What is "REAL" love?
Real love is the man who has been with his wife for 30+ years and helps bathe and feed her while she battles life-threatening cancer. He drives her back and forth to her chemo sessions and cleans the vomit in the car while telling her she's beautiful and he wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.
Real love is the elderly wife who feeds, hugs, kisses and sings songs to her husband of 50 years as his brain is eaten away by dementia. He doesn't have a clue who she is, but she doesn't care one bit.
Real love is the wife who finds out her husband lost his job and tells him that she is so excited for his future and will do all she can to help him land the next big gig.
Real loves is tough. Real love is strong.
Real love is a choice.
"Falling in love" is NOT real love. That is lust. That is a shot of dopamine hitting your brain like a bullet. That is nature saying, "You must procreate with this human!" It's brain cocaine. It's fleeting and very easily fades with time.
The irony is that all good romantic relationships should start with the brain cocaine dopamine hit. They should start with, "Whoa... who is that girl over there??" There should be butterflies and anxiety. If the feelings are reciprocated, this should eventually result in lots of awesome nights together in bed with a sexual freedom only seen with truly compatible people.
Real love presents itself when those insane lustful feelings inevitably start to fade. Real love steps up when life beats you upside the head and makes you want to crawl in bed forever. Real love keeps your head above water.
After you live together for several years, what was once a cute little quirk becomes an irritating habit that makes you want to claw your eyes out. The kids make you want to run out to the woods and scream. Your life at home is just so fucking draining.
That's when it's decision time:
"Is this person and our relationship worth the inevitable years of hard work ahead of us? Does it get better?"
Make no mistake, real love IS hard work. To remain committed and loving to a partner requires a whole series of steps that, frankly, most of us just aren't cut out to do.
Most of us shouldn't be in long-term relationships. It's not for everyone.
Not only is real love not for everyone, it doesn't happen very often. Contrary to what Hollywood may tell you, REAL LOVE is EXTREEEEEEEMMEEEELLLY rare. Finding two people who enjoy the intense lustful fun of the honeymoon stage AND are able to string together several decades of strong dedication and love... well, that's like winning the lottery.
I wouldn't bet on it happening in your lifetime. Sorry if that stings, but it's the truth.
You don't just fall into real love. You choose it. You work for it. You EARN it. It's very tough. Most don't have the stomach for it. It takes two people deciding to work very hard and work together on a common goal: Stay together and help each other go through life as happy and content as possible.
Falling in love is easy. You literally cannot help it when your brain and penis say, "Whoa... that chick is amazing. I don't know if I've seen anyone hotter. I would totally do her. OMG she just smiled at me." The woman can't help it when her brain and hoohah say, "Whoa... that guy is really cute, rich and seems to really like me. I wonder what it would be like to be his wife. Hmmmmm...."
Those thoughts and feelings happen in a millisecond. Nature doing what it's supposed to do. The falling in love part happens when you take those feelings and combine them with opportunity and willingness to follow-through to the next step.
It doesn't take much time at all, and almost zero effort to cross that line.
Already in a relationship and experiencing these thoughts about others? Real love means recognizing these perfectly natural feelings of approaching the line, stopping, and turning in the other direction.
Real love means taking those lustful feelings home to your spouse and showing them your sexual side you reserve just for them. Physical intimacy is absolutely crucial for real love. Without it you are buddies.
Real love also means recognizing the extreme importance of those early "in love" feelings and doing all you can to keep them going throughout your relationship. You NEED to keep that fire going. Real love means taking care of yourself and doing all the "shallow" work of looking nice so that your spouse will be happy to show you off. Real love knows you have to sprinkle in lust and anxiety here and there to keep the sexy love engine going. Real love means being true to yourself and your sexuality and being open with your partner about your needs.
Real love means never getting comfortable. All of this could go away in a heartbeat... as many of us have learned.
It's hard. Most people can't do the work.
Most people see the end goal of "real love" and think it begins and ends when you say "I DO". Nope. Not by a long shot. That's when the real fun begins. That's when you test the strength of your relationship.
