Do you believe in true love?
Okay, we are going to have to slip into a few things before I explain why I find the term true love oxymoronic and somewhat hegemonic. That’s right, my other life is about to come through on this one.
First, I am going to assume that the phrase true love is being used based upon a Eurocentric romantic concept stemming from a monogamous-centered notion that there is one person for another person at one time in their lives. So, to be truly in love, any amorous feelings are restricted to one individual at a time?
No, there is nothing “true” or real about that, and it alienates notions of love and commitment via polyamorous relationships, such as Christians and Muslims in the United States and global cultures. So, the idea that love is only true in those finite parameters is incredible.
Second, the word “true” needs to be unpacked a little. Coming from my cultural standpoint, the truth is grounded in reality, which is why there isn’t more than one. Therefore, the idea of what is true about the way people love is multilayered. Some true love can be dysfunctional and destructive—I’m looking at you Romeo and Juliet
Give a rest, you two. Y’all gonna be dead in a minute.
Where was I? Oh, yeah.
So the truth/reality in the way a person loves will rarely conform to the ideal constructed by the term true love.
Third, as fickle and temporary as human emotions are, the idea that something as volatile as love can be “true,” and by extension long-lasting, doesn’t jibe with the reality that people fall in and out of love all of the time. I think if the star-crossed lovers had lived, Juliet would realize what a weak little boy she lassoed herself to and bounce.
And then there is Romeo’s flaky burning desire. I mean he was into some chick named Roxanne two seconds before he decided he couldn’t live without that Capulet girl. So, it would only take another set of eyes to get him to dump Juliet. So much for true love.
That’s one of the reasons why I don’t write any “fated mate” scenarios in my romances and try to avoid terms like “soul mate” even though many readers love the concept.
The idealistic monogamous underpinnings necessary to hold the proposition that two people love each other exclusively is shaky enough let alone add that it’s only those two forever?
I’ve been in love with the same person for over 27 years. Yeah, he still makes my heart skip a beat, but he hasn’t been the only love in my life nor I in his.
We both loved people before being blessed with each other. Our love has endured, but it doesn’t negate the trueness of the love we had before it or guarantee that our love will remain for the rest our lives.
So it’s a no to that true love claptrap. One can love deeply and well but not truly because love itself is not a stagnant reality for everyone who encounters it.
Update: Read about the concept of soul mate from a Muslim perspective in the article “Soul Mates” by Sabinah Khan