Why Romantic Love Confuses Me

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

Okay, I get love, but I don’t get the concept of romantic love. By which I mean the love they say exist between opposite sexes (my friend, I don’t roll that way and you know it). Romantic love confuses me not because I don’t know love, or that I have been denied love or “love”, perhaps it is the opposite. I have been blessed with great lovers- most especially my family. I get it. I get the love that uplifts when you mess up; that love which forgives unconditionally; that which makes you the best that you can be regardless of your weakness. But talking about Romantic love, I simply do not get it and I am not ashamed to admit it.

How will you approximate the love a mother has for her child with the one a woman has for her lover? Let us examine this. Assuming you contract HIV/AIDS from an “outside woman” today, let us watch and see who will have your back after the discovery. You really think your wife is going to hang around if you are not Magic Johnson? Keep dreaming! In fact, it is a fact that even though you have dropped the ball on these two very important women in your life- the most likely emerging scenario is that your mother will stay to cater for you while the woman you call your life is most likely to bail out on you. It is the fact of life; she will simply accuse, try, and convict you of that great treasonable felony of marriage called cheating and you are quickly conscripted to the dustbin of history. Of course, if you are Magic Johnson that is a completely different matter. You see, you are rich, and her pay day is nearer. She sure can put up with the nuisance you have become now that you are on the last lap of your stupidity. For the record- the converse is true but I can only write this from a man’s perspective.

But beyond all of these, romantic love deeply confuses me. I have read the Good Book to examine the meaning of love. On all counts the three kinds of love: Filial (family), Agape (platonic) and Romantic love meets all the criteria enumerated but one. Romanic love is not selfless; in fact it is the most selfish kind of love. You only have romantic love for someone when your interest intersects with theirs. She is beautiful; you have prospect kind of situation. Relationships these days are a legal business transaction with its accounting side, strategic management side, and legal department inputs. We do not choose our family and the obligation of love we have to them, but we choose our significant others. We switch between love and hate in a second- and to those that find themselves on our scorned path, hell hath no fury like their damnation. Every day we are admonished to use our brains when we love, to remain in romantic relationships provided we have our way, not to sacrifice our lives for that man or that woman, not tolerate any nonsense- but what then is the concept of love? Is love not supposed to be selfless, longsuffering, and forgiving?

You can hardly divorce your relatives, even though most of us will try if given the opportunity, but divorce papers for romantic relationships is one in a dime in courts across the land. In fact, a friend of mine was called up from the office by a seemingly perfectly satisfied wife he left at home that fateful morning to fax his state ID card so she can obtain fast food divorce at one of the bolekaja county courts in his neighborhood. Unknown to him, his woman have been philandering with a co-worker that poses as her supervisor who comes in while he is away at work to pick up work package since she works out of the house while doubling as a stay at home mom. Unbeknownst to my good friend, his wife’s world is being rocked by the uncircumcised that is well paid! Poor black man

Thinking aloud to myself, I cannot count on my fingers and toes combined, how many times my close female pals will swear that their “booboo” (in their own words) is the best thing after toast bread, and then one week later he is the devil reincarnate. Of course, all it takes for you to be scorned by the elegant daughters of the 21st century is one of two things: say the truth that she does not rock your world anymore or go act by cuddling up with a competitor. In either case, you will earn the evil distinction of having wasted her time, being trifling, and no good man. God help you if you are a black man, dealing with a black woman you had better make sure you park your car in garages and closely monitored spaces in the few weeks following your spell bounding adventure. Your safety and that of your “girlfriend” i.e. your Toyota Camry you imagine is a Corvette, depends largely on your hiding skills or you will regret the day you met that woman you just broke her heart. Okay, just joking.

