The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Love

May 10, 2014 by

          Last night, off to the side of a karaoke lounge turned private club by some friends of friends, I was told the fable of the man who didn’t believe in love. To give you the gist, the man encounters a woman crying in a park. When he asks her what’s wrong, she says that she’s crying because she doesn’t believe in love. Of course, not believing in love himself, he’s intrigued by her. They become friends, and predictably develop feelings for one another that neither can identify at first. Eventually, the man suspects that the unfamiliar way he feels about this woman is love. When he admits his love to her, she’s relieved. She loves him too, but didn’t want to say it because she knew he didn’t believe. One night, the man is gazing at the stars, wondering how he can express just how much he loves her. A star falls from the sky (it’s a fable), and he decides that it is the perfect symbol for his love. He rushes to give it to her; but, when he hands her the star, it slips through her fingers and shatters.

          At this point, the guy telling me the story asked who I thought was responsible for the end of the relationship. I really had no idea, because I didn’t know the context for why the relationship ended. He explained to me that it was the guy’s fault; he put his happiness in her hands. He made her responsible for it. Being a huge believer in self-generated happiness, I was captivated by the answer.

          We began talking about the change in expectations that occur when a guy and a girl go from casually dating to a relationship. I wouldn’t know from first-hand experience, but I’ve listened to complaints from friends about the people they’re newly committed to suddenly expecting daily texts and a lot more of their time. A committed relationship is different than a casual one, so it is understandable that expectations would change. However, it is important that each party has similar expectations of the new relationship.

          To prevent future conflict, two people considering a relationship should clarify their expectations of each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. For a relationship to be successful, two people not only need to be emotionally and physically attracted to one another, their expectations need to match. For example, I know I need a guy who has an active social life. Relationship or no relationship, my friends are important to me, and I’ll continue to see them often once I have a boyfriend. I need a guy with the same mentality, who expects not to see me every waking moment and is genuinely cool with that because he also has friends to see.

          Essentially, a romantic relationship should compliment your already happy life. For your own wellbeing and in fairness to other people, you should not depend on any relationship to make you happy. Relationships, including friendships, should add to – not consume – your life. Never ever give someone that star that falls from the sky; never ever put your happiness in the hands of someone else. You cannot control other people. If your happiness depends on somebody and that somebody exits your life, he or she will walk away with your happiness, and it’ll be your fault. It’ll be your fault for imposing an unwanted responsibility and an unfair expectation on another person. Do not expect anyone to deliver you happiness. It is no one’s responsibility to make you happy but your own.

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