On any given day at Chump Lady, you’ll see the following recitation: awful thing, awful thing, unforgivable thing, run-away-like-your-hair-is-on-fire abomination! …. and then the chump utterance, “But I love him.” (Or “But I love her.”)
Oh. You LOVE her? Then King’s X! Why didn’t you say so!
I was totally mistaken that someone who threatened your life, insulted your outfit, called you fat, unlovable, sexless, and dim, cheated on you, lied to you, risked your health, spent your savings, ran up your credit cards, got pregnant, got someone else pregnant, quit their job, tripped your elderly mother, and then told you the entire clusterfuck was your fault wasn’t in your good graces.
Oh sure, you feel some consternation, or a fervent need for a reality check — It’s wrong to trip elderly women, right? Right? — but let the record be clear on this — YOU STILL LOVE THEM.
Stop the presses! OMG. This changes EVERYTHING! It doesn’t matter what the litany of horror is, if you LOVE the person, then all should be forgiven! There is hope! Because you LOVE! And love, we are told, is a super power. It conquers all.
How’s that working for you?
If you’re believing that your love will change another person? STOP. Please stop. You can’t love someone into loving you back. You can’t love someone into sobriety. You can’t love someone into monogamy. The love you feel stops and starts with you. It’s not a superpower. Love is a CHOICE.
Isn’t it infuriating the way cheaters cling to the narrative of The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants and “We can’t control who we love!” To hear them tell it, love is just this nebulous gas that descends on people, willy nilly. There’s no agency involved. One day they were out minding their own business and sha-ZAM! Love hits. Powerless against its force, the cheater is compelled to cheat — and it’s okay because LOVE. #somethingbiggerthanusboth
“Bullshit,” you say?
Well, chumps, it works both ways. You can’t go on and on and on about some abusive shit in your life and then say, “but I love him!” As if you have no agency. As if your love isn’t a CHOICE. “I love you” is an “I” statement. Any sentence that begins with “I” means YOU control it. (“I am having liverwurst and saltine crackers for dinner tonight!” “I am not voting for Donald Trump!” “I adore pinecone elves!”)
Start controlling who you choose to love. I know you’re still caught up in the shared history, and who you thought this person was, and the memories — and yes, the actual LOVE you feel. And I know that love and investment makes you feel very vulnerable and heartbroken. But you know what? You’re making a choice to confer love upon this person.
Ask yourself if they deserve it. Ask yourself if you deserve awful thing, awful thing, awful thing, abomination!
Then choose wisely.