Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There's no such thing as free love

I've been lucky enough to spend the last few months with the guy I always imagined myself with, in the relationship I always wanted, feeling the love I'd always hoped to feel.

Everything else in my life has lost importance. I don't care about the car I drive, the bed I sleep on. I don't care about going out for fancy meals or drinking fine wine. I don't need to go out to the movies, or go on overseas holidays - I just want to be where he is.

So is it true, then? Are the best things in life free?

Meet my friend, Kate. She is one of the kindest, most gentle, most loving girls I have ever met. She has a beautiful son she adores, and a husband who is her best friend. She is living the life I hope for when I am her age, with a grace I will only ever be able to fake.

Then, one day, every thing changes. Her husband doesn't want a family anymore, he wants to drink wine on a school night, eat in front of the television and stay out all night. He wants to be twenty again. And so he leaves her.

Kate finds strength she never knows she had. She protects herself and her son as best as she can. But she hurts.

I took my man out for vegan pizza and told him how frightened I was. That I have a happiness I never knew without him, and I have more to lose than ever. I told him I wanted to trust our relationship, to trust us enough that I could know that would never happen to me.

I expected him to assure me he'd never leave me. To promise that we would be different. We were a perfect fit, the lucky ones who got it right.

He made no such promises. Only that we'd do the very best we could, and if we failed, we'd still be okay.

It's not the stuff fairy tales are made of, it didn't read like the script in my head, instilled from Hollywood expectations of love and happily ever after.

It meant that to love him completely would come with a cost. The price I pay for love is the risk of losing him. It's a gamble.

No, it's not a gamble, it's an investment. I can make a wise investment, get sound advice, choose low risk stocks. But there is no certainty in life, and certainly not in love.

I watched a documentary this week about free love. My new fave Brit, Dawn Porter, stayed in a free love community and searched past its all accepting, all generous and painless exterior, to find the loss, the insecurity and the fear of it's residents.

We're naive to believe we can live a full life without paying for it. And maybe Kate's husband, when the thrill of mid-week hangovers and walks of shame wears off, will realise he stopped paying for love, and therefore doesn't deserve it.

Because we do make sacrifices, we compromise, we change to fit the one we choose. It's a cost, a price we pay. And we can't expect to yield the high returns if we don't make the investments, and re-invest the dividends*.

You know what tho? I reckon he's worth it.

*I haven't used so many analogies since I spoke in the Christian church...