I was sitting on my friend’s bed one day venting about my newly ended relationship. I was at a loss. My heart hurt. She tried to be encouraging by emphasizing all the good things that were happening in my life, but all I could manage to choke out in response was, “but I love him.” Her response sent me through a loop, for she looked at me and asked, “Is love enough?”
I was at a loss for words. Why couldn’t I answer this question with confidence? Maybe because my breakup had made me realize love wasn’t enough and the thought of love not being enough truly broke my heart.
It was the beginning phase of my breakup, and it’s safe to say I was holding out hope we’d get back together. Love conquers all, at least that’s what I was told. So if that’s the case, loving him as hard as I did would mend this. It had to.
But days passed, then weeks, and finally months. The breakup went from amicable to messy, and in the midst of all that chaos, one little question rang through my head. Is love enough?
The simple answer, no. Love isn’t enough, and to be frank, I feel pretty foolish for thinking it was. I loved this person with my entire being. When we broke up, my heart hurt, my soul ached, and I felt a level of sadness I hadn’t felt in quite some time. So if love was enough, it should’ve worked out.
We tend to idealize love. Watch any romance movie, any TV show, listen to any love song, and you’ll see how much we place love on this imaginary pedestal, treating it like a cure for all of life’s problems. But love is not a cure-all.
That’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way because, in my head, love equaled happiness. If I found love, then I would finally be happy, but that wasn’t the case. Love doesn’t solve your problems; it just masks them until one day it doesn’t anymore.
The truth is, love is all-encompassing. It’s trust, compassion, respect, emotional safety, emotional intimacy, sexual attraction, and so much more. So when one of those things is missing, you can’t truly be in love. And to be honest, there were a few of those missing from my former relationship. This made me realize that love is built over time.
The simple feeling of love isn’t enough. It may make you feel good in the moment, but if there isn’t mutual respect and understanding for one another, that feeling alone will never be enough.
There are so many moving parts in a relationship. Things that will cause you to grow together or grow apart. And if you ended up growing apart like my ex and myself, you’ll start to realize that the love you had for that person isn’t enough to keep you together. Because as you grow apart, the respect, the trust, the safety, it all lessens.
I spiraled after my breakup. How could someone I love so much not love me back anymore? What did I do to deserve the sadness, devastation, and feelings of betrayal that came from the breakup?
This question lived rent-free in my brain for months until one day, I woke and realized that I did nothing. I loved viciously, and epically it just wasn’t enough at the end of the day, and that’s okay.
He’s moved on, and finally, I am starting to as well. And as I move forward and develop new relationships, this is a lesson I will never forget. Love isn’t enough but respect, trust, and safety always will be.