I Wanna Know What Love Is ~ By Dalia Al Saad

Photographed by Alexas_Fotos

Yes, I really wanna know! What is true, genuine love?

Would a couple who is solely infatuated with each other count as one?

What if she decides to break up with him just because he’s going through a tough time but still acts as a “good” friend and spends time and money with him, would that count?

How about if he claims that he still has feelings for her but can no longer be with her because her physical appearance has deteriorated?

Is it normal for us to associate love with pain as a natural reality?

I’m sure that, like me, you’ve heard so many infectious stories of friends and family who experienced love in its many dimensions, but let me tell you this: I only believe in one type of love that is truly genuine and pure and that is unconditional love! Yes, it changes.. but to the better! It grows only to become bigger! It seeps deep into your heart creating light from within that flows through your soul and shines brightly in your eyes. That’s when you realize how beautiful and meaningful life truly is and that you want to fully enjoy every precious moment – good or bad – if it means that you get to live it with your soulmate.

I remember my mother once telling me a story of a millionaire who was madly in love with his gorgeous looking wife. They lived in their mansion with their kids and army of servants. He gave her everything – jewels, yachts, private jets …etc. One day, sitting in the back seat of her luxurious car while her personal driver drove her around, she had a terrible accident and was rushed to the hospital. She had to undergo a very complicated and dangerous operation, which ended badly. You see, the surgeon made a terrible mistake transecting one of her nerves making her unable to walk properly for the rest of her life. She was not the same model-like woman he got married to. That’s when he decided to file for a divorce and find himself another. Now, he did not leave her without money. As a matter of fact, he made sure she had everything she needed and gave her a beautiful villa to live in. For sure he is better than others who would simply toss her away without giving it a second thought, but I can’t seem to agree his generous gestures are derived from real love.

I truly believe that this husband was merely infatuated with his wife. He lost the spark and saw her in a different light as soon as he saw her new physique and temporary change in her behavior due to the excruciating pain she had to handle. I can understand his reasons for experiencing a change of heart, but genuine and deep love is consistent. True love is viewing one’s partner realistically, accepting human flaws, and having the ability and desire to journey hand in hand in the rollercoaster ride of life despite one’s imperfections. Love grows deeper and couples become closer as they face life challenges, evolve, and mature together. Therefore, the magnitude of the husband’s sudden and quick apathy toward his wife engendered disappointment and disbelief in me.

Her physical appearance has changed but her change of character due to her pain is temporary. She was eager to redeem herself and was aware that she has become a different woman after enduring what she had to go through. However, this personality change was a sheer phase. The path to recovery requires patience, emotional resilience, and a loving partner. She could find support through rehab groups or a bunch of friends but nothing compares to that of a loving partner. Loved ones play a huge role in ensuring that victims of such surgical errors do not fall into depression and this is done by rebuilding the connections they once had and making amends for the emotional damages caused by their temporary unbalanced behavior. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part, right?

Now, this was just an example of how generous acts can be confused with true love. In this example, the heartbroken victim was facing health challenges, but breakups happen for other illogical, inhumane reasons too. Financial difficulties? Feeling too good for the partner after a sudden breakthrough? Weight gain? Long-distance relationship challenges? Getting falsely accused of something that wasn’t committed? And the list goes on… All of the previously mentioned situations can result in changes in characters, however, these changes are expected but not necessarily permanent. With intimate relationships, mutual respect, and the desire to re-establish trust, these troubled partners, who have a real desire to overcome their problems, and their loved ones can heal and start over.  True lovers welcome and accept normal personality changes, which naturally occur in real, long-term relationships as a result to the life problems people have to face. Acceptance of the significant other is crucial as long as the basic essence is unaltered.

But do people really see that? While many do, some confuse genuine love with lust. In reality, experiencing pure lust and having a lasting attachment are incomparable. While intense physical attraction is difficult to maintain in long-term relationships, the thrill of being passionately in love does not easily dissipate, especially when the partner’s sole flaw is misfortune. Genuine love is an ever-growing process, which manifests itself when partners offer solace and express their unconditional and continuous love in times of need and in the distant future.

We can be charitable to complete strangers for various motivations, but being charitable with a former lover, after suddenly declaring the death of love in critical times, is driven by guilt and the fear of appearing as a heartless person without honor. While devoted partners take pride in expressing their ever-growing love for their troubled loved ones as they help them heal emotionally and physically, the so-called generous ones support their former lovers out of duty. They are unable to see the truth that being present and spending money on the ex will not compensate for not loving them anymore.

This leads us to see that charity does not necessarily prove unconditional love. The overwhelming sense of guilt and the fear of appearing as cowards, who fall out of love with a partner in need, motivate some to become charitable in every way but love. Merely spending time and/or money on the ex is not a satisfactory gesture. It actually loses its value and effectiveness since unfailing love is absent when one is in dire need of true love and consistency.



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