I’ve been reading by psychotherapist John Welwood called “Love and Awakening.” Welwood suggests that the reason we really seek out the experience of falling in love is that it gives us an experience of being very present — very attuned to what’s going on in the moment, as opposed to thinking about the past or future. So it isn’t, he says, really another person we’re looking for — it’s a deeper relationship with this moment and what we truly are, which at the core is unchanging.

    • That’s an interesting comment Chris. The idea that we are looking for a deeper relationship with the present moment would explain why many seek that thrill of a new relationship. We may not know much about the person but we do know how vibrant and alive they can make us feel at the start. Definately something to think about!

  8. Carolyn, I couldn’t agree more with your comment “And a life without love is no life at all.”! The Beatles song “All you need is love” … comes to mind right now 🙂

    I think once we learn to love ourselves, and believe that we are truly worth loving, then we are on the right track to a love that truly is “forever”. It is so true that we really do have to love ourselves before someone else can love us, accept ourselves and just be comfortable with being ourselves, before the rest can fall into place. We need to shed the attachment we have to all the previous negative experiences, and the pain from past relationships, words that have hurt, actions that have nearly destroyed us, and feelings that we are battling to heal from. What we put out there we will get back and more!

    We are all worthy of love, but we have to believe it. We also need to allow love in, and breakdown the walls we have built around us. We think that we are protecting ourselves with the barriers we put in place, yet what we are really doing is preventing others from touching our hearts, from loving us, and embracing us for who we are. We need to be open to receiving love, and need to practice giving love. Loving someone is a risk, but not loving someone is a loss, so I’d rather take a risk in love and hope for the best.

    I believe in life, I believe in hope, yes I believe in love forever …

    Best we start giving the best of us, living for Today, with the right intention, so that we can be open to receiving the same. x

    • What a beautiful comment Christine. You put it so well that we are all worthy of love but we do have to believe it. And the barriers aren’t protecting, they are preventing. It is a risk to love someone but like you I am willing to believe that I can receive as well as give. 🙂

  9. I strongly believe the messages we are given as children becomes our internal dialogue. If those messages are dysfunctional it takes quite a while to unlearn them. I was in my late twenties before I was able to accept that I didn’t know how to love myself, and needed to fumble through it, and read a lot, and make mistakes with people – before I caught on to what it means to love myself and others wholly.
    I grew up being told I was not good enough, and was inherently bad. So I became that… Took quite a while to realize I was a scapegoat within my family dynamic, and was a part of a family history with a long generational transmission of alcoholism and also the mindset of the alcoholic family. It is poignant to look at our family tree and see the ripple effects from generations past. It took me even longer to assert I no longer had to play the role being expected of me.

    Thanks for your post, I think a lot of people struggle with the idea of love and what it means in their lives.

    • Thank you for such an insightful comment about how we internalise the dialogue that takes place as a child – it is so sad that we end up spending so much time trying to undo the damage of the past. And you are spot on about the ripple effects through the family. The good news for both of us is that we are breaking that chain and handing over a new legacy to the next generation.

  10. Our counselors also think it is a miracle we are married. I’m still learning about love, and I suppose will learn more every day. Seems almost what life is about, doesn’t it? Learning to love and be loved.

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