Who knows, maybe at some point I would have wanted the marriage, children and a nest thing – if I’d been given time to arrive there instead of being pressured to accept it while it was very much not what I wanted or needed. ‘Love is all you need’ is a lie, a bald-faced, utter lie. I love my husband, and that love couldn’t protect me from the stress of being pressured into living the life he wanted immediately, instead of waiting for a better time. It couldn’t protect me from the stress of how he lives life. I love my children, more than I ever thought I could love other human beings, and yet that love couldn’t protect me from the enormous stress of parenthood.
Love couldn’t protect me from sleep deprivation. It couldn’t protect me from the loneliness that came after being largely cut off from my social life. It couldn’t protect me from the stress of living with the clutter and filth caused by his hoarding. It couldn’t protect me from the emotional and physical distress of pregnancy. It couldn’t protect me from the surging fear that came with becoming a parent and the knowledge that I now knew a love that could destroy me. There are plenty of people willing to tell you about the love you’ll know as a parent – far fewer that will tell you how you’ll know fear like you’ve never known it, too.
Love couldn’t protect me from losing myself. It couldn’t protect me from seeing the things I enjoyed stripped away from my life because I didn’t have the energy to focus on what I wanted and needed when I had so many other people’s wants and needs to tend to. It couldn’t protect my social life, my art, or my writing, or my body, my education, my career prospects, my independence, my dreams, my health, my present – or my future.
It couldn’t protect me in my childhood, either. I loved my family intensely. That love didn’t protect me from religious indoctrination, it didn’t protect me from loneliness and isolation, it didn’t protect me from a sub-par education, it didn’t protect me from my mother’s unhealthy world view, it didn’t protect me from an existence demanding I conform to a particular template. It couldn’t protect me from needless, toxic guilt and fear.
A feeling of intense affection and connection that bonds me to another human can’t provide me with a healthy existence. Those bonds are definitely a necessary part of a healthy existence, but they are just a part, not something that can replace or substitute for the other things that are needed.