I Just Like Loving Her

With one very notable exception, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over any of the women I’ve fallen in love with. And I’ve fallen in love with a lot of them.

The vast majority of these loves weren’t reciprocated, so there was a lot of unrequited longing. Mostly it was that way until I graduated college. After college I conscientiously started just waiting to see what women liked me before even thinking about wanting them, which has made things generally more productive and easier on my heart. There have only been a few unrequited crushes since then, ones that in the past would have overwhelmed me with futile longing for months or years, but I shrewdly tamped them down, made them deep admirations, and spared myself the broken hearts.

This last love wasn’t unrequited. It was mistimed. She wanted me first and she loved me first and then about the time she stopped, I started really loving her.

I’m almost over the heartbreak. It took a long four months, which was relatively long given how short our friendship and relationship really were. I no longer think about her everyday. I rarely ever feel that searing pain in my chest anymore. I no longer analyze everything that went down between us or desperately imagine ways to try to convince her to give us another shot. I don’t try to hold on to friendship in hopes that it can become a relationship again. We have severed contact so I can get over the relationship. Instead I think about other people and I think a lot about the present and the future. I’m okay without her.

I scrupulously remind myself daily of my “no expectations and no futile attachments” policy and adhere to it strictly. I focus, with no demands, only on wanting and savoring whatever good things will surprise me each day and waste no energies wanting to have her (or any other unavailable good things) while I know I cannot. Emotionally, I am moving on.

The one thing I don’t do, though, is try to not love her. I am getting over the hurt. I am resigning to the reality that I’ll never have her back. I am thinking about her less and less often. But I am not stopping loving her. I realize that I rather adamantly don’t even want to do that at all. I don’t resist those thoughts in which I just adore every thing about her with no objectivity whatsoever. Those thoughts hurt less and less the more I realize that I don’t have to have her to love her. I don’t have to put my hopes in getting her back to enjoy immensely remembering her.

A friend of a friend once described romantic love as being mesmerized with another person’s uniqueness. It relatively rarely happens that your brain reorganizes everything to interpret someone as wonderful all the way down to their flaws. It is rare we get to appreciate anyone that thoroughly and with so much enchantment. It’s, honestly, a terribly neat thing that I just love experiencing. I love loving. It’s an invigorating, enthralling, and richly appreciative way to think and feel about someone or something. As Nietzsche once put it, “we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving”. That describes my love of life, if no one else’s.

So, I never stop loving any of the women I loved. I rarely think about most of them. I almost never think of getting back with them. I don’t pine for them. My love for them never disrupts my next relationships or makes me love a new person with any less rapturous infatuation or commitment. But I’ll always love them. I love loving them. I love remembering them and what they meant to me. I love having people who when I think about them, I can find their uniqueness still mesmerizing in a way that never completely wears off. I love that there are people that I can think about and always have this twinge of fascination, however muted with time and distance.

I never know if people are serious when they insist to their new lovers that their past lovers mean nothing to them; that they’re just buried in the past. Besides the awful and abusive ones–and I have one such for whom I feel no love but only blankness–I could never imagine doing that.

So, I’m almost over the relationship. I’m almost over the break up. But I don’t think I’ll ever be over her. And I don’t want to be. I don’t see what’s to gain in that.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.