Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I do not love you

I followed a link the other day to one of those reblogged Tumblr things and it was all about how we need to Love(tm) each other and Open Our Hearts(tm) and Be Vulnerable(tm).

I guess my feelings about those sentiments are obvious.

I'm here to tell you otherwise: it's okay not to love everyone. It's okay not to "open your heart" and be loving and tender and nurturing and available and so on. It's okay to protect yourself first before worrying about other people.

Maybe if we lived in a perfect world we could afford to be vulnerable, but we don't live in that world. Instead we live in a world where people are taught to prey on each other, and that we are entitled to love and if we don't get it from the person we have decided is supposed to love us we have the right to make that person miserable. We also live in a world where the burden for being open and vulnerable and being ready to drop psychic barriers on command is placed on women. Women get told to "love or die!" 24/7 365 days a year. Men get the occasional article in some rag like Psychology Today proposing that men chillax every now and then and let themselves feel an emotion other than "kill the opposition." (And nine times out of ten men react to timid efforts like these as if they are being asked to decapitate themselves with rusty butter knives. "You want men to wear cardigans and cry and be wimps!" they'll bluster, with bonus "girly feelings are icky" misogyny.)

Not everyone is able to love you and you have no right to command them to do so. Just because I don't love you doesn't mean I hate you. Rather, it means I respect you and your boundaries and know that I have no right to get my feelings all over you without your permission. I respect that you might have only so much strength and a demand that you add "love everybody" to your long list of burdens might do irreparable psychic harm. I see you as a different person, one who has different psychological needs than me at the very least, and in any case I have no right to assume you feel about things the same way I do.

So this is my gift to you: no love. You're welcome.

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