And you don’t own someone else’s love
“This moment” doesn’t mean forever
Here’s what we do with other human beings: we find one we like and then we immediately want to put that one in a box. And put that box in a bigger box and then move that box into a place together and send photos as proof of that box all over our lives.
And then we want to bind ourselves to that box and us to them by way of legal vows, in an attempt to negotiate for reassurance that that box will never, ever leave us.
But they may.
And that’s their prerogative.
Because inside that marriage, in that home, and deep inside that box is still a human being that has his or her own human being experience that’s completely separate from yours.
And at the end of the day, their life belongs to them, not you. They may choose to spend it with you. They may stand in front of all your loved ones and even promise this.
But it’s all false insurance the day their journey diverges. And it’s not “the end of the world” if this happens — this is a completely normal thing, people living. And that box is always something that people simply allow.
Your wishes don’t define your partner’s
Their life is still theirs and not yours.
You are entitled to feel disappointed. Heartbroken. Devastated. Angry. Blindsided. Whatever — you are permitted to feel whatever you want.
But so are they are.
And neither of you are entitled to ask anything of the other person that conflicts with what they want to give and their life desires. So if their ideas around them change, it’s for you to pick up your own pieces, and them theirs.
There’s no pointing to contracts. No throwing guilt trips in their face. At the end of the day, those vows are social constructs and the human experience is non-negotiable. We subscribe to vows because we choose to, and anyone, at any time, can choose to step down from them and un-choose.
Almost everyone you know is going to be temporary in your life. The only thing you can control is your own emotional wellbeing. And the best gift you can give someone, if you love them, is the space to control their own as well.
Love each moment like it’s the last
The upside, of course, is treating each moment as a treasure. Never assuming that because they’re here — or you’ve got a ring in hand — you’ve got this shit on lockdown. And definitely never looking for that ring just as a shortcut to that reassurance.
Love them as though they are free people who could, if this stopped working, choose to leave.
Love them as though they are smart, independent, unique human beings who are going their own way in life, and make deliberate choices every day.
Choose each other every moment.