On Love and Deserving

Warning: herein lie spoilers for the movie The Town, Season 4 of Gilmore Girls, and the novel Driver’s Ed.

I started thinking of all my associations with the words “love” and “deserving” when used together.

Here’s one—this lovely song by Lori McKenna (possibly the subject of a future Katie Recommends):

[spotify id=”spotify:track:0p5x6zmXBjXdQ0bVcvMPhm” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Here’s another—the cheesy book and self-help tape Luke listens to on Gilmore Girls (which, laughable as it is, does help him realize that he’s in love with Lorelai). I can’t find the clip where the tape says, “You deserve love,” but here’s another one that includes the tape.

But here’s another, the one I think of most often. A few years ago, I’d just seen the movie The Town and hadn’t really liked it. My biggest issue with it was that when the female lead discovers that the guy she’s been seeing is the same guy who traumatized her by kidnapping her at gunpoint during a bank robbery, she still wants to be with him. I did not buy that for a minute, and shared that thought with some co-workers at lunch one day. One co-worker, who’d seen the movie and liked it, was surprised. “But she loved him!” she said.

“Some people don’t deserve love,” I countered.

And I’ll never forget the look on her face. She looked like I’d slapped her—as if, with an offhand comment about a character in a movie, I’d hurt her personally.

But I meant it when I said it. I really did believe that not everyone deserved love. Everyone deserves to be loved by their parents and families, but does everyone deserve romantic love?

I have a lot of friends who have fallen for lousy guys when they deserve much better. It’s frustrating to see your friends continue to see and to respond to jerks, and my response, more than once, has been that guys like that don’t deserve love. Not that they don’t deserve the love of my awesome friends—that they don’t deserve love, period.

But how far does that theory go? If a fictional bank robber/kidnapper doesn’t deserve love, what about real people? Do murderers deserve love? Rapists? Domestic abusers? Cheaters? Do genocidal dictators deserve love? If you do a terrible thing, should your karmic punishment be the permanent loss of romantic love?

This almost seems like a set-up to a discussion of religion, but my thoughts here aren’t quite so high-minded. Honestly, I’m thinking about myself—someone who has never received romantic love from anyone. Someone who has no firsthand experience with the emotion they sing about in so many songs, that drives the plot of so many of my favorite movies. Someone who, most of the time, tries very hard not to talk too much, in this blog and in real life, about how frustrating my lack of success at dating has been—but someone whose psychic real estate is largely occupied by thoughts on that subject. It’s been getting worse and worse now that I’m twenty-nine and have spent the entirety of my life single and without romantic love. I worry every single day that I will never have the things I want the most—despite trying as hard as I can to meet someone who will help me get those things.

It’s very hard not to wonder what is so wrong with me and to come up with things that are wrong. I am by far the least attractive girl in my group of friends. When I was on vacation in Florida back in August, I had a hard time looking at myself when I was on the beach with three much thinner friends. I’m not getting any younger. And I am, as I’ve mentioned before, not a very nice person, and my success at disguising that fact varies. I’ve always wished I could be one of those people whom EVERYONE likes, but I’ve already failed at that—there are more than a few people who actively dislike me, maybe even hate me, and I have to take responsibility for that. I’m not even sure why I still have any friends at all.

And I guess this has all been a roundabout way to this realization: I’m not always sure that I deserve love. I know nothing productive can come from this way of thinking, but there it is. When trying to find someone has been this discouraging, I find myself thinking—what do I really have to offer a potential boyfriend that no other girl can? With so many awesome single girls out there, why would anyone ever want to be with me? Do I really deserve that kind of love?

Maybe I don’t. But maybe no one does. Because this brings me to my final association with the words “love” and “deserving” –a quote from the young adult novel Driver’s Ed by Caroline B. Cooney. In the book, two teenagers have confessed to stealing a stop sign, which resulted in a fatal accident. At the very end, one of them says to his father that he doesn’t think he deserves love. His father says that he’s right—he doesn’t deserve love:

“That’s the thing about love,” said his father, wrapping a Christmas arm around his son. “Nobody deserves it. Love just is.”

 

I think that might be closer to the truth about love and deserving than anything else.

4 thoughts on “On Love and Deserving

  1. Anonymous

    Hi, I just found your blog from a search on Google. I think I mostly agree with you. While I do think that all humans deserve love, I don't think all humans will experience or receive romantic love. This is one of the reasons why I hate the fact that romantic love is put on this pedestal like it's the ultimate kind of love. I've only had one real romantic relationship back in my early 20s (I'm in my late 20s now), and that guy was such a jerk towards me. I wish I had never been with him. I have also dated, but not much. To put it in perspective, I can count the number of guys I have dated on one hand. And in this past year, I have not dated at all.

