And we sit there and he says: “But I love him!” And I say: “Don’t love him. He doesn’t deserve your love! He is a bad man!” And I want to convince my friend to send his love into other directions, not to give where he doesn’t receive anything in return, that he should stop letting other people use him like a puppet or emotional trash bin.
Later I think: Why do I put so much effort into convincing someone not to love someone else? The answer is pretty simple: I don’t want people, good people, my friends to be hurt. Therefore, I don’t want them to be used by other people. If not liked or loved, at least I want them to be respected. And if someone doesn’t respect my friends or family, this person won’t be invited back in my house and loses his place in my circle. The funny thing is, this person who treats my friend bad may lose his invitation for any future dinners at my place, but my friend might still go out and have a beer with him somewhere else. So it might happen that I respect my friend more than he does himself. But this doesn’t get me into a dilemma. It only gets difficult if my friends keep on working or hanging out with people who disrespect me. Then I have to ask myself to which circle my friends truly belong – but this only as an aside.
I know that it actually makes no sense to tell anyone not to love somebody else. This doesn’t work. Love is like an addiction. And in the same way that we are addicted to love in general, because we need it to live, we can also get addicted to a certain person or the feeling that a certain person gives us or used to give us. Consequently love can also get a dangerous and harmful thing. Or at least – if we want to say that love is always the good power (in contrast to evil), if we want to say that love always remains the positive energy in this universe, then at least we can say that it can trigger something inside of us which can develop into something bad, dependence for example. This doesn’t have to happen, but it can.
The important thing is: if we decide to love, we love. And if we love, we want to protect the person we love, even if this person doesn’t protect us. We are led by an attitude of good intentions, even if our beloved one may hurt us every once in a while. This might happen by distrusting us, hanging up the phone on us or interrupting us when we speak. These are still small things, little bumps on the shared road of love, but these bumps may become bigger with the time. The sum of them makes the street a pleasant or unpleasant one and therefore shapes the character of the journey. The good thing is, this is why I call these bumps “small things”, you can still work on them, you can learn to be a better listener, practice to be more patient and decide to trust. But some people, like my friend, and he’s not the only one, of course, I know many people who behave in the exact same manner – they don’t really seem to notice these bumps. They go even further by letting themselves be shouted at, be talked down in public and be cheated on. They let themselves be treated disrespectfully, they endure disloyalty and infidelity only to keep on living and working with the ones who mistreat them so thoroughly, who use them so badly. And they are still smiling at their traitors, still offering help. This is how strong their love is.
So, I say this to him, don’t love him, he is toxic, he’s like a sickness. Leave him alone and live your life in peace. But what do my words do? Do they help him to get over the other? Or do they make him cling even closer to him as my offence calls him to defend his own offender? The truth is: I don’t know. It’s nothing new that love makes us blind and irrational for certain things. We focus on the positive because the worst that can happen is to lose the one we love. But maybe sometimes we forget what love is and that it must be a shared feeling if we want to make a relationship work. And if my friend doesn’t feel the need to move on crystal clear inside of himself, my words may be appreciated, but stay useless.
In the end, I don’t need to know why he still says he loves him. I don’t even need to change his mind. I can’t. I know that to truly love somebody and be loved in return is like having the key to the center of the world. It’s like knowing the secret of the universe and understanding why we are alive. Loving gives us a feeling of knowing the truth because it fills the empty spaces. And because love is truth and the truth is always right, it is not open for discussion. Like God. God is not open for discussion. But maybe sometimes we pray to the wrong God. Maybe what we call love and friendship is an empty tunnel to nowhere and all that our friends can do for us while we’re wandering through this tunnel is to wait and still be there when we wake up.