When love is not enough

Blogger's note - With the exception of the first paragraph or so where I talk about the past, this post isn't about me. I'm happy. I repeat, I'm happy. I know ya'll. One glance at the title and you'll be tweeting me and 3N asking if ev'thang is a-ight. It's good. Now.. let's begin:

I remember one tragic moment a few years ago when I realized that the man I loved didn't love me... enough. Oooo, it was a bitter bitter pill to swallow. After all the time, the talks, the emails, the texts, the up and the down, the fights, the make-ups, the "I only want to be with you" and the dinners and the trips and on and on... I finally (finally) figured out that though he loved me - he did not love me enough to be what I needed. To put me first. To make me Mrs. End All Be All. And I wept from the disillusionment. And then I got angry. And then I got moody. And then I got angry again. After time (after time after time), came acceptance.

I understand now that relationships need maintenance and brutal 100-point diagnostic tests. Years and years before the "he don't love me like he should" revelation, I should have figured it out. But somehow I was all wrapped up in the love story of it all. Romance will bite you in the azz, blind you and make you stupid if you let it. You can't be in love with love - it just doesn't work out. Love the person, love the relationship... not the idea of them.

You have to take a step back from the emotion and the cocoa and the laughter and say - is this what I want? Is this going anywhere? Am I getting what I need or am I settling thinking he'll eventually give it to me?

I say these things today after talking with a male friend of mine. He's been in an on-again, off-again relationship with the same woman for close to six years now. Watching them is like watching myself five years ago. Their relationship is long distance so when they are together it's all suspended animation. They exist from encounter to encounter. They don't have to handle any of the "tough stuff" becuase one of them always has a plane to catch.

They are now living in the same city and though they love each other... it's just not working. When it's not all hotel rooms and champagne from room service, things get seen in the light of day. Cranky mornings and tired afternoons and times of the month and "do your friends like my friends?" issues spring up out of nowhere. She's not in Vicki's Secret and pumps waving cinnamon massage oil at him first thing in the morning and he's on conference calls at midnight. On top of everything else, now that the shields are down they tend to disagree more often than they agree.

He called me all out of sorts talking about, "I love her but that's not getting it done anymore."

I actually wonder if he loves the real her, or the her he saw every other weekend for 72 hours in a cocoon. My Aunt Violet (who ironically never married) always said "If he loves you on your worst day when you're looking your worst way - he's the one. And then you have to decide if you want to be bothered." I remember wondering why I would ever listen to her about love - she'd never married so what did she know? Turns out quite a bit. I mean there's love and then there's love. And sometimes... it's just not enough.

When I told him that, he said "But without it, then what?" Well there's the thing. You have to have the love to get through all the other stuff but the other stuff can smother the love. I write relationship fiction, I'm just as guilty  of perpetuating the "love conquers all" belief as anyone else. I believe that love helps and love heals but even the greatest love needs a little bit of practical application to keep it moving. Long story short, it's not easy.

Anyone been in this place? Got some words of wisdom for Mr. It's Not Working? Know someone in love with love? Do share...