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The secret of those old couples cuddling on the park bench somewhere....


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I'm only 34 years old but after the horrendous break up I went through, exactly 1 year ago, of a very passionate, beautiful relationship....I can honestly say that I feel like I have lived a lifetime with the wisdom that came about from that traumatic break up. We were together for 6 years. 4 out of those 6 years were together, living blissfully abroad. We traveled together, lots of adventure, laughter, passion, lust for each other. Everyone who looked at us said the same thing, " You two have something very beautiful together ". However, 2 out of those 6 years became long distance as we had to establish our careers with the promise that after 2 years, we will be together in one country again. Ah, well, it didn't end up like that. He left me just as I was about to file the papers to move to his country. And so, it ended.

 

The pain was nothing like I have ever felt before. But from that pain ( especially in the 2 years where I started to notice the changes in him and how he was shutting me out ), wisdom was born. The MOST painful thing that someone can do to you in a relationship is when they start to outgrow you and they purposely shut you out, in the hopes of erasing you bit by bit. This happened in the course of the 2 years of long distance....I felt it, I knew it was happening but I held on because, I ( unlike him ) believed in love. LOVE. That word. It's everywhere but very few people really know what it means. You see, pain can REALLY bring you the greatest and wisest lessons ever learned in life.

 

So...what is love?

 

Love is like a novel about the adventure of two main characters who are bound together by an intense bond. The novel has chapters where the main characters go through twists, turns, intrigue, adventure, excitement, happiness, grief, challenges, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the main characters may even get separated by some foreboding force where they wander off in dark woods. I suppose, this would be the period in the couples' lives when they start to lose each other and become estranged. You know those couples. The ones who sit at restaurants, eating their meals glumly without speaking a word. They think of the silence between them as " comfort " for being together for so long, but the silence is really a safety net for the words they do not want to say such as " I don't want to go on further with this adventure anymore ". But with love ( like in the novel analogy ), the main characters somehow find each other again in their story. They have battled monsters and demons ( like the terrible tests that all couples experience in real life like infidelity, unforeseen tragedy like death of a child or something, bitter estrangement ), yet with real love, somehow, they find each other again. They find the beauty in each other. For every monster or demon slayed, the main characters can look at each other with all their battle wounds and say " I love you. You are beautiful. Thank you for fighting this WITH me ". And thus, they stay...ready to go to the next chapter of the novel together. In the next chapter, they might experience fortune, happiness and glory. They enjoy every moment of it. They change and grow as time passes. They change emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically....but they can still look at each other and say " You are beautiful...just like the day I first laid my eyes on you. We have gone through many adventures together, both good and bad, and I'd really like to go to the next one. Let's go honey ". And they do. In time, as they go through this wonderful adventure, they become old...withered skin, white hair, wrinkles around their eyes. But they still see each other's beauty. To each other, they are beautiful bc of all the battle wounds, scars and smile wrinkles that their adventurous quest has brought them. For that alone, they LOVE each other.

 

And that's how old couples manage to last and then end up cuddling in park benches.

 

LOVE IS A CHOICE : If you find yourself questioning your love for someone, look at them again and wonder, " I wonder what the next chapter will hold for us? " and then you make the choice whether to continue on with this adventure together...or not. You choose to see the goodness...the beauty...the hope....in your partner, that has fought all those demons and monsters in your adventure together. Or you choose NOT to. Love is a choice.

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I think the secret of old couple sitting on park benches is that culturally women were made to think that they had to put up with a man's behaviour because divorce was unacceptable.

 

My grandparent's were married for 64 years before my grandfather passed away, he was a wonderful grandparent but a terrible husband, regularly spending his wages at the pub before coming home to my grandmother and their 5 children and a womaniser who was caught cheating on my grandma when they were younger. Sure, they loved each other dearly, but I don't think a woman or a man should have to "work through" infidelity.

 

Love is a choice, I agree, but too often we hark back to the "simpler days" when relationships didn't end because society would not allow them to, no matter how horrible that relationship may have been.

 

You sound incredibly enlightened by your break up and I'm happy that you have come out of it with a deep understanding of love so sorry to rain on your parade, I just felt that this needed to be said.

