Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Beatles Lied To Us

Love is not all you need.

I've posted several times before about my ex, Casey. I won't say anything more about him here, because he's not a pleasant subject to dwell on, and because the point of this is not to dwell on him or on our relationship.

The point is that it was a bad relationship. He was bad for me, and i could have been good for him if he'd let me, but he wouldn't or couldn't (part of the reason he was bad for me: he wouldn't let me in). We made one another miserable. He didn't support me, i was bored by him, he didn't want to know anything about my life that made me more than highly educated arm candy, i felt superior to him, et cetera et cetera et cetera. For over a year, we both killed our souls in a toxic and bruising relationship with almost no positive benefits.

But we loved each other.

You see this pattern in literature, in pop culture, and in conversations with roommates. (I once had a roommate who, after a fight with her boyfriend, explained tearfully to her best friend that "We're just like that couple in The Notebook. We fight all the time, but we just love each other so much!") Conflict can be a sign of passion. It can also be a sign of deep incompatibility. It's bad if you never fight. It's also bad if you always fight. The fact that you make one another miserable is not a testament to your undying love and devotion. It does not mean that you have a connection that will transcend all obstacles of marriage to another person, or death, or the fact that one of you is a creature of the night that wants nothing more than to feed on your beloved. The fact that you make one another miserable is a testament to the fact that you are not well suited.

Love is great. Without it, life would not be worth living. And if you are not truly in love with someone, you should certainly not make a lifelong commitment to them. In fact, i'd hesistate to say that you should commit to them for more than a few months. Love is really really really really really important.

But it's not everything.

Feelings will come and go, but at the end of the day, you have to want to be in the same room with them. You have to want to hang out with them. You have to want to talk to them, to support them in their passions (even the ones you don't get), to introduce them to your loved ones. You have to like them.

There's a reason that everyone always tells you to marry your best friend. Romance comes and goes. Friendship is eternal. Fall in love with your best friend and you're all set.

I've been in love before. I spent a year pining hopelessly after one of my best friends. In the end, i saw that while we were good friends, and while i certainly loved him, we did not have the kind of relationship that would translate well to a marriage, or even dating. I also spent fourteen months breaking my heart over Casey. I loved him, and he loved me, but i didn't really like him very much. And i don't think he knew me well enough to like me at all.

Love is not all you need.

That's why (i can't believe i'm about to cite this) sites like and eHarmony make you fill out personality profiles. In their commercials, they say that they match you up with people whose personalities are compatible with yours. That way, if you do fall in love, you can have confidence that it will work out.

It's not enough to be in love with someone. You have to be able to get along with them. You have to be compatible with them.

Love is great. The Beatles were great. But they were also on a lot of drugs. They probably didn't mean to lie to us. Either way, love is not all you need.

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