Have you ever felt that overwhelming feeling? That nauseating feeling, head giddy with happiness, butterflies in your stomach and a warm tingling in your cheeks and ears. As someone that grew up in the most toxic and unhealthy family environment, I have seen my fair share of divorces, mental breakdowns and inheritance disputes. Could you blame me for being a cynic? I derived so much pleasure passing sarcy comments while girlfriends fawned and sighed over couples in romcoms. All was well until it happened to me.
I believed that love was an idealistic state of mind, a shroud of blissful ignorance, that surrounded a select few that fate seemed to favour. Possibly cashing out on the good karma. Relationships as far as I was concerned was one of those things that nature required of you for survival. Simply said, no one wants to die alone. Cowards! I think to myself.
After much cajoling and convincing by a friend who had my best interest at heart, I agreed to 'put myself out there'. I did end up finding someone that seemed moderately tolerable but that soon changed. I fell hook line and sinker a few weeks in. Now what does one do when the 'liking' turns into a mini atomic explosion of warm and fuzzy?
Answer: You do NOTHING! or so I have learnt. The hard way. The three magic words that rhyme with eye, dove and ewe can either make or break everything that a relationship was based on up to and until that moment.
The moment of weakness occurred when for once in two decades I wasn't alone for my birthday. Still not completely awake yet powered by a double dose of adrenaline I went in for a hug. Mid embrace I let it slip. "Love you!". Holy mother of God! What have I done! There was a deathly silence that seemed to last an eternity followed by a sinking sensation of despair, dismay and dread. I shut my eyes and waited......Nothing. The rest of the day passed just as any other. But something changed. In a way my theory that people tolerated each other just to 'survive' seemed to materialise. Being of a scientific temperament, the circuits in my brain automatically began to analyse and deconstruct the 'moment' in the desperation to find a rational answer. The whys and whens seemed infinite and the solution seemed distant. A few hours later the matter was sealed shut and sent away into the depths of my memory to join the many many other such instances never to resurface. I will say this though, I still cared for this person the same as always. The interaction was no different. Just that it seemed clear that I might need to cut my losses if need be.
A good few months later, on a most mundane day, the significant other decided to use the magic words. One would expect me to be over the moon. Instead I felt nothing. I was shocked at first because by then I was sure that such feelings did not exist and as the fact sunk in I shrugged it off. My walls were up and having been let down in the past I wasn't making that mistake again. I did want to say it back but I seemed to keep getting an ERROR 404. It fixed itself eventually of course...not completely but enough to function normally.
Now, has my theory changed? I mean, it turned out to be a sort of happily ever after did it not? Not quite. It was frustrating and upsetting and at many occasions I just wanted to give up and move on. I do know for a fact now that unrequited love requires a lot of restraint and a lot of will power and an unending supply of patience. A lot. Love is idiosyncratic, it is not a fairytale with a happily ever after at the get go yet it transitions when its ready. If it doesn't then it takes just as much restraint and will power to bow out gracefully and exit stage left. Until either happens you will be left in a state of limbo, it may seem like forever or foreboding but people are people and everyone processes things differently. No, you do not turn into a Bollywood stalker or think that persistence or rather pestilence is the key to winning someone over. At least not in this case. Id say love is sum zero game and never breaks even and that is how it will always be and you won't know unless you try.
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