This article first appeared on The Good Men Project and has been republished with permission.
When I was very young, I believed in fairy tales that said: you will grow up, fall in love, and marry the person of your dreams.
As a gay man who has yet to be married or even granted this right, there were more than a few problems with these assumptions and whimsical approaches to life. While I was given one set of principles to live by, I lived in a world that would not allow my desires and a culturally approved expression of them.
My desire for love and psychological visibility was so potent and unrelenting that I held on and believed in the possibility of falling in love.
My plan was to go to college, meet the girl of my dreams, and have the perfect life.
Looking for the one in female form was problematic and pointless for any number of reasons.
The main and most obvious problem being that I desired men. My solution was to keep the fairytale and switch the main players. Falling in love remained the goal and brought with it a host of problems which lead to a ton of grief.
Nobody I knew ever discussed the smartest way to love.
By simply falling, the belief was that everything would somehow magically work itself out.
Because there was no thinking regarding love and the ways that it can fuck you up or uplift you, my understanding of what true love looked like was severely warped and limited. One of the major ways of thinking was that you and your beloved would fall in love simultaneously with the same level of intensity, commitment and ways of showing and expressing love.
While this always seemed to work in movies, this bit of excitement always eluded me.
Either I was ready for love or the person I was interested in needed “more time." There was no great musical score or earth-shaking recognition (all my life I’ve been waiting for you). Instead there was a great deal of desperation and an inordinate amount of confusion and a serious lack of thinking.
In many ways this resembles the disorientation and loss of footing that we associate with “falling." It also implies that this is a mistake and that very little thinking and or introspection is involved.
Waiting for years to fall (in love) with some interesting and almost comical results left me bitter, confused, angry and with the sneaky suspicion that I’d been set up and lied to.
To turn this around and annihilate the bitterness, it was time to give up waiting to fall and instead invest in some serious determination regarding finding and keeping true love.
Since my interaction with individuals who both understood and sought this same experience was limited to one friend, there was a need to find some other sources that focused on loving intelligently or create them myself.
After doing some serious search into the topic, what showed up consistently was that love and being loving was a choice.
That this process could be learned.
Clearly if it could be learned then it could be mastered. To find true love, the focus on falling in love had to be crushed.
True love is a matter of choice and some clear thinking that consistently asks : Is this a great choice for me? For him? Can we build something substantial ? What can I bring to this relationship that will bring value to the other person’s life?
More from The Good Men Project:
- The Hilarious Secret To A Successful Relationship
- 12 Ways You Ruin Your Chances Of Having The Love You Truly Desire
- 6 Ways Men Can Take Inspired Action to Create Love in Your Life