Sometimes, Love Isn't Enough

I’ll be the first to admit that the title of this article sounds a bit cynical. It kind of is. However, I like to think that I’ve learned a couple things over the years in my relationships (at least I hope I have...otherwise, would someone tell me what I’ve been doing this entire time?)


I think that this is around the time that I should let you all know I’m going through a breakup right now, so I’m feeling a bit cynical in general. My ex and I were in each other’s lives for 2 years, and though the breakup was amicable, it still hurts like hell.


This is not the first terrible case of heartbreak I have endured. This was actually my second time ending a serious relationship, and from what I can remember from that first breakup...let’s just say I’m not super excited about the months that lay ahead. 


Nevertheless, I believe that I can take this pain and all of the lessons I have learned, and turn it into a message about love. This message may be slightly pessimistic, and even a tad melodramatic, but I believe that it is an important message nonetheless. So, hear me out.


We are raised on idealistic, utopian stories about love in movies, books, and magazines. Growing up, many of us believe we will one day achieve this all-consuming, earth-shattering version of love. I mean, it would be nice, and maybe some of us will achieve it. However–and this is the important part–we’re also taught that this kind of love equates to happiness. We’re taught that this kind of love equates to a successful relationship. We’re under the impression that as long as we have that love, we are unstoppable. Simply put, this is a lie.


Sometimes, love isn’t enough.


My exes and I didn’t break up because we didn’t love each other. We broke up because of other  things that weren’t working in the relationship. Love alone does not make a relationship function, especially as we grow into adulthood. As we get older, relationships inevitably transition from being the simple elation of butterflies in your stomach when your crush looks your way to something slightly heavier–something more significant.


Now, I’m not saying that you have to be with “the one” right now. It’s college. Do your thing. My point is that when we do find ourselves in a serious relationship at this age, it is natural to wonder, “Hm, what is it that I want out of life?”


With age comes responsibility. There are so many things that we as (semi) adult women need from our partners (and out of life) besides romantic love. Love is essential, but it is not everything. There are daily responsibilities, there are academic and career-focused priorities, there is emotional intelligence, and there are goals. It is entirely possible to fall in love with a person whose opinions and values about these things are different than yours.


And, oftentimes, we realize that these things don’t match up–and won’t work in the long run–far too late. We’re left feeling kind of stuck. Stuck between the heartache of losing someone you care for deeply, and the knowledge that though you love them, you’re not sure that you are for them.


This is a most painful realization. It is one that places cracks in the visage of love that we all peered at for years as we grew up. You wonder, “If I love this person, everything should be ok. As long as I love them, our relationship can succeed, right?” 


I believe that the answer to this question is no. The success of a relationship is dependent on many things, and though love is one of them, it is not the only thing. And, even if it hurts, I would never encourage any person to stay in an unfulfilling relationship just because you are in love.


To let go of someone you love takes bravery, and it takes strength. I would argue that in many cases, it is far more terrifying to say goodbye to someone good than to someone who doesn’t deserve your love. 


However, no good decisions are ever made out of fear. 


As someone who’s had to make this decision, I’m left feeling a little discouraged, and a little disheartened. However, I continuously try to remind myself that this lesson I’ve learned will set me up for success in the long run–success meaning finding someone who fits with me, and who is for me.


Though we are becoming adults, we still have so much life in front of us. It’s daunting to think about, but it’s true. We have plenty of time to find our person (if that’s what we want) and finally get it right. For now, I would encourage you to be with someone whose personality and values compliment yours. Someone who challenges you. Someone who is worthy of you. And yeah, okay, someone you love.


Alexa, play happiness by Taylor Swift.