“Do you believe possessive love can work?” She once asked me, and for the longest time, I didn’t understand the question. But then I realised that’s because there is nothing to understand. I don’t believe you can define love outside of the bounds that you personally understand and experience it. So when I tried to define what possessive love meant, I found myself falling short. How do you define any kind of love? What one person calls possessive, another calls clingy, another calls normal, another calls emotionally abusive. Another still, calls true. What I would call true, another may call over the top, another would say a waste, another again would say it’s impossible. I would hope at least someone would call it passionate. Love cannot be defined as it falls out of the realms of definition. Love is not logical. Love is not defined. Love is but a word. There is no one way that is the right way, and everything outside of that is not considered love. Some people find completion in others, seeing one single person as their missing half. The part of their puzzle that wasn’t in the box. The one being who makes them the person they feel they need to be, and the one being they say they cannot live without. Who I am to say their love is doomed because it is different to my understanding and experience? Who I am to say their love isn’t true, because it is not how I see love? Who am I to say that love cannot work?
Even to shoehorn it into an understanding that possessive love is defined as someone who views the person they are with as “theirs”, it can still go both ways. Do I own the person I am with? Absolutely not. Do I wish to share the person I am with with another person in the physical sense of the word? Absolutely not. Should the person I am with do everything I say? Absolutely not. Should the person I am with accept that I am merely human, and as all humans, I am not perfect. I am a work in progress, and love me at times of stress and hardship where I need them to just understand that little bit more than usual? I should hope so. To clarify, this is not to say one should ever force themselves to love another just for trying. To hope that one day that love will blossom from nothing is a fool’s errand. To quote Henry Rollins, hope is the last thing a person does before failure. You cannot force yourself to love, just much as you cannot force yourself not to love. How you feel right now is exactly how you feel right now. It cannot be put any simpler than that. No one can vilify you for feeling or not feeling, if they do, that comes from a place of great pain for them, and that is not your cross to bare. But those are only my understandings. My experiences. My truths. I cannot categorically tell you that this love cannot work. But I am not wired that way.
In the end, the only answer I can give to her question is “that’s not my kind of love”. While sometimes it may seem different, I’m not looking for the missing part of myself, and I’m not looking for a possession. I’m not looking for a psychologist, a mother, or a babysitter. I understand that completion is not found within other people, but within myself. I don’t want someone to complete me. I’m looking for someone who is within themselves working towards being whole, because like me, they are a work in progress. A human being on a journey of experience and self discovery. I just want someone to share that journey with. Someone to fall asleep next to. Someone to watch as she enjoys the first coffee of the day. Someone to tell about my day. Someone with her own drive and ambition that is separate to my own. Someone to celebrate the good times, and to support during the rough times. Our relationship would not be like the intersection of a tepee, leaning on each other for constant support. Should for one reason or another one of the supports be removed, even temporarily, the tepee falls away. Our relationship would be like that of a ladder, two independent forces facing forever upwards, interconnected with a series of rungs. Even if you remove a support or two, the ladder still stands. Our relationship still stands.
The world around us continually attempts to sell us their definition of true love. Breakfast in bed, kissing in the rain, suicide after knowing someone for all of three days… But worse than that, it sells us the belief that there is a definition of true love. That you must find that version you read about in a book one time. That without it you are incomplete. Inferior. Less than perfect. Some people call love the most beautiful thing in the world, some call it a cancer. But once you shake this belief that love has one specific definition, you stop searching for that tangible object, and start looking for another soul to simply share a journey with. Maybe your journey won’t last forever, in this day and age nothing really seems to. Maybe your journey will only last for a moment. But there is not a single person, scholar, philosopher, book, movie, thought, concept, or truth on this planet that can tell you wasn’t real and it was doomed from the start. Your moments, your truth, your love, are yours and yours alone. No one can ever take them away from you.