Want kids? That's the biggest test of all. You've just put your marriage on HARD mode. The lure of throwing away all the silly shallow sexy stuff and propping up your Provider role is stronger than ever. That's a disaster waiting to happen, as those in dead bedrooms can tell you.
Getting older? You're both not as young and virile as you used to be. She's not getting catcalls anymore and young gals run away when you try to be friendly with them. As far as the rest of the "sexual marketplace" is concerned, your values just went down the toilet. Do you just say "fuck it" and plop yourself in the recliner for the next 20 years, or do you value your relationship and put in the hard work of trying to be the sexiest damn spouse possible?
Are you worth the effort? Is SHE worth it? Is your relationship worth it?
Times they are a changin'
If the inevitable aging and introduction of kids aren't enough... modern society has kicked things up a notch for you. It's now tougher than ever to maintain and nurture REAL love.
Thanks to social media and that stupid supercomputer phone in your pocket, temptation is just one tap or swipe away. Your wife knows this truth better than anyone.
Men are desperate. Men will bang a knothole in a tree if they have to. They see a tired mom who was worn down by life, and all it takes is "Hey there, sexy. Haven't seen you in YEARS!" on the Facebook messenger and your wife's dormant sexual engine gets started right back up.
Nothing wears down the boundaries of a woman like a dull and predictable marriage to a dull and predictable husband. What is comfortable real love to the boring husband is life-questioning unfulfillment to his wife.
Yes, the man that everyone says is a loser is able to pull your beloved wife away from the foundation of real love that have you built together all these years.
That is the delicate nature of real love. It is no match for falling "in love". The drug is way too powerful. All it takes is one side to walk away, and it's all over. Years, if not decades of marital equity wiped out with one steamy sexting session with that guy from the bar.
It takes two to tango.
Most guys I work with had the end goal of "Real Love" in mind when they married. They wanted nothing more than to be the comfortable loving grandparents sitting on the porch watching their grandkids play in the front yard. Then they get blindsided when they find out their spouse opted out of the agreement and instead pursued the instant gratification of "falling in love" with an affair partner.
What was once viewed as so strong and comfortable is now a piece of trash that can be easily tossed into the waste bin.
Real love... it ain't for everybody.
You picked somebody who got a whiff of excitement and decided to pursue the life of momentary excitement over the inevitable years of hard work. They let nature take over and rode the "falling in love" wave right outta your life. It may have taken years, but they finally showed you what they are made of, and it's not good.
They're not cut out for real love. Lesson learned.
You're not the first to go down this road, and you most certainly won't be the last.
I cringe every time I see a poor guy emotionally vomiting on Facebook after he's been dumped. If he's lucky enough to get responses (nobody gives a shit), SOMEBODY will inevitably say "You will find true love again! Trust me!"
Immediately, people are saying to our poor sap, "You know what the cure for being dumped is? Falling in love with another woman and trying again!" This is the absolute last thing these men need to hear.
Most of my readers have some type of childhood baggage that has programmed them to look for REAL love above all else in life. They sacrifice their dignity, their masculinity, and their sanity in order to achieve the prize that they feel is their god-given right.
Even if that means putting up with a cheating spouse and groveling at her feet when she has such obvious disdain for him, he will hang on for dear life. She's busy kicking away at his ribs repeatedly saying, "I. DON'T. LOVE. YOU." He's coughing up blood while screaming, "BUT... WE HAVE REAL LOVE!"
When finally kicked to the curb for good, these men try to immediately stop the bleeding with another woman.
He wants so badly to win the lottery. He keeps buying scratch-offs and tickets for the MegaBucks/Powerball weekly drawing. instead, he should spend that money on a therapist and a gym membership.
As I've said many times... it's not until you have harmony and balance within yourself that you have an opportunity to find real love. Until then, you just find women to fill a hole. Women aren't spackle. They're human beings. They're flawed. The more you NEED them to fix what ails you, the more FLAWED your partner is likely to be. The woman who you meet and decide to move in with 3 months after meeting her is more likely to have the kind of baggage that will bring you and everything you love down the toilet.
You don't NEED real love to function. You don't NEED it to thrive. You don't NEED it to be a man.
The more you don't NEED something, the more likely you are to find it.
Such is life.