Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard elders around me say “Love isn’t enough. It’s good to have love in a relationship but it isn’t what keeps the relationship going. It’s much more than that”. I used to tell myself then that I’ll be different; that love will be the main factor of my relationship with my future husband and eventually, our kids. That’s how in love I was with the concept of love. I did fall in love and 8 years later, we didn’t end up together but I understood perfectly what the elders meant.
While the concept of love is beautiful in itself, here are things no one tells you that I learnt on my own.
It takes time to understand the way the other person wants to be loved. This is where the importance of communication comes into play. You can be so vocal about your feelings, expecting him or her to do the same and you may have no idea that they’re loving you with every single piece of them. If you don’t understand their love pattern, you find yourself frustrated and it fills your mind with a lot of doubt. It takes time but you need to learn and accept the fact that your pattern of love is different from the other and it’s completely fine if that’s not the pattern you want. You’ll have to communicate with the other person. Don’t assume they know. Assumption is one crazy thing.
Books and television shows paint beautiful pictures of love and I’m a sucker for them (this is me being extremely honest). However, in the real sense, love is messy. There are a lot of vulnerable moments, lots of embarrassing discussions, lots of misunderstandings and confusion and there are tears too. It involves respect, patience, tolerance and a lot of compromise because it’s not just you anymore. Love isn’t as perfect as we think it is. It has its own flaws and fixing those requires a lot of trust and understanding as long as you two are willing to work things out.
The little moments are just as beautiful. They don’t always have to bring flowers or book reservations in restaurants or other beautiful public spaces. Sometimes, it’s just them checking in on you to be sure you’re okay and that you had a great day. It’s them wanting to listen to even the things you’re not sure makes a lot of sense. It’s them remembering the little details, even the ones you’ve forgotten you shared. I’m not saying you should not expect grand gestures once in a while but don’t overlook the little moments. You remember them a lot.
This was a bitter pill to swallow. It’s still a bitter pill to swallow. You can nurture feelings, have the person’s best interest at heart, weave your way into their life, make them very important to you and you’ll still not be enough for that person. You can be so smart, so beautiful and so talented and yet still not be enough for that person. We all want something in our partners and you may not have what that person wants. The important part is that you’re told you’re not what they want. It’s painful but it’s okay. I tell myself and others that Allah has a better person in store for you so it’ll be okay. You will get someone who you’ll be more than enough for.
This relates to point 4 above. The same way you may not be enough for the person you love, you can’t force them to love you back. I used to think me being there for him will get him to change his mind at some point. I told myself that if I stayed just near enough and constantly reminded him that I’m still in his life, his heart would soften along the line. It took me time to realise that things don’t work that way. You can’t force someone to return your feelings. If they don’t want to love you, they won’t. They may just see you as a friend or a sibling-like figure in their lives and trust me, they always leave the signs for you to see. It’s just up to you to stop coming up with excuses whenever you see one or two signs. If the signs aren’t clear, then talk to them. I know we’re often scared that bringing up such issues will ruin whatever relationship you two have but sometimes, that conversation saves you a lot of trouble. Let them tell you how they feel and if it’s not what you wanted, allow yourself to cry if you need to because it can be painful. At the end of the day, things were made clear and that saved you from further believing that you could someday make them change their mind. If they refuse to be clear, please do yourself a favour and pull back because the only thing mixed signals do is string you along and have you grabbing whatever crumbs are thrown your way. Please don’t do that. Your self dignity is at stake. Never assume their feelings too. Always make Dua too. They work wonders.
It takes time to get to this point. You’ve communicated your feelings, you’ve waited for a change of heart, you’ve done everything in your power until you have nothing else to give and you’ve gotten nothing back in return. I call this the breaking point. Its often the time when you realise you’ve invested so much of your time in something that didn’t work; one that doesn’t look like it will work in the future unless that’s what Allah has destined for you. At this point, a lot of people would have told you to move on and you would have tried doing so until your mind and heart are both on the same page, letting you know that it’s time to let go. There’s a peace that comes with it. You know you tried your best but you couldn’t force things because the other party wasn’t reciprocal. It still hurts but it gets better In Shaa Allah.
This is a fact. You’ll always love again if things don’t work out. It’s just that you’ll be wiser and you’ll know what you want, the way you want it and when you do. Of course Allah is the best of planners but the lessons from the past will stay with you until you’re sure you’ve found the right person to settle down with. May Allah make it easy. May He also grant us the best of companions both in this life and the next.
Love is beautiful but we should understand that it doesn’t always play out the way it does in our head. I pray Allah grants us all a beautiful love story, one where you never have to doubt anything, where you’ll find contentment, peace and happiness at every point of your life.
Latifah Efua is a lover of books and poetry. She spends her days navigating through tons of literary pieces and also learning about her Deen. You can find her on Twitter @efua__ and on Instagram @latifah_efua.