Amy Winehouse sure thought love was a losing game, as do countless other artists who write and sing about heartbreak and the frustrations that come with it. It’s true. From that perspective, love sucks. It’s the kind of suck that burns and eats away at you until one day you’re either: (a.) over it and don’t think about it ever again, (b.) accept that it’s over but occasionally think “what if, but oh well” (à la Jill Scott’s “Cross My Mind”, another great song), or (c.) never get over it (let’s hope few people land in this category). Either resolution still results in love being a losing game. However, even when you’re in a happy, healthy, committed relationship with someone, it’s still a losing game. Instead of losing the other person, you’re losing your absolute sovereignty.
Or course heartbreak blows and unrequited love is the worst. After all, who likes it when the object of their affection doesn’t reciprocate the affection? Perhaps some masochist out there does, but I’m sure most people don’t. I know it was a hard thing to deal with when it happened to me (there were also many, many other complicating factors involved). The object of my affection was very smart and I enjoyed all of our conversations. He knew a little bit about everything under the sun. His vocabulary was extensive, off the charts. I learned new words in every conversation we shared. Long story short, when things got complicated, everything went south, quickly (similar to how it would in a theoretical zombie apocalypse). In the end, I had to pick up the pieces of my pride and in doing so, I learned what the word “lovelorn” means. In retrospect, he was right at the time; I was lovelorn, but hey, first loves are one of the toughest losses to shrug off.
Fast-forward 10 years and I’m married to a great guy, who says reading my posts give him insight into my thoughts. That’s cool. I’ve always said I’m a better writer than speaker. He even dropped a line in the comments section on one. (Thanks!) If you’re reading this post, thanks for giving me a strong dose of reality and a fresh breath of positivity when I really need it. Tu amor me hace bien. 🙂 I digress.
Anyway, when you love someone and you agree to be in a relationship, you have to give up something, essentially losing your total autonomy, your absolute freedom. From this perspective, love is once again a losing game, albeit a bittersweet losing game. I say bittersweet because it’s sweet that you’re in this amazing relationship with someone with whom you can unabashedly share all of your fears and aspirations. It’s bitter because you no longer have full autonomy. I don’t mean in the sense that your significant other won’t allow you to do certain things. That would be abusive. What I do mean is that you can’t just fuck off and do whatever you want. Someone else’s thoughts and feelings have to be taken into consideration. You can’t fully do everything you please on a whim because you lose that freedom to do so once you commit to someone. Honestly, it’s something I’m still learning to navigate. Just about everything I do, say, or even think has an indirect or direct effect on my husband.
Strangely (or maybe not), commitment makes me think of parents and children. I’m not a mother, but I imagine relationships are akin to parenting, where each individual is a co-parent and the relationship itself is the child. You have to nurture it and spend time with it in order for it to flourish and grow in a healthy fashion. You also have to be mindful about your actions and what you say so that it can grow to be the best that it can be. You have to be selfless, but not so selfless that you completely lose yourself. That’s not healthy either. It’s a balancing act.
Is love a losing game? Of course that’s subjective and contingent upon circumstances. However, love is definitely a game of reciprocity.