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Meh. Love isn't some fairy tale story book, or whatever. Love is a farce. People just get comfortable with each other and then call it "love" because that makes it sound like this nice happy thing. In reality, people are just looking to get their needs met and following the instinct to pair up with a mate; "love" is just some abstract buzzword people use to make it seem "special". But it's not "special". It's not anything.

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No rain on my parade I'm glad you wrote what you wrote but I think you misunderstand the core of what I am trying to say : It's not about sacrifice. It's about intrinsic synchronization. Both people in the relationship have to tailor their psychological, emotional, mental and biological changes with each other as time goes by. It may look like sacrifice but think of it like an intricate, passionate tango dance...where both partners dance with instinct and passion for each other, while at the same time, using careful steps to make the dance HAPPEN.

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Meh. Love isn't some fairy tale story book, or whatever. Love is a farce. People just get comfortable with each other and then call it "love" because that makes it sound like this nice happy thing. In reality, people are just looking to get their needs met and following the instinct to pair up with a mate; "love" is just some abstract buzzword people use to make it seem "special". But it's not "special". It's not anything.

 

You sound very bitter and sad. Did something happen that made you come to this conclusion that love is not special? That it's nothing more than just " an abstract buzzword "? I do not know you nor your story and that is why I ask. I would hate to go on with life having this idea or notion about love.

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I think that those couples get to that point because they are not just partners but friends, and still enjoy each others company after all that time. I have an aunt/uncle like this. They lived through WW2 together and all manner of crap life threw at them, and I wouldn't say they sit there and cuddle each other anymore, but when they look at each other you can see the love and appreciation in their eyes, there is a loyalty and a genuine admiration between them that I see missing in many of the younger couples I know.

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He wasn't worth it-his loss hun. Onwards and upwards

 

That's just the thing : He WAS worth it. That is why I made the very conscious decision to choose him.....but he didn't choose me. Perhaps, someone else will come along who will be just as worthy. After the break up, I was very lucky to move upward in my career. I suppose, all the pain and grief that I went through propelled me into an " energetic mode " where it was fuelled into my profession. In just one year, I have gotten a promotion and a salary that many would consider as something that happens within 5 - 10 years of a career...but I did it. I feel like I am moving mountains with my licensed profession abroad.

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My nan always said that love stays but changes. Like in the beginning of her marriage it was lust and passionate love, then when they had kids it was still romantic love but also love of the family they had created together. Now they are elderly and have been married 52 years my grandad looks after her a lot. They still love eachother but they are more like 'best friends'

 

My gran and grandad were married 62 years. My grandad died not long after my gran because he couldn't live without her. They were a beautiful in love couple. He used to walk to her grave every weekend even though he was ill and struggled just to put flowers on it.

 

My parents have been together 25 years and they love eachother to pieces...my aunt and uncle almost as long as they still REALLY love eachother

 

I'm surrounded by positive experience and hope for my marriage

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You sound very bitter and sad. Did something happen that made you come to this conclusion that love is not special? That it's nothing more than just " an abstract buzzword "? I do not know you nor your story and that is why I ask. I would hate to go on with life having this idea or notion about love.

 

Just my life experience over my 25 years of life.

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Love is a fickle emotion. Staying loyal and together is a daily choice.

 

Yes, back in the day people stayed together more. For one, because society demanded it. Second, because they needed each other. It wasn't really about love so much as practical realities of life. Some people were lucky and had a great mate, many more were not so lucky and spent a lifetime in a nightmare they could not leave. What we have today is the freedom to walk away. Unfortunately, what we have today is also the expectation of a fairy tale "love" and that doesn't work either. People are quick to flee when disappointed. It's like the pendulum has swung too far from one extreme to the other extreme.

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Yes, your nan is VERY correct. My father said the same thing and my parents have been married for 36 years. Love changes into twists and turns. I experienced this with my ex and I tried to explain it to him....but of course, words are words. One can only know until they have personally experienced it themselves. Maybe one day, he will love someone truly ( like the same way that I loved him ).....and maybe, one day, he will also feel the same pain I felt when he outgrew me and left me. Only then will he know what love is, I suppose.

