I was always under the impression that the way it works is you find someone you love, that you are most compatible with. And, then you love each other so much that you can’t live without and you get married. I always thought it was the way you felt about each other that drove everything else. That is it. End of story. Nothing else matters but the fact that you love each other and have the most electric chemistry.
But, the more I think about it, the more I think this fairy tale romance idea is very, very wrong (as depressing as that is). Perhaps just loving someone is not enough after all.
I recently read the part in Gone With the Wind where Ashley Wilkes finally declares his love for Scarlett, they make out secretly in the ditch, and then he explains to her how they can never be together, because he is a coward and she is valiant and those two characteristics don’t go well together. Up until this point, Scarlett has had a very difficult time with Ashley’s marriage to Melanie, because she knows that Ashley loves Scarlett and does not understand why that love is not enough. Ashley, on the other hand, knows that he is a wimp and is not willing to live up to be the man that Scarlett deserves and has to let her go, as painful and heart wrenching as that may be. No, in this case, loving and caring about each other is just not enough.
This scene made me wonder how many real life people cannot be together, despite their passion, their electric chemistry, their strong connection, because of some kind of circumstance–whether it be a personality flaw, a job re-location, some kind of past baggage. I feel like so many 20somethings are breaking up right now because, “they just aren’t in the same places in their lives”. They could be completely perfect for each other–check off every single box on their list of what a potential mate must have–and timing, or a job, or an event draws them apart and they cannot be together, no matter how much they care for each other.
This slightly happened to me. I never quite understood Emily Bronte’s quote “Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same” from Wuthering Heights until recently. I met someone who I believe is the male version of myself; nerdy, contemplative, wanderlustful. He wrote the same way I did, talked about the same concepts I did, enjoyed the same activities I did. And, despite all of those things being perfect and completely compatible, circumstances forlorn us to be together. In this case, love is not enough, because other things weigh more heavily.
And, what if what we think we are looking for, what we would be most compatible with, is completely wrong for us? I personally am very attracted to guys who are of the John Grady type–pensive, independent, wise, flighty, reckless. But, this could actually not be very good for me, because (a) it probably means I get a guy who runs away and comes back a lot and (b) he doesn’t really know how to handle his feelings. Another one of my friends was head over heels for this guy–he was smart, ambitious, mature. And then, she realized that his obsession with gluten free, dairy free, carbohydrate free, sugar free, etc. diet would never fit into her eating schedule and probably cause her to die of starvation. Of course, some other things lead to their break up, but my point is that perhaps who we think we are compatible with, who we feel this electric chemistry and passion for, may not necessarily be the best option for us. Maybe we need someone a little more mellow, a little less exciting, a little more predictable–because that is what is going to work in the end.
I am not sure I like this new revelation, because it makes me question everything I have been told about ‘love’ growing up; maybe it is not what I expect it to be and maybe I won’t find absolute happiness and romance like they promised and that I will have to compromise a little less chemistry for something a little more stable. It is kind of like, when you are in kindergarten, you are told that you can be anything you put your mind to. And, then you get to college, and realize that you really are not smart enough to get into law school and you should actually probably just be a fry cook at the local diner instead. It’s actually kind of depressing to think about how life does in fact have limitations and that there are certain factors that will impede who ‘Prince Charming’ actually ends up to be.
And, for Scarlett O’Hara, I think it is Rhett Butler, but I haven’t quite gotten past page 837 yet, so I will keep you updated!