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When Exactly Does Love End?

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It’s been exactly two weeks and four days since we broke up. No, I’m not counting hours and minutes too. I actually had to stop and access my fingers to come up with these numbers. Because also no, I am not wallowing in misery and my own snotty tears on the bathroom floor, crushed with heartbreak. I am mentioning this timeline as a statement of fact simply because time figures prominently in what I am about to ask:

When does love actually end?

I mean there you are, rolling along merrily (and then too often not so merrily) for well over two years, professing love on a pretty much daily basis. The L-word shows up in texts, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face encounters. It exists because maybe three weeks into the relationship, on a romance-drenched (and probably horny) evening, the magic words were spoken. It has existed ever since. Honest, there has never been one single moment where one or the other fessed up and said “Know what, Putz? I don’t love you anymore.”

Nope. It’s been hovering around the entire time. Love, love love … lots of lovely love.

And then we break up. We decide it just isn’t working. We are too different, we want different things, we make different choices and we differ far too often. It just isn’t working. And so we break up quietly, gently, even sealing the deal with a final hug.

Two weeks pass and I finally call, realizing that not only do we have business to attend to, but it’s weird. It’s just plain weird that we haven’t said one word to each other in two weeks. It’s not like there were bullets flying as he backed out of the driveway. It’s not like we screamed and yelled and called each other ugly names. I can appreciate that a certain amount of distance is necessary (indeed prudent) off the bat, just to digest and process. I wasn’t, however, thinking fourteen days …

And so I ask him. Why so long?

A bitter chortle escapes his lips as he replies “Because we broke up!”

Yes, I remember.

But, continue I cautiously, I love you. I plan on always loving you. I plan to treat you lovingly for the rest of my days.

There is a pause. And so I think.

Just because it isn’t working doesn’t mean the love has ended. It just means that romantic love doesn’t seem to be our destiny. Passionate, sexy, till-the-end-of-time love (and all that comes with it) is apparently not what we do best – with each other. Yet love remains.

Finally he says “I don’t know if I would call it love, but I do care about you.”

Ta-da!

There you have it, folks – the death of love. Love has morphed to care. Next it’ll be Yeah, you’re okay and finally What was your name again?

Perhaps I doth exaggerate some (been known to happen) but my question (once again) is – when did his love actually end? Was it something that evaporated over weeks and months? And if so, during that time was he kinda fibbing when he said I love you? When we shared a blissfully romantic moonlit sleigh-ride no less than a month before we parted company, were all those love words a lie? Or did his love magically – no wait, magically is the wrong word, does it have an opposite? – disintegrate at the exact moment that we decided it wasn’t working? Did he walk out the door, hop into his truck and drive off into the night thinking “Well thank goodness I don’t love her anymore?” Is that when it ended for him?

Or maybe it breathed its last hurrah in the ensuing days? Those days of silence; those incommunicado weeks. Maybe that’s when love turned to caring. Maybe when you don’t profess love regularly, you just stop feeling it?

I have no idea. I will never understand the male brain. Heck, I have a hard enough time understanding my own. All I know is for me, real love does not vanish. It changes, it reconfigures, it redefines itself to the circumstance. It does not disappear.

I have never stopped loving my ex-husband, not for a moment. I still feel huge love for past beaus – even the one who hurt me profoundly. Love is not a commodity in short supply in these here parts. Or should that be in this here heart? I have an endless fountain of love at my disposal and I have every intention of sharing it freely.

Honestly, I think I would worry more if I didn’t keep on loving. What would that say about me and my choices?

However, I guess when you break up you lose your vote. I no longer get to vote on his life or his feelings, nor does he on mine. We have voluntarily removed ourselves from the electorate.

In my own little kingdom though, where I shall forever be queen, I shall always vote for love.

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