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I think true love is accepting that love and life has it's ups and downs and not bailing when it get's difficult. Every couple with have times when they argue or when life gets tough and it's about getting through it together and realising you are on the same team, not opposing sides.

 

I think sometimes when people think they aren't 'IN love' with someone any more they mistake love changing for love fading and going away. That passionate, lustful, honeymoon stage love is unmaintainable as a constant. There are going to be dips. Love does grow and mature from what I've seen.

 

That doesn't mean anyone should ever put up with abuse verbally or physically or unfaithfulness, but a lot of problems are fixable.

 

I think it's sad people throw the towel in the moment it becomes hard work.

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I think true love is accepting that love and life has it's ups and downs and not bailing when it get's difficult. Every couple with have times when they argue or when life gets tough and it's about getting through it together and realising you are on the same team, not opposing sides.

 

I think sometimes when people think they aren't 'IN love' with someone any more they mistake love changing for love fading and going away. That passionate, lustful, honeymoon stage love is unmaintainable as a constant. There are going to be dips. Love does grow and mature from what I've seen.

 

That doesn't mean anyone should ever put up with abuse verbally or physically or unfaithfulness, but a lot of problems are fixable.

 

I think it's sad people throw the towel in the moment it becomes hard work.

 

That is the thing the honeymoon phase doesn't last forever and then people think they aren't in love anymore but that's not true.

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Sometimes it can be a difficult transition. Like the more that person becomes comfortable with you and relaxes around you the less it's that 'honeymoon fantasy disney film' love and it becomes a more 'real life' love if that makes sense. Like when I first moved in with my husband it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the dirty pants on the floor haha not exactly romantic! However I love him more than ever because we work together as a team to tackle our problems. Life can be hard sometimes with managing work, money, children and finding time to be a couple but it is possible. I couldn't be happier.

 

Doesn't mean your not in love anymore. Just means love constantly changes.

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Sometimes it can be a difficult transition. Like the more that person becomes comfortable with you and relaxes around you the less it's that 'honeymoon fantasy disney film' love and it becomes a more 'real life' love if that makes sense. Like when I first moved in with my husband it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the dirty pants on the floor haha not exactly romantic! However I love him more than ever because we work together as a team to tackle our problems. Life can be hard sometimes with managing work, money, children and finding time to be a couple but it is possible. I couldn't be happier.

 

Doesn't mean your not in love anymore. Just means love constantly changes.

 

You have figured out the secret sister!

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LOVE IS A CHOICE : If you find yourself questioning your love for someone, look at them again and wonder, " I wonder what the next chapter will hold for us? " and then you make the choice whether to continue on with this adventure together...or not. You choose to see the goodness...the beauty...the hope....in your partner, that has fought all those demons and monsters in your adventure together. Or you choose NOT to. Love is a choice.

 

This has been my outlook...that Love is a choice, or perhaps essentially LOVE IS, and your relationship to it is a choice, your actions are a choice, even your thoughts are a choice. For me my love for my husband was an undercurrent, and if I lost my sense of it or questioned my relationship I only had to check back in to that undercurrent, I'd feel it and it would guide my choices. Around 3.5 years into our relationship we had this discussion about love, a long discussion as we'd hit a crisis and were uncertain about our path ahead, and we both agreed that love is a choice. Over the 30 years together I came to understand that the in-love-feeling is not a constant, that it ebbs and flows. Those old couples that have spent a lifetime together may have fallen in and out of love together but aren't the ones that said "I love him/her but am not IN love so it's time to leave to find someone else." As I see it and have experienced it, that "falling" feeling of love (falling in love/falling out of love) is only the tip of the iceberg. The rest of love is deeper and sometimes hidden. The IN-love feelings come and go, and will come around again. And go, and come...

 

And then he said, I love you, but it's different now, and I don't want a relationship, I want to be single, we should just be friends. And the day we divorced he told me I was the love of his life.

 

I know what love means to me and thought I understood what it meant to him all of our years together, I don't know really what love means to another person. The meaning we give it, the actions we choose around it, what we communicate, how we think about it, ARE choices.

 

EDIT: I'll add, even now, it's a choice. Whether or not I love him is besides the point. Truly. I choose differently now.

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