I watched an interested TED talk today, called "Falling in Love is the easy part". Now, I don't actually think the delivery was particularly captivating but I've pulled out the parts that really hit me and which I will reflect upon here.
I want to bring this up because, today, I want to share with you a little glimpse inside my own relationship with Mr. Human. I think a relationship between any two people is so special. No-one else understands exactly as they do what it is like between them. But to me, I still want to try show even just a sliver.
Firstly, the background of the TED speaker, Mandy, is that she wrote an article in the New York Times called "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do this". In it, she describes how she tried out this psychological experiment involving asking a stranger 36 increasingly personal questions, and then they stare into each other's eyes for four minutes.
Examples of questions that she mentions in the talk include:
- Number 12: If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability,what would it be?
- Number 28: When did you last cry in front of another person?By yourself?
- Number 30, I really like this one: Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things you might not say to someone you just met.
The idea is that people usually feel extremely closer and connected after. I don't know how I became this way but I know I am a very open person. I am happy to talk about almost any topic that is asked of me and I actually endeavour to say exactly what's on my mind. So this experiment with 36 questions and how it manufactures 'love' just makes me think... is it because people don't get enough true, personal talk in their everyday moments that, when they do, it's something so special? Coupled with the fact that people don't experience an intense amount of eye contact each day - they seem to walk by each other without ever acknowledging each other's existence. And I wonder if that's why this experiments fires off these feelings of fireworks and romance - because people are deprived of something so very simple as honest conversation and eye contact?
Mandy, the speaker, did this experiment herself with an acquaintance and they fell in love. After her article, thousands of responses poured in asking the inevitable question, even months and months and months later...
"Are you still together?"
This is her response: So, if you want it, the short version of the story of my relationship is this: a year ago, an acquaintance and I did a study designed to create romantic love, and we fell in love,and we are still together, and I am so glad.
But it's what she says next that actually made me, I admit haha, tear up a little.
"But falling in love is not the same thing as staying in love."
Falling in love is the easy part.So at the end of my article, I wrote, "Love didn't happen to us.We're in love because we each made the choice to be."
And that hit me because, almost every single day that I am with Mr. Human, this is something that I realise more and more.
Him and I met when I was on exchange in Amsterdam in 2014. We fell in love. Plain and simple. There were no games, there was no analysing each and everything he said to see what he meant, no agonising over whether he said this and did it mean he liked me or not. He liked me. And I liked him. A lot.
It made me understand that relationships don't need to be so complicated. You like them, they like you. The core is simple.
But it's the staying together, that is the hard part, as Mandy said. I have felt this with Mr. Human so many times. There has been a certain issue that has been in our relationship for the longest time. And I'll admit it openly today. I have this one particular, niggling doubt that has reared its head time and time again... whether he is the right person for me. Is the the one? Is he the person that perfectly complements me? Is he the one who I am meant to be with in this world?
This kind of doubt is horrible. It's the kind of doubt that just lingers there, this small cell that, at any point in time, is ready to multiply at a moment's notice. I know this because I've felt it happen inside my very brain. Some small thing happens, he says something that makes me feel slightly off. And suddenly this cell multiples, doubles, quadruples, goes into the hundreds, thousands. My brain spirals and spirals into negativity.
Every single time I've felt it, I tell him. I ask him whether we should break up. I explain reasons I've come up with why we shouldn't be together. I tell him that I'm not sure if he's the right person for me. I tell him that, if I do this to him, he shouldn't be with me. Each time has resulted in devastating fights. I've fallen asleep on a cold, damp pillow, soaked in my own tears. We've looked at each other in ways that made my heart squeeze so hard in my chest.
And each and every single time, we've had to make this choice whether we'll stay together.
And, somehow, each time we have.
Each time I realise that the only reason we are still together is because we make the choice everyday that he is who I want to be with, and I am who he wants to be with. Some days, the choice is easier. Some days I am just overwhelmed with how happy I am with him, I think about how beautiful he is to me and how no one else could be better looking in my eyes. I think about how we really could do it, we really could live our dreams together.
Other days, the choice feels a lot harder. Sometimes it actually feels so hard to be in a relationship. I start thinking about how I can never just call him up to hang out spontaneously as he's in Amsterdam. Sometimes I just want to curl up against him but I can't. I have to live with the fact that I can't do it, unless I can afford a $2,000 24-hour flight over the weekend. I may want it so badly, but there is NO WAY that I can just have him against me in that moment. No way at all.
But over time I've realised that the people who you want to keep in your life... you have to fight for. You literally have to make the choice every single time it's hard that you will fight for them - that you will go into battle against fate, against your own doubts, against the world... to stay together.