The Haven/Medium.com, Dec. 29, 2020
Love has much to teach us about the human condition, and about such specific conditions as pain, panic, despair, hysterical flatulence, stress piles, and Chronic Traumatic Nausea. But to learn from love, we must listen to love.
By listening, we learn that people in love are, as the old chestnut goes, like two ships that collide in the night because of defective navigation systems, explode into fireballs, and sink to the bottom of the wine-dark sea, there to remain forever in sight of each other, yet just out of reach.
Having suffered love, I know much of nausea and panic, and perhaps a touch of the flatus now and again. If by sharing what I have learned I can help just one person avoid just one moment of heartache — good God, what a colossal waste it all will have been. Just one? Really?
Nevertheless, here are some lessons of love. Learning them cost me plenty. You can have them for nothing.
· Be alert to red flags in a prospective partner. This will be easy, as most of your dates will come draped in billowing banners of a deep, rich crimson. The hard part will be concealing your own billowing banners. Dress in layers.
· Should a new love interest confide that they “build walls” to protect their heart, expect to end up like the guy in the short story who gets walled up in a wine cellar and left for dead.
· Love bombing is an insidious form of flattery that people use to exploit your vulnerabilities and lure you into their web of disorder, where they will paralyze you with their love poison and then destroy you. It is immensely effective, so you’ll want to try it on your next partner.
· Loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder can be an exciting ride, filled with gaslighting, distancing, splitting, impulsiveness, selfish lovemaking and explosive outbursts of rage disproportionate to the absence of any actual provocation. Better to take a header off the observation deck of the Empire State Building. This will pack just as much punch without any of the residual pain. Or, really, any pain.
· When someone tells you they hate people, consider yourself people. Eventually they will get around to hating you. This will happen shortly after they tell you how much they love you, which will cause them to resent their weakness and project their self-loathing onto you. Expect this cycle within two weeks of meeting each other.
· When your partner begins leaving personal items at your place — toothbrush, tea mug, four-pound polished-steel sex wand — it is a test. If you react positively, they will sneer at your neediness. If, however, you react negatively, they will sneer at your haughtiness. Pick the option most appropriate to your tolerance for suicidal ideation.
· Monitor your partner’s reading list. Such titles as “I See You’re Still Here,” “Foul Odor, Shallow Grave” and “Quicklime for Dummies” may hint at discontent.
· Gird yourself for the emotional tumult of the post-breakup period, in which you will wallow in booze, drugs and meaningless sexual encounters with strangers. This will turn out to be the best part of the relationship, and you will miss it very much when it ends.
· If your partner disappears from your life like a ghost, you have been ghosted. The only cure for this is to ghost someone else in turn.
· Avoid being yourself when developing a new relationship. After the breakup, this will allow you to tell yourself that they didn’t dump you; they dumped someone else. This is vital to self-concept.
· Dating someone who is fresh from a painful breakup can be wonderfully life affirming — for them. For you, it will be a precursor to wallowing in booze, dope and meaningless sexual encounters with strangers. But not the good kind.
· Get a good monocular. This will help you surveille your ex on their visits to their new partner’s apartment, the bedroom window of which will be visible while you are lying supine in the soil behind the thatch of shrubbery on the side of the building across the street and facing 203º south by southwest. (I see you, Gladys! More or less.)
· You may have nothing in common with your partner, find their company achingly dull and suspect, upon reading their journal, that the feeling is mutual. This will have no bearing on the immensity of your despair when you are ghosted.
I hope this has been of some help. It’s important to remember that in love, as in life, you will never understand what is happening when it is happening, let alone fathom your own behaviors. Afterward, you will not believe that you didn’t see it all coming. And then you will forget everything you’ve learned so that you can make the same mistakes all over again with someone else because the only thing worse than being in love is not being in love. It’s the human condition.