I Knew a Good Man, Darling
a good man
and the sweetness
in his garden.
I am yours
never leave you,
I’ll only go
want to go,
— Teresa Young
Love is a helluva drug
I wouldn’t usually, as in ever, add any kind of narrative to a poem. But today I feel like it. I’m breaking my own rule. Like eating potato chips late at night. :)
Because the dance of love is like nothing else. Love really is a helluva drug. (And who the hell first said that? I’ve been trying to find out.) There’s nothing more mysterious than love. Nothing more maddening. Nothing that’s ultimately more of a secret.
Yes, I’ve been feeling for years that every love relationship is a secret. No one outside of any two-person tango can really know the particular nuances of how the dancers move together. Of the inner climate of the relationship, including its (inevitable) dark patches and desert places. Whether or not it’s ultimately a place of mutual growth, of rest, of self-expression. Of comfort and delight. All that we crave and deserve.
Love and commitment
And really, does a committed love relationship have to be all that? Or is commitment itself, that willingness, more important than partners being all things to each other?
Indeed, is being everything to one soul even healthy?
You could even say romantic love and commitment are separate topics. Though in modern western culture, where half of committed relationships end, I say successful, long-term, committed love is a rich, ever fascinating focus and goal. And note that I skipped the word marriage. Why leave any long-term love relationships out?
That which ends also matters
Yes, let’s go there, to the fact that at least half of long-term, committed relationships end. So those endings matter. It’s important that they’re done well, with respect for all parties. With kindness and gentleness, honoring both what was and what is. It’s possible. The truth really does set us free.
And of course, even aided by gentleness, endings also burn like hell. The pain burns cleanest if we’re as kind to one another as possible in the process. It helps us heal. And we do.
Because life is long, and we want—we are determined—to love and be loved well. Our expectations are astronomical. And just like every other form of freedom in 21st century life, we’re as free to pursue what we want most as we believe ourselves to be.
The how of it all matters
I’m profoundly interested in how we care for one another and ourselves along the way. What’s more, I believe it’s one of our most sacred opportunities.
Are you in the throes of something immense in the realm of love? Then take your time, staying attuned to what’s truly healthy for you and others. And proceed gently, oh, so gently, with everyone, including yourself. Take the long view, with the goal of being satisfied with your approach when you look back on the present four or five years from now.
And very importantly, do call on the resources you need and deserve. Include some relationship coaching or therapy, even or especially for endings, along with your own individual coaching or therapy and expert support for any young ones in the mix. Search for low-cost options if you need them. You and yours deserve help at critical junctures.
After all, the truth is that love, commitment, and endings all matter profoundly, impacting the quality of our lives and the lives of those we love. Let your best self lead in everything. Then take comfort in your own good work in the realm of love, here on the wild, wonderful journey of modern life.