When you’re young, love is all-consuming. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. You can’t breathe. Everything is hazy. Nobody else exists. But then you’re naïve. And the world is still doing a lot of false-advertising; showing sunshine and rainbows and raindrops and a thousand possibilities. So it’s easy to love truly and completely. It’s easy to be tender-hearted and free.
And then you turn twenty-five and somebody tells you they love and you believe them. They speak of big things. Of lake houses and English-speaking babies and pet tigers because you will be so fancy (pretentious) that you won’t have any use for your own language or normal pets.
But then one day you are just seated there minding your business, stealthily going through his phone because he’s been acting shady, and then you find out that he’s a fraud. He’s already married. And he already has children. And going by his decisions, it’s highly unlikely that he will afford a lake house and pompous children and dangerous pets in this lifetime.
It’s very humiliating. You want to curl up into a ball and die. But you can’t die. You are the financial apple of your family’s eye. You have your siblings’ mouth to feed. And school fees to pay. And your mother is grappling with old age problems, one after another. The hospital bills are on you because she raised you and your siblings singlehandedly.
And so you don’t have time to curl up into anything. You need to wake up and put a band aid on your throbbing heartache and go about your day. You’ve got to smile at people and shake hands and sit straight up at your desk. You’ve got to be professional. So you’ve got to pretend to be okay. No time to pine or vent.
This won’t be the last time you put yourself out there only to get burnt. Because with adulthood somehow people lose their moral campus and they have no problem with dishonesty. After all, there’s no one to reprimand them for being selfish or emotionally abusive or unkind.
Love might come. But it’s possible that by that time, you will be detrimentally ruined. It might find you surrounded by an impenetrable fortress of untrustworthiness. You take every word with a pinch of salt. You can’t give complete devotion. You only give bits of yourself. You take more than you give.
You now overreact to everything because you were once understanding and you turned into a doormat. You are now unforgiving and selfish, thinking of only yourself and choosing yourself at every turn.
You still like the idea of love. In fact, you think that’s what you are looking for. But it isn’t, because love is supposed to be pure and wholesome.
So in truth, you’re not looking for love anymore. You are looking for something more practical. Like peace of mind and kindness and companionship. So the description of adult love is now a conscious decision to show affection to the person who understands you best and gives you the most peace.