Transposing emblem by Electra P.
Romance, passion, commitment, love… whatever name we give them, intimate personal relationships are extremely important to most of us. They are precious. Many of you reading this text right now are probably thinking about that special person who makes you smile and your world go round.
Romantic love will exist in our world as long as we, humans, do. It is in our nature to feel the need to connect on a deeper level with a significant other, to care for them, enjoy their fondness and show each other affection. In other words, we need to love and be loved. But, even when we think – and feel – that we have found “the one,” there may be doubts. Difficult questions find a way of creeping into our minds: Are we sure that the person we chose is the right one? Do they feel the same? Are they faithful to us? Can we truly count on them? Will our relationship last? Are our feelings genuine or are we maybe in love with the concept and idea of love itself?
Uncertainty is one of the greatest enemies of romantic relationships. And it’s an inevitable one. Our future is always unpredictable, and we live our lives not knowing what is going to happen over the next month, day or moment. Some people make plans and try to keep everything under control, but deep down we all know that even our greatest efforts could all be in vain. Uncertainty, either coming from within us or from outside, is part of our everyday life and many of us have come to accept it. Nevertheless, this can change when we are talking about matters of the heart. Love, or even romantic attraction, is known to change the way we think, feel and, most importantly, behave. We become more vulnerable, more sensitive, and often jealous or even possessive towards the other person. An important part of a committed relationship is trust and security. When doubt enters the room, love frequently starts preparing to leave.
Our own insecurities can play quite a big part in these cases. When we feel uncertain about our worth as an independent individual, we can subsequently feel that we don’t deserve another person’s true love and commitment. We may have doubts about their feelings and intentions; we may feel jealous and instinctively show excessive and visceral possessiveness towards them. We might also have doubts about our own criteria. “Did I choose the right one or is he/she going to hurt my feelings?” is one of the common questions we ask ourselves. This can happen especially when our past experiences are more negative than positive. In those cases, uncertainty and fear that the same old situations will repeat themselves can seriously damage the relationship, driving an uneasy mind out of control.
The truth is we cannot know what the future holds for us. We can never be certain about another person’s thoughts and feelings; we can never fully trust anyone to never break our heart. Our life is and will always be full of uncertainty and many different possibilities, both good and bad. However, we cannot live it in a constant state of anxiety and doubt. Letting go of our fears, both reasonable and unreasonable ones, and focusing on enjoying every single moment can help bring us peace of mind and improve the quality of a romantic relationship. Building our self-confidence is also a key factor that can contribute to a steadier and more positive state of mind, which will benefit all aspects of our life.
So, we can try to deal with our own demons and defeat them… But, what happens when uncertainty does not come from within but is a direct result of external and wider circumstances? In southern Europe, many countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece struggle with financial crises and high levels of unemployment, especially among young people who would normally be in the most productive years of their lives. The levels of uncertainty about the future are extremely high, as the crisis has continued for many years, and its end does not seem to be near.
In the affected countries, many young people decide not to engage in serious and committed relationships and also choose not to have children, despite their deepest desires and dreams. The future seems bleak and very uncertain to them, as they struggle financially and depend on their parents’ help or on unemployment benefits. It would be very difficult for them to support a home of their own and to raise children; even in a financially stable and secure environment like the one they were raised in 20-30 years ago when the economy was thriving. (Davies, 2014)
This kind of uncertainty is much more challenging to overcome. It does not directly depend on our own actions, feelings or thoughts. On the contrary, it is a result of external circumstances that are far beyond our control. Some say that poverty drives love away; we might also say that uncertainty does the same. However, a loveless life is empty. Even when we feel pessimistic about the world around us and unsure about the future, there can be room for feelings that warm our hearts. Maybe it’s especially then that we need love to bring light into our lives. Maybe what we really need is to take a leap of faith.
Looking back, it is obvious that life keeps going forward even under the worst of circumstances. Couples fell in love during WWI and WWII. Nowadays, people marry in refugee camps and right after terrible natural disasters. Their future is uncertain, as is the future of all human beings. Yes, uncertainty can be soul-crushing, but only if we let it affect us in that way. We often tend to focus on its negative side and we do not recognize that not being certain about what the future holds has a hidden beauty: the fact that every single day is full of wonderful and amazing possibilities. Let’s discover them in the arms of our loved one, without fear and armed with lots of passion.
Davies, Lizzy et al., “Marriage falls out of favour for young Europeans as austerity and apathy bite.” The Guardian. July 25, 2014. Accessed on Feb. 23: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/25/marriage-young-europeans-austerity