Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
By now it’s clear that I’m no fan of romantic love. The mystery is: why does that seem to be so bloody radical? Or even heretical? I’ll stand up for romance every day of the week, but that symbiotic, entwining, smothering, partnered forever-after form of love? Never again. That version of attachment we label, “in love” is overrated, oversold, and downright dangerous. People crumble over love; people lose their minds over love. People kill over love.
Love is not healthy; love is an infection, a virus that feeds on your good sense, clouds your clear vision, and disrupts the peace that is essential for a healthy heart and mind. The love affliction could be compared to addiction as well. It is trafficked by a culture that pushes the thrill of ecstasy, without regard for the damage done. With other mood-altering substances—be they tobacco, drugs, or liquor—we discourage addiction because we witness the fact that there are considerable consequences. Who can deny that love is capable of creating similar tragedies? Love escapes all contempt and eludes reasonable blame, in spite of the mental health devastation that is common. We see our friends, our family, our co-workers, and our celebrities suffer on the altar of love. Yet, no matter how many times a heart gets wrecked, the social imperative is to get back in the saddle and lasso the next ride. “Just Say No” will never apply to the drug we call love.
If we were honest about the trajectory of romantic love, we would admit that it’s temporary. Look around. Forever is a fraud, because love is always destined to expire. If we were objective about partnered love, we could easily agree that after growth, it will wither. It always does. People will argue that love changes; that love requires work. But that just proves my point. Romantic love is not sustainable, and it will fail, although the timeline of dissolution is random and unpredictable. If we were authentically compassionate about the devastating ache that comes with the down-cycle of love, we’d be supportive of an adult’s choice to opt out of the whole wretched business. Love is simply another high, and just like every other dope, the crash will come.
In my forties I concluded that the convention of love was not merely optional, but quite frankly, unappealing. This was not an impulsive or reactionary position. I didn’t feel bitter, overly injured, scared, or alone. On the contrary, I felt lucky. I had been touched to the core, by both Beth and by Jon, and my life was richer and wiser and healthier from that exchange.
In the recovery from the double devastation of losing Jon and Toni, I had answered my friend Kathy’s question, and I had recalibrated my heart. I had engineered the benefits of romance with my meaningful connections. I had liberated myself from emotional dependency by my decision to collect multiple partners. I had staked out adventure instead of custom, and I was thriving. My life was exciting, challenging, and rich with experience. Opting out of love was the wisest, kindest, and most loving decision of my adult life.
I can’t emphasize enough, that the foundation that supported my love-free zone was made up of my family and friends that had held me close for decades. These were the relationships that would last forever. It was simple and practical and satisfying to elevate these kinships to the status once reserved for a significant other. It was clear that I had been blessed with an abundance of significant and faithful love. With my family and friends, I could honestly claim the authentic forever-after kind.
TOMORROW: Chapter 53
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.