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Wedding season is almost at its end – for me, at least – and although witnessing so many of my friends swearing eternal loyalty and never ending love to each other over the course of this summer has brought tears of joy to my eyes (especially when seeing my best and oldest friend in the world in her gorgeous wedding dress), it’s also hit me pretty hard. No, not financially, dears; on a psychological and emotional level, since it’s made me rethink and re-evaluate an entire vision on love and romantic relationships.

Now, we often mistake love for something else – infatuation, crazy attraction, insane desire, even pure and sheer loneliness and the need to feel a warm body (just about any! warm body) next to us during those cold nights – anything else except for love. But if you are not able to be the other person’s everything – their lover, their best friend, their partner through thick and thin, their lighthouse in the fog and their rock in the storm, then don’t you dare call it love. We like to talk big words, but most of us don’t seem to be capable of walking the walk.

Call me an idealist in matters of the heart, an absolutist if you will. I won’t walk into a relationship without those coveted butterflies in my stomach, I just won’t have it. But those poor butterflies are just as absolute in their worthlessness if they’re left alone to fend for themselves against the traps and dangers of this world. Devotion, the desire to share everything with the one you love, from the most miserable lows to the most exhilarating highs, wanting to help the other grow as an individual while also being in a couple, the desire to build something together.

What do I want from my life from now on? It’s been pointed that I probably want just what everybody else does: marriage, kids, a house with a white picket fence. Maybe so, but not necessarily in such traditional forms. The way I see it, marriage should most importantly be a marriage of souls; a signed piece of paper without the necessary intangible ingredients is no guarantee of a lasting relationship in the form of a marriage. The white picket fence? I think I’ll pass on the fences. I’m the kind of person who needs a certain sense of stability, but if I feel boxed in I will flee, that you can be sure of. So no white picket fences for me, please. More like the view of a seemingly endless vineyard and the desire to keep travelling the world even when hitting 70.

I may want a lot, but certainly not the impossible. I may be torn, but I’m certainly not confused.