Love and fear, of course, are not mutually exclusive. When you’re madly in love with someone, you will fear losing him. The thought of being left alone, the thought of him loving someone else and the thought of you not being good enough may terrify you.
I admit fear is an effective tool. People subscribe to religion because they fear life and afterlife. People obey the law because they fear being put in jail. People get married and stay together although they are no longer happy, because they fear losing the investment they have made in the relationship. Put in place an instrument that incites fear on people, and the exit mechanism will be less likely favourable.
When it comes to romantic commitment, fear also plays a big role.
In the old days women were economically dependent on their husbands. Not getting married and getting divorced would mean a huge financial lost to them. Children were conceived as investments in the agricultural and industrial era, which required a large number of human resources. During that time, mortality rate was also still high since medical care was not yet sophisticated.
But now, thanks to women’s empowerment, more women are independent. At the same time, technological advancement has replaced humans with machines in more jobs. The demand of the job market changes, requiring highly educated and skilled human resources, but investing on education and training is a costly long-term investment.
Greater thanks to critical thinking, modern people no longer succumb to societal norms if the cost outweighs the benefit. So more people do no want children and more people do not want marriage.
People are reconstructing the concept of marriage and relationship as marriage is no longer as prospective as it used to be and divorce rates continue to increase.
Do these phenomena deserve an outcry?
No, I dare say. This may seem paradoxical: the fact that our current society is more likely to opt-out of marriage than ever is proof that they value commitment more highly. Because you’d only be committed to someone who deserves you and who is capable of making you happy.
Modern love shows that more people are more accomodative to their happiness today. Relationship has more flexible exit mechanism now. People wouldn’t be willing to compromise if they don’t love their partner that much. They get married because they want to understand love more and pursue happiness instead of pursuing material benefits. They would rather quit a relationship than cheat, because they understand they won’t need to bear so much consequences of leaving.
Relationship survives because it is satisfies, not because people fear their investment would be in vain. We commit ourself for the pursuit of love and happiness. Your lover fears of losing you because he loves you.
Instead of an economic resort and a means to escape a life of financial burden, marriage is perceived more as a romantic institution. We modern people are no longer dictated by other external factors. Doesn’t that make people of the 21st century the most romantic generations?
But, love is indeniably fickle and some can’t love monogamously at some points of their lives. It is worth noting that loving, to some degree, is a choice. Perhaps, at some points, you compromise for your partner’s well-being, although you have a fling somewhere else. Perhaps, you try and try and try, desperately hoping your partner loves you back although he no longer does, because you fear so much of losing affection. Perhaps you forgive him over and over again despite his repeated episodes of cheating with other women. We deal with this bitter truth: anything is legal when it comes to love, as long as you don’t put the limit.
Because of that, women, don’t pay most for the thing you get for nothing. When a love does not bring you happiness, but so much pain, it’s time to fight against the fear of not being loved back. Walk away. Your fear is irrational and you’re just wasting your efforts.
If you fear you are less valuable, because no one loves you in romantic way, you are completely wrong. You are not less lovable although someone you love does not love you back.
Remember this: the only person capable of judging and defining your self-worth is you alone, because the one who lives and works so much on being you up until this point is you. You always must love yourself first, if it’s a trade-off between loving your partner or yourself.
You should not use your romantic partner to prove your self-worth. If you always have to compromise to the point that it trigers your self-doubt, self-hatred and pain, walk away. You deserve someone who can love you without you having to depreciate yourself. If your love is only stemmed from fear, walk away. Because loving is a voluntary act, not a form of manipulation.
Dear women, remember this, you always deserve better.
Ellyaty Priyanka is currently an International Relations undergraduate student in Gadjah Mada University, Jogjakarta. She’s always been in love with the idea of paradox, Schrodinger’s cat and her own fear. When life gives her lemon, her most logical response would be writing stuffs in her personal blog: ellyatypriyanka.wordpress.com. This piece of work is a fruit of her long intellectual deep discussion with her ex-lover.