From the very start. Until forever.
Good love always was, always is, and always will be.
It’s “forever” from the very beginning. It’s “forever” before either of you even realize what’s happening, and definitely before the other person gives you the okay to feel so.
It’s “forever” even when it feels broken, or scary, or hurt. Good love beats down the temptation to lash out — good love wants the best for them, always, and good love trumps all — including our own defenses.
Good love is “forever” to the very end, until there is nothing to be anything anymore, when you go on feeling some amount of “forever” for them long after they’re gone, if you do meet the misfortune of parting ways.
Good love is always.
There is no start, no finish; no permission, and no plan.
Good love is from the start
You love them before you realize you love them; you love them without understanding why. You care so deeply for their being that you don’t realize that’s what love is until some stranger all but stops you in the street to point it out.
You want the best for them, no matter what that means, and you want it before it even requires a sacrifice — or comes back on you by way of “brownie points” or “winning them over.”
You want their happiness, and you want it outside of your own and without sacrificing your own. You just want for it.
Good love is for the sake of a person, not itself
And certainly not ourselves.
Good love is making ourselves neither the martyr of love, nor the victim in love, nor the giver or doormat in love. And it is also not the benefactor or center or manipulator of love. Love is never insecure, or lashing out, or breaking glassware. Love is never hurt or pain or fear. Love is both fragile and all-consuming; it cannot coexist with these things.
Good love is balanced, and healthy, and clean.
Love is people — first yourself, and then them. Love is loving. Love is kind. Love is wanting the best for them even when you feel the worst.
Love is never in the name of “Love,” but simply for the act of loving. You never think about whether or not your feelings — or this “thing” — fits the bill of “Love” with a capital L. You only think about them and their wellbeing.
Love is not a motto on a wall.
Good love just is
You love them simply; cleanly; straightforwardly. You love them without trying — without thinking — in the same sense that you breathe or sleep or eat or see. You just do.
And pushed to make a decision around whether or not to keep it going, there isn’t even a real choice to make. You do.
You want them as they are. You want them in from the rain, sopping wet in an old hoodie. You want them dressed up, dressed down, distracted, downtrodden, and everything in between.
You want them well. You want to undress them from their stress just after work. You want them so happy they can’t stop smiling.
You want everything for them they want for themselves — and then you want more. You want the entire world — and then some — each time they share an aspiration. You want them to win. You want their drink order right at the bar. You want them to have everything they want — including but certainly not limited to you.
If the person you love wanted to pursue a life without you, and believed that would make them happier, then you would let them.
Such is your care for their happiness. Because such is love.
Good love is more than a feeling
Good love is a choice.
But it’s a choice in the sense that you barely have to choose.
You don’t talk about it because every time it bubbles up, it feels melodramatic and excessive. It reminds you of the beginning of every relationship — the part you forget, once it gets ugly there towards the end — when you’re sinking down into that exquisite agony like some scarily feel-good high. The part that you later realize isn’t “real;” when you’re wrong.
Good love never becomes wrong. Good love is like that for years.
Good love is always
There is no such thing as de-loving good love.
There may be breakup, there may be sadness and hurt and suffering. But there is no un-loving real love. There is no deciding you no longer want the best for someone — if it’s love once, real love’s forever.
Good love is the way one old woman felt for her estranged son, who’d abandoned his family and disappeared for two decades. Good love is the way she collected his things from his apartment and tidily stored them in a box, awaiting his return, for twenty years. Good love is the way she talked about him respectfully, never speculating nor hoping but merely holding space. Good love was also holding herself together when she later heard he’d died. And good love was asking herself to understand and respect his life as his own, outside of hers.
Good love is pain. And good love can be sadness.
But good love is ultimately honoring and respecting each person, and loving ourselves — and them — enough to want the very best for each of those people so damn hard.
With no real start, and no finish. It simply is.