Don't Undermine The Love You Have In Friendships

Don't Undermine The Love You Have In Friendships

Why love in friendships is so much more fulfilling than we give it credit for.
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As a society, we have allowed an exploitative culture of love to permeate our industry. The intense commercialization of our most basic human experience not only connotes the capitalistic tendencies of our culture but is additionally indicative of our tendencies to allow such abuses to unfold.

Our top-down complacency with the industry of "love" mars the entire premise of this emotion; which ought to be something of pure, unadulterated connection. To find love is to find solace within another person; to build a home within the unfamiliar.

With this intense cultural obsession with love creates an overwhelming sense of necessity attached to this rare experience. People search in the highest and lowest of places to find this sensation which has been so acutely sensationalized by our society.

Being single I realized my life was not without love. Love intertwines itself within our human experience in so many different capacities, some more subtle than others. Love grows around us in the relationships we form with the people who surround us. Platonic love offers the same vital nutrients of life, essential to our human growth, that one with a romantic partner would.

In the mid 18th century "Romantic Friendships" existed as a common experience within our world. These relationships served as an outlet for people to express love and overt expressions of their sentiments towards people in their lives, despite the lack of a sexual component to these friendships. It was like having a romantic partner, but these relationships could be plentiful rather than singular throughout your life.

The commercialization of romantic love has undermined and historically outshined the importance of romantic friendships. I wonder if people might experience more satisfaction through their personal lives if we could revert to the sentiment of true value placed on friends. The love which we are able to derive from the people close to us brings light and warmth to every facet of our life.

So while society and Hallmark might make us feel like we are missing out by being single, the depth of love which we can experience regardless is powerful and important. The sense of connectivity which we can experience surrounding ourselves with people who understand and value us unconditionally is immeasurable.

Love does not manifest itself in one singular way. Love in any capacity is a beautiful thing to experience and share with another person. Don't undermine the love that you have, no matter what shape it might present itself in.

Cover Image Credit: Tycho Atsma

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.

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"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"

"Yep."

"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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Why My Ex And I Would Have Never Worked

A comprehensive explanation.

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For those of you who normal keep up with my life, or have read about my boyfriend and I, I just want to make it clear that I am not talking about him. Rather, I'm talking about my ex from a while ago. It wasn't a relationship that broke my heart and it wasn't something that I had around just for shits and giggles. The relationship was real and it started like any relationship that shouldn't be happening. It with a kiss in a car, a very sad looking car. That should have been my first indicator but I was in crush mode so what did I know? It was alright, the relationship was good-ish (second indicator- still in crush mode).

My ex (who will remain nameless) was a great person and always wanted to do things for me. Get me food when I might need it, Sheetz coffee when I wanted it and all the music suggestions I desired. And then I noticed the trends; I was short-tempered more often when I was around him, I was making excuses for him, I was going back to my old and bad eating habits, my self control was weakening, and I was getting more and more depressed. We shared all of those things in common and I realized that I was feeding myself off of his negativity and he fed off of mine. So I called for us to work on it. And for a time, we did. But things seemed to revert back to the negativity and the bad habits. My anger issues were bursting at the seems and I happened to be getting more and more frustrated with everything. The way coffee smelled irritated me and anyone who knows me knows I love coffee. Something was going terribly wrong.

The day I won't forget is when he happened to do something very wrong in a situation that I had to admit was out of line. And yet again, I was still making excuses and trying to make things better for him but I was out of ways to get him out of trouble and I had to give up trying to save him. Then a separate incident occurred and I couldn't get him out of trouble again. I had to be done trying to make it work when we were each others' problem. We had been feeding each other the same negativity that had been looping through us for the time we were together. We were never going to work because we were never going to change without motivation and example enough to do so.

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