“Love is palatable, therefore it should be acceptable. Love is recyclable, therefore it can be used again. Love is infinite, therefore it can’t be measured.” — Shaunda Gallon
Love is palatable therefore it should be acceptable.
In my past relationship, I was guilty of asking for something that I was not.
I used to say to myself that I have yet to get the love I give. The last time, I stopped myself mid-sentence and instead asked, “Well, what kind of love were you giving?” I thought hard about it and came to three conclusions:
1. The love I was expecting was not the love that I wanted. So why did I stay?
2. I was addicted to it.
3. This love I caught myself giving and wanting came from ego.
I was trying to win him over with my love, to change him with my love. I’m not saying my love wasn’t real. I’m saying my love was not coming from a place of purity. I was broken and trying to love from an empty place and I didn’t know it. I was trying to portray onto him the type of love that I wanted him to give back to me instead of being okay with the love he was giving, which apparently was all he had to give. I remember asking myself, “Why can’t he just see me?” Seeing me meant all that I was trying to show him and be for him—for us. In my mind, if he showed me the type of love that I was giving, that meant he actually saw ME. I stayed because I was broken.
Love is recyclable, therefore it can be used again.
Love. I can’t escape it. As long as I am surrounded by people or watching TV or listening to the radio or reading, that “love” word pops up. I may be speaking to someone about something and either of us might say, “I love that,” or “I love it when that happens.” I might end a conversation with my daughter or other family member or one of my best friends and say, “I love you.” I might hear it in a song, like Love Galore by SZA. It’s all around me. But I have often felt that I love too hard too soon. I remember telling my ex-boyfriend that I loved him. He responded, “You love me too much.” It stung, but it was true and I knew it. It was embarrassing, and I didn’t ask him questions about why he responded that way because I didn’t want to hear his answer. I let it sink in and eventually went on a quest to discover love as it related to me.
The first questions on my quest was: What is too much? How should I decrease the love I have for someone with whom I’m in a relationship? And does my love for others overpower me or does my desire for love overpower me?
He knew my love was intense and real but didn’t want to admit that he was not worthy of it. If he knew he wasn’t worthy of it, surely I knew, too, but it didn’t stop me from doing it. If something is bad for you and you do it anyway, and keep doing it even without beneficial reciprocity, that means you’re an addict. Wait, what?
Love. I was addicted to it. I had to go way back in my world to figure out when I first thought I loved in order to come to that conclusion. I’m not talking about the love from family or friends I’ve known since elementary. I’m talking about the first time I uttered the words to someone “special.” I was 13. He was my first boyfriend. It was him to whom I had given my virginity, and it was at that time that I said it. It sounded good, even though I didn’t fully understand what I was saying. I performed. I recited what I’d heard on romanticized television. I copied everything I heard, read, or saw with a little of my own fantasy sprinkled in. The dramatics of putting my arms around him and kissing him had to be completed with an intense stare into his pretty brown eyes and mouthing the words, “I love you.”
It was wrapped up in ego. And two years later when I broke up with him, I didn’t cry, because I was ready to move on to the next person I wanted to love. And so on until at 47 years old, I was told I love too much by a man that I once wanted to be the last man I loved. The fantasy hadn’t changed. At 13 years old, I romanticized what I thought love looked like, and at 47 years old, I romanticized what it should look like. I got it wrong both times.
Love is infinite, therefore it can’t be measured.
Love is a verb, not an adjective. The fact that I consumed this word the wrong way for so long is not all my fault. I say “consumed” because, during or after a relationship, I have felt like someone had used up my love. I gave love away that I should have used on myself. Like many of us, I was never taught to love myself. I had neglected myself for way too long. But I finally realized it had to start with me, myself, and I.
For a minute, I almost felt like I was going to miss out on something by loving myself, but I quickly realized it was the fear of loving myself only, not loving myself first. I needed to align my desire to learn about loving myself by first realizing I didn’t have to limit my love. You see, I loved to love. I just needed to deal with the tyranny of the addiction to love so that I can free myself and embrace it the way God intended.
The internet has a plethora of information about being addicted to love, complete with definitions, quizzes on how to know you’re addicted, examples of what that looks like, and ways to break the pattern or cure it. But the most important thing to know about it is that is has to start with loving yourself.