And we don’t have agency over someone’s love
“This moment” doesn’t mean forever
We tend to attach ourselves to people.
On the one hand, relationships and human connection are part of what makes life so wonderful. But on the other hand, we bastardize it, running it into the ground and ruining it before it’s even had an honest shot.
We find someone we like and we want to put them 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. We want to harness, hold, hug, control. We want to hang all of our needs and wants and dependencies on others, and we want “being together” to make everything okay.
But deep inside that box is still a human being that has his or her own human being experience that’s completely separate from ours.
And at the end of the day, their life belongs to them, not us. They may choose to spend it with us — may stand in front of all your loved ones and 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.
Our wishes don’t define your partner’s
Their life is still theirs and not ours.
We are entitled to feel disappointed. Heartbroken. Devastated. Angry. Blindsided. Whatever — we are permitted to feel whatever we want.
But so are they are.
They are their own people, and have to live their own idea of happiness.
And nobody is 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 us to pick up our own pieces, and them theirs.
There’s no pointing to contracts. No throwing guilt trips in their face. At the end of the day, promises are social constructs and the human experience is non-negotiable. We commit because we choose to, and anyone, at any time, can choose to step down from them and un-choose.
Almost everyone we know is going to be temporary in our life. The only thing we can control is our own emotional wellbeing. And the best gift we can give someone, if we 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 we’ve got a ring in hand — we’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.