Staying in love

Now, this no one writes poetry about. Nor prose. No one sings about it. Not Madonna or Beyonce. Jim Reeves, Springsteen or even soppy Michael Bolton. And no one dances about it either. It’s the supposed, ‘And they lived happily ever after’ happy ending. Never mind that they slit each other’s throats. Or worse still, don’t. Perhaps even bloom? ‘Staying in love’ is not given the stage ‘falling in love’ is.

Falling in love is magical. Finally a mate. Urdu, perhaps has the most apt word, humsafar. And with that pillion and the looming magic, a certain buoyancy, a hitherto untasted freedom and an innate need to let go. Just be. Flow. Let go of all that you’ve patiently acquired: detachment, perhaps? Completeness in self. Love demands attachment. Dependence. Losing the self and leaning. And you do it all. And then comes the morning after… How, now, do you sleepwalk? Make the relinquishment desired and not resentful.

How do you stay in love?
Staying in love is a Ferris wheel ride. Up follows down, and round and round you go. You take turns at playing victim and villain. Today, it’s his turn. You’ll do something insensitive, thoughtless perhaps, and he’ll feel betrayed. Let down. Tomorrow is your turn. Sure enough, he’ll disappoint. It doesn’t add up. This isn’t him. What happened? It’s life singing her swansong. Unfolding her duality — what gets you to soar must also get you to sink. That you make this quintessence of life a noose is your doing.

Staying is love is accepting disappointment. Plain and simple. And this, smilingly.

You could well choose to press escape. But sometimes the mains are faulty, and the escape chute missing. You’re too invested. Too much in love to run. You want to stay. Want to beg him to let you stay. And yet there’s that unmet expectation — constantly gnawing. And he can fix it. At least acknowledge it. But he doesn’t. Telling him is complaining, and you won’t, never mind that it eats your insides. And you feel betrayed.
But you can’t betray him. And you stay. And you embrace disappointment, and you love. But, slowly, you resent.

Staying in love is trusting the other enough to share your pain. Vent and not resent.

But how much do you say and what does that make you? Perhaps it’s simpler to have no expectations. Or, accept that he won’t meet them. ‘No expectations’ is Zen that you can aspire for and if it doesn’t mummify you, you shall be anointed Zen master. Meanwhile, manage your expectations. Vent knowing that even as he empathises resolution may not be as you had envisaged. He might well be on your trajectory but must he unfold it as you would? He will do it, as only he can, and (remember?) that is why you love him.

Staying in love is reminding yourself that you love him for who he is. And not who you are.

But you were alike — made for each other? Blessed with compatibility and chemistry. What happened? Couples with most chemistry turn brother-sister over time. No, they aren’t incestuous only defeatist. Why work on something you can shrug off as fate. And compatibility? “We had it, we did, but then, he stopped caring.” “She turned a nag. Also, the spark died.” Incidentally, compatibility isn’t something you have. Manna from heaven — not really! Compatibility is something you make. Something you work on; make for each other.

Staying in love is not the spoils of ‘made for each other’ but the toil of making it work for each other.

For yes, you are different. He brings in your life a hue you didn’t have. Music, you hadn’t listened to. Horses you hadn’t ridden before. A way of life, perhaps, alien. Pause. Reflect. It’s the dissimilarities that make it electrifying. Of course, the overlaps are beautiful. That you both relish Woody Allen’s humour as also, Shepherd’s Pie… But even if you didn’t, you could always ask to be let in. Be a part of his world. His music, his sport, perhaps his mother? His unchanging ways. His silences.

Staying in love is celebrating your differences. Your ebullience and his reticence is a love song that no Madonna can sing. Staying in love is wanting to stay in love. Toiling for love and not looking for Plan B. Staying in love is believing in the simplicity of making it work. Getting it to work. Staying in love is, quite simply, staying put.

Nupur Mahajan is a sum of many parts. Ideas are her business even as her creative streak sees her straddle television, advertising, publishing, radio and brands. Reach her at nupurmahajan@icloud.com

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