Do You Believe in True Love?

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She's So Bright - Do You Believe in True Love. Painting by Francois-Henri Galland

As it’s February, the topic of love is everywhere. I’ve been reading countless articles about finding love, not being loved, Tinder dates, divorces, et al., and this question has been on my mind. I don’t really talk much about love because I tend towards the private, while also possessing a don’t-want-to-jinx-it attitude with something I care so deeply about. But because it’s nearly Valentine’s, I thought I’d consider a question that’s been in my head for years: is there such a thing as True Love?

To me, True Love is what they write stories about. (I capitalize it because it’s not regular love, it’s a much bigger deal than just regular love.) True Love is what epics were fought for, and tragedies were written about. It’s why Juliet committed suicide, why Elizabeth Bennet lives happily ever after – it’s Johnny Cash & June Carter’s commitment to the end. When I think of True Love, I see a montage of all the stories and films depicting love that will not end, of love that endures wars, distance, and loss. I think of two people whose souls can’t survive separation.

For a long time, I used to think I could fall deeply in love with anyone. I figured there were countless people I could find myself batting eyes at, any number of hunks I’d enjoy a quiet Italian restaurant with – a whole ocean of catches awaiting my little net. But as I’ve gotten older and fallen more in love with my partner through the years, I’m not so sure I could endure life with just anyone. Meanwhile, I have friends falling out of love, I hear heartbreaking stories from all corners of the internet, and lately, my ideas of lasting love have been quite shaken.

But I hold on.

Many years ago I fell asleep on Jon’s shoulder and whispered to him in my dream that we were soul mates. In the years since I always ask him if “we have epic love?” It was a joke when I first brought it up, but through the years I think of it as more of serious question. Because isn’t epic, True Love, the only love worth having? Who wants to have mediocre, average, won’t-miss-you-when-your-gone kind of love? No one. And then, if you believe you have an epic love, does it make your love more epic?

My experience is that, with anything, love is what you make it. And if you and your partner decide that you have True Love, who’s to say you don’t? I guess what I’m saying is that a belief in True Love is like any other act of faith. You either believe it and it exists, or you don’t.

I believe in epic, cross-hell-fire, walk-over-coals, dread-the-day-I-can’t-see-him, kind of love. So I guess that means I believe in True Love.

Boy, do I.

Do you believe there’s only one person for you? Or if there’s not, can you fall in love to the same depth with each one of them? And does True Love exist, as it does in the movies? Or is it a made up, unattainable ideal? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Beautiful watercolor by Francois-Henri Galland, via Saatchi Art.

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