Love, Fear, and Uncertainty
Why is love so painful? Because it is so rewarding.
It is the withdrawal of the pleasure that makes it painful.
If it were not rewarding it would not be so painful.
And it is the pain that makes people fear love. Just the way someone who was badly burned will not get close to a fire.
What to do?
We can remove the pain by removing the pleasure. That is what some people do. They refuse to love. Period. By denying themselves pleasure, they avoid the painful experience of it being withdrawn.
But that should not be the solution, to never experience love or being loved. What a miserable life…
I do not have to explain why and how love is rewarding. Pleasurable. Thousands of poems have been written about love and how wonderful it is.
But where does the withdrawal of the pleasure and thus the pain come from?
The pain comes from…you guessed it, that’s right: from…change.
Nothing is permanent. Life is full of surprises. And a fair share are not pleasurable. They upset us. As time passes, needs change, expectations change, and the feelings are not the same anymore. In extreme cases the withdrawal of love is permanent. And the more intense the love was, the more intense is the pain caused by change.
But in many cases the change is temporary and, unless treated right, is a source of unnecessary pain.
People are moody. Some more so, some less. And when the mood is on the wrong side of the moon, or we find ourselves in some passing conflict with the one we love, what happens? The one we love is not as loving and giving and attentive. It often feels like rejection. A withdrawal of love.
What is going on?
Change means uncertainty. We cannot predict for sure when love will feel as though it were being withheld. Or removed. Or abolished.
To love, one must live with uncertainty. It comes with the territory, which we call life, that there will be ups and downs in the relationship.
Anyone who expects ongoing love, that is, the presence of a permanent soul-mate who only loves, and where the feeling is only up, up, and up — is living in a dreamland. Because reality is CHANGE. And change is life. And life is filled with uncertainty.
Someone once told me that if you are ever upset with your beloved, just wait a day. Or two. Nothing more. Just let time pass. The situation changes, the mood changes, and all at once, what gave you so much pain two days ago, what looked as if it were the most painful thing in the world, now feels ridiculously irrelevant. If you do not treat it this way and you reciprocate by withdrawing your love, the pain more than doubles; you accentuate the pain rather than ameliorate it.
By the same token, if you are deeply in love and hope, pray, believe, this feeling is going to last forever, you will be disappointed. Perhaps disillusioned. That feeling will not last forever. What is up will come down. And the higher it rises, the lower it will descend. And lead to despair.
Can you handle change? Can you handle uncertainty? Can you tolerate a temporary rejection? If yes, good for you. If not, you have much to learn…and a lot of growing to do.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes