Love Lost

This blog post is for those who have lost love recently.

Breaking up and losing what once was is bitter, even if you are the one who does the breaking up. In one way (but only one), it’s harder for the person breaking up, because you have the choice to continue, but you realize it’s better to break up. That being said, I would rather be the person breaking up than the once being broken up with. There’s a unique kind of pain and sorrow that comes with loving something and losing what one loves, because it combines heartache with helplessness and sets many different emotions to work: hurt, anger, angst, regret, depression, fear of the future.

So I’m writing about “Love Lost” today to help those who have been broken up with recently. I’ll include love quotes from other (generally famous) people who have recorded their thoughts on love and loss, to either console the unrequited lover or to bring up questions about losing one’s love.

“There is love of course. And then there’s life, its enemy.” – Jean Anouilh

“The hottest love has the coldest end.” – Socrates

Yes, philosophers were writing about losing love 2,500 years ago. Broken love affairs have existed from the beginning of mankind and you join a long club of people who have been in your place. Just about everyone who has lived has at one time or another thought they were in love with a person who either didn’t realise they were there, wanted nothing to do with them or also fell in love, only to find reasons to end that relationship or romance.

Even the most passionate romances end, when we thought they would last forever. The early romances hurt especially hard, because we love with such passion. And when they end, we don’t know any better than to burn out those loves. These often end in bitterness and cynicism.

Later in life, we tend to invest more time into our relationships, staying with one person longer and often making life commitments. When you’ve invested years into a relationship and the two people find they can no longer live together, the void is even larger. That’s because our life was this person, or at least a joint venture with this person.

So when you lose this love, you essentially lose your former life. It’s time to build a new life, like someone would rebuild a city after a natural disaster. It’s all you can do, even when you would rather give up and live in isolation instead. Once again, losing a lifetime love can’t help but foster bitterness and cynicism.

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. – Alfred Lord Tennyson

“The worst bankruptcy in the world is the person who has lost his enthusiasm.” – H.W. Arnold

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” – Barbara De Angelis

It’s really hard to be philosophical when you’ve lost your cherished love. If you’re young, you’re thinking, “I lost my innocence. I will never love this way again.” If you’re a veteran of life, you’re thinking, “I gave this person the best years of my life. Do I still have prospects?” In either case, you feel like you gave something precious up to this romance, and you crashed into emotional desolation. But there are a lot of people in the world and you have more time to meet them.

If you’re a young lover, you’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what the world has in store for you. You have so many joys to feel and experiences to gain, that life should be exciting and anticipatory. Few people settle down with their first love. Your first love will always be special, but most of the time, it won’t be your best. Your best days are definitely ahead of you.

If you feel like you’ve given your best years to a romance or marriage, that’s not always the case. People grow older and wiser with time. Play your cards right and you’ll find a new partner to share a wiser love affair or romance with you. Over time, emotional needs change, but we all have emotional needs. If you have love in you, that love needs a focus.

Understand that love and hope are powerful emotions, but also sources of human power. They empower you to bring fulfillment to your life. Keep your head up and your radar up, and you’ll eventually meet someone like you – wounded, yet wiser – who also has human needs and perhaps a better sense of how to fulfill those needs than your old love. These can be the best romances of your life.

“We can only learn to love by loving.” – Iris Murdoch

“To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. – Bertrand Russell

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen

All people are imperfect. That means all loves are imperfect, too. There is no perfect love. That means that the love affair you’re remembering as the most desirable love imaginable was not as perfect as you imagine. This person you idealize as the perfect lover for you was not as perfect as you remember.

Your next love affair is going to be different from the one you just had, possibly much different. If you are feeling regret for what was lost and you are a pessimist in any way, you’re likely to compare your new love with your old one, often unfavorably. But just because this romance is different than your last, it doesn’t have to be less.

You are used to certain emotional and physical stimuli. Your new boyfriend or girlfriend looks different, smells different, talks different, has different life experiences. You might think you prefer the old to the new, but think about all the new experiences you’re going to have. We grow by being exposed to something which challenges us. We get out of our comfort zone and we learn something new about this person, the world in general and (especially) ourselves.

One door has closed. But that means you are free to choose to open countless other doors.

“Well, love is insanity. The ancient Greeks knew that. It is the taking over of a rational and lucid mind by delusion and self-destruction. You lose yourself, you have no power over yourself, you can’t even think straight.” – Marilyn French

Once again, we return to the ancient Greeks. You’re still in love right now. That means your brain has still got the fever. You’re a little crazy, according to the Greeks. You’re powerless right now, but that powerlessness will subside. You’ll begin to regain control of your emotions again. And when you do, it’s better not to shut those emotions off, but begin to use your brain and your newfound wisdom to seek out the next chance to lose your mind.

“What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Remember that you’ll always have what is now lost. Those memories are yours. Some are good memories. Others are bad. Don’t dwell on the negative. Don’t consume yourself in regret. Don’t punish yourself for whatever perceived mistakes you made along the way, because in the end, there are two people in every relationship, and that person has every bit as many issues as you have.

No one is going to be perfect in a relationship. So take the good from the relationship. Let it give you solace in the bad times and an occasional smile on your face when you remember the good times. You don’t lose those memories, but it’s now time to start making some new memories.

“The worst thing is holding on to someone who doesn’t want to be held on to. Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.” – David Grayson

In the end, it’s a lot more fun to be in a relationship with someone who loves you, than loving someone who doesn’t love you back. It’s a lot more fulfilling to be pursued in love than to be the pursuer. So take the appropriate amount of time to get your head right again, then get back into the game of love. You’ll find there are others who will find you attractive and interesting and desirable to be around. And some of these people will be attractive and interesting and desirable to be around, too.

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