But if “romantic” love is true and real, shouldn’t you be in love with him regardless of how he has treated you? Should it matter if he doesn’t love you anymore? What difference does a second make? I mean the second between when you thought he was the Denzel of your life and the time you caught him in the act. Is there anything like unconditional romantic love? What role if any does money, wealth, and power play in making or breaking romantic love? If romantic “love” is based on these trivialities, how then can we call it love? I am just wondering. Because if filial and agape love were like romantic love, God knows I would have done away with all paraphernalia of self righteousness and thrown some people right of the clan. Before I sign off, just one question- do you get romantic love? When you hear the words “I love you” from your significant other, do you think it is a complete statement or one that carries an implied condition? Just asking.

Dedicated to two people who against all odds have loved themselves and I have been privileged to know as a son; happy birthdays and wedding anniversary

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BUNMI OLUWAGBEMI July 2, 2007 - 5:17 pm

Am short of words but i need to shout for help!!!!! Help my bros has gone gaga!!!!!, ewo! Abi na my mama u won marry ,wey u no beleive in romantic love again,may god help u oh!

Troof Teller June 14, 2007 - 3:41 pm

I was beginning to take this whole article seriously then I read the dedication which contradicted the entire article. So you understand you understand the love that has kept your folks together or don't you?

Outside woman, AIDS? What in the world are you talking about? If a man gives his wife AIDS, she has a course of action against him in the courts here so putting him in the trash can should be the least of his concerns.

As for infidelity, good luck to him and if she finds out. Na im sabi!!

Not that I am any saint sha…. Ojare, abeg make I go court go report this sis wen don slash all my tire, burn my cloth for laudromat and wen don say she go kill me.

For wetin, na mistep na im cause am oh..

I mistep go im friend place den I mistakenly undress when reach there and then just by mistake fall for im matress and that sis make de same mistake wen she commot all her cloth. Na so we see am oh.

Make I go get order so she no go take ax, to ax me queshion.

Anonymous June 14, 2007 - 6:58 am

hmm…had to chew over this one but dearie, there is such thing as romance in love. i don't know about romantic love. But love between two people who are going to get married or who are married should have some element of romance. it s a bible culture ok…check songs of solomon. But romance is not enough to keep marriage, there must be other qualities of love like steadfastness, trust etc. It seems you were basically talking to women. Hope you intend to show some affection to your wife and you intend to be faithful and apply some creativity. money and the other material things you mentioned are not as important as faithfulness, fidelity, affection. Your wife should equally be able to have characters of faithfulness, fidelity and respect. Romance is not based on emotions and it does not need huge finance to succeed. Simple things…creative things can spark and mantain romance in marriage. I ve been in one for over a year. We ve had our ups and downs but i can tell you that romance isn't missing and dearie…it s makes the relationship enjoyable. i am a woman and i am glad that i have got a man who equally believes in romance. think again Michael.

halal3k@yahoo.com June 14, 2007 - 6:50 am

Bros na true talk yu yarn abeg…romnatic love seem to fade every passing minute and all the hot flashes bkm lukewarm and stale but true love no hot or cold…e just no dey respond to dry,wet or hot season.E just dey kampe with no shaking.A friend just left my desk few minutes ago..wetin be d issue? his fiancee no dey et am greet oda female friends nor allow him hang out with his guys b/c 'she doesn't want to lose him'…and she's making life miserable for him b/c ' she loves him'. Egba mioooo

globalactingpoets@yahoo.com June 13, 2007 - 2:40 pm

My Brother, you are right. One amazing thing is that we all profess love, the ROMANTIC, only when there is enough paycheck, high univeristy degrees, all that. Sometimes I wonder why we can not pick a blind, a cripple, just disabled, on the street for a wife or a husband, except on rare cases. I think the word ROMANTIC LOVE does not exist, we only assume to be in love. I am confused! God bless and keep my Mama alive.

Anonymous June 13, 2007 - 7:29 am

You are not alone – I am a woman have no idea what "romantic" love is… I can only assume it exists in films and romance books? Surely in the real world it doesn't exist and is merely the figment of someone's over-active imagination?

If "romantic love" is the kind of love people are looking for, no wonder society is in the mess it's in!


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