By Kenneth Stepp
Ok, this is a deceiving title. You see, I don’t have answers, I search for them. I am asked, more often than I am comfortable with, questions about dating, love, and relationships. I can understand why they ask, I have authored two books on these subjects and have been writing a column about them for over 5 years, I get it, they think I have the answers to why we fail, what to do next, how to handle certain elements of relationships, and my opinion of what real love is. Honestly, with each passing day, I learn more about what I don’t know. Or, when I have all the answers, I find that they’ve changed all the questions.
In short, if the answers are out there, I’m obviously not great at finding them. What is real love? There’s one I’ve had the answer to many time. Then, I find out it has layers, and I’m right back to square one. What I have found is that love is different for everyone. For some, love is how they feel when they are with someone. To others, love is painful, mainly because it always has been. To me, love is elusive and complicated. I have known love three times. All three “adventures” ended poorly. Was it love? I struggle with a proper answer to that question.
Is love a dream? Maybe, for most of us, I suppose. What is the perfect relationship? What are the dynamics? Again, different for everyone. I have a friend, she’s 60, has her own place, job, and income. Her own stuff. I asked her this question and her response made me think. Three days at his house, four alone at mine. A year ago I would have called that crazy, but now, not so much. I’d love to do life with someone every day, but maybe the dynamics my friend mentioned are all that is available these day, God know everything has changed enough.
So, what does doing life together mean? For me, it has always been sharing everything. From assets to responsibilities. My outlook comes from my thoughts on what real love is. I’ve always thought that where unconditional love lives, great trust abides as well. If I love you unconditionally, then things and stuff won’t matter. Of course, am I even sure what love is anymore? I always thought I did. But definitions seem to be a moving target in this age. Love, in my opinion, has not changed at all. I believe we mere mortals have made a mess of it and now we need to figure it all our again.
In a world where a person can be born a man and after a number of years as a man, can change his gender to peanut butter (in NYC), well, definitions for anything can become jumbled a bit. Exacts don’t exist anymore. Actually they do, like I said, us humans have plays fast and loose with definitions and, in my opinion, we need to stop and remember what is and forget what is not. You see, you can think that your gender is maple syrup. But a DNA test will tell you the truth of the matter. Things do not change, just because we think they did, hope they did, or imagined they did. Truth is like math, it’s exact.
Perhaps I am answering some of my own questions after all. I believe we were created by a creator. That is about as preachy as I’ll get. Maybe we need to get back to basics. My father told me he loved me for the first time when I was 20 years old. It didn’t matter, although it was great hearing it. He worked two jobs, provided, protected, housed, and fed me, for the entire time he was raising me. He showed me how to be a man, he modeled what a man was to me, he led by example. I knew he loved me with him telling me. Words are cheap and actions are treasures.
Love is an action word, it isn’t even words at all. It’s deeds, it’s visual, and it’s real. It doesn’t fluctuate, it doesn’t change with thoughts or feelings. Love, like math, is stable, solid, and never changes. My father loved me till the day he drew his last breath. That was never in question. Love endures and will put up with whatever it must to continue. Well, I did have an answer after all.