Love is not a cage

Taking a break from my blogging break, because I spotted something from a friend’s blog that I couldn’t not blog about.

He linked to a post about Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s view about what’s wrong with romantic love.

I usually have a bit of a frown when I see Sunflower with romance novels. They portray an overly idealistic view of love: fanciful, predictable and monotonous. Of course, she’d likely retort that since she hasn’t experienced romantic love yet then the books will help fill the void. And I’ve told her many a time that romantic love is overrated. It’s messy, painful and often left me wondering if it was worth all the effort.

Over the years, I realised that I’d confused love with possessiveness, and the need for control. I have control freak tendencies as well as an irrational fear of losing the people I hold dear. It drove my boyfriend nuts having me call all the time; I should have gotten a clue when I’d even get MFM to report whenever he went overseas and I’d spend days worrying one or the other would die/get in an accident/contract a terminal disease or worse – replace me.

The harder you hold on to someone, the tighter your grip, the likelier it is the person will work hard to get away from you.

And I am guilty. Guilty of expecting my loved ones to read my mind, to always be around, to put up with my nonsensical fears, act the way I told them to, let me dictate their decisions. I was no better than a jailor.

So I’m letting go. I’ll stay safe in the belief that I can hold them the people I love close to my heart – but it doesn’t mean I have to do it literally.

Bonhoeffer on romantic love:
“It loves them, not as free persons, but as those whom it binds to
itself.  It wants to do everything it can to win and conquer; it puts
pressure on the other person.  It desires to irresistible, to dominate.
Self-centered love does not think much of truth.  It makes the truth
relative, since nothing, not even the truth, must come between it and
the person loved.  Emotional, self-centered love desires other persons,
their company.  It wants them to return its love, but it does not serve
them.  On the contrary, it continues to desire even when it seems to be
serving.”

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