    I used to want a boyfriend so badly. But now when I think about it, I realize that I am happier single. And I also feel the same way that you do: I really don't know what would make me a good girlfriend. I genuinely don't know what I have to offer. So, in my head I have accepted that I will most likely be single. And I am happy with that. Society tells us it's bad to be single, but why? I say it's worse to go from heartbreak to heartbreak.

    Having a significant other won't solve all of your problems or make you happy. And I say if you experience ANY type of love (from friends, family, pets, God, and/or anyone else) then you are loved. Romantic love is not the end-all-be-all in life.

    I hope you stay encouraged and I loved the post!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Hi, I just found your blog from a search on Google. I think I mostly agree with you. While I do think that all humans deserve love, I don't think all humans will experience or receive romantic love. This is one of the reasons why I hate the fact that romantic love is put on this pedestal like it's the ultimate kind of love. I've only had one real romantic relationship back in my early 20s (I'm in my late 20s now), and that guy was such a jerk towards me. I wish I had never been with him. I have also dated, but not much. To put it in perspective, I can count the number of guys I have dated on one hand. And in this past year, I have not dated at all.

    I used to want a boyfriend so badly. But now when I think about it, I realize that I am happier single. And I also feel the same way that you do: I really don't know what would make me a good girlfriend. I genuinely don't know what I have to offer. So, in my head I have accepted that I will most likely be single. And I am happy with that. Society tells us it's bad to be single, but why? I say it's worse to go from heartbreak to heartbreak.

    Having a significant other won't solve all of your problems or make you happy. And I say if you experience ANY type of love (from friends, family, pets, God, and/or anyone else) then you are loved. Romantic love is not the end-all-be-all in life.

    I hope you stay encouraged and I loved the post!

    Reply
  3. Christiana Krump

    Kid, a couple of things in response to this post…

    As one of your friends who has fallen for loser jerks over and over, I have to say, I don't think it was a mistake to throw myself out there. Yes, my relationships were painful and sometimes ridiculous. However, by putting myself out there, I learned a lot about myself and both what I want and don't want in a relationship. I also became more understanding of others and why they do what they do. Now, I've been single for over ten years, not getting too deeply involved with anyone, and that's been fine too. There's nothing wrong with being single and going on only first and second dates with people. This has helped me to determine quickly who is right for me and who isn't. Frankly, I'm hard to match up with, so I've dated a lot of guys and none of them are right for me. I've come to believe that when I meet the right person for me, I will be able to determine if there is a possibility of friendship within one date, interest within two, and romance within three dates. (I try to treat dates like I do tv shows. If a show is somewhat interesting, but poorly done I'll give it three chances. Often, by the third episode, it's a fun show. If a guy seems nice and respectful, but the chemistry isn't quite there on the first try, I give him another try. Often chemistry is off because one or both of us is nervous.) I have faith that one day, if I'm meant to find that person, I will. Frankly, it would be a crime for you to not have a significant other as you will make an exceptional girlfriend, wife, and then mother. One of these days, I will convince you of this.

    As to you being one of the least attractive amongst your friends, I'd disagree with you. You are pretty, funny, and smart. Thinness isn't the way to determine attractiveness. Often, the thing that stands out about a person is their comfort in their own skin. You have grown more and more comfortable with yourself over the years. This has only increased your attractiveness and will continue to do so. Think of yourself as Lorelei. Witty, quick, and always busy. Throughout the show she cycles through men and being single until she realises that the person she wants to be with is the person whom she is most comfortable being herself with. You will find that person eventually. Being 29 does not make you old, it makes you old enough to know what you want and to be a woman, not a girl. And that, my friend, is a good thing.

    I know you say you're not a nice person and I know your reasons for it as we've had multiple conversations about the topic. As a result, you know my feelings on this. YOU ARE A NICE PERSON! I know you better than many, so I would like to reiterate that for me, the criteria for being a nice person is not what you think, it is what you do. It is not a crime to be angry at someone. It's not a crime to be bitter about one thing or another. It is a crime to harm another person. You have never done so. You do little things that are kindnesses all the time for your friends and I know this because you did them for me. Why on Earth would you want to be someone that everyone likes? If you're someone that everyone likes, it means you have never offended a single soul. If you've never offended someone, then you haven't stood up or said anything that you believe in. If you never did that, you would be a person who lacks character. You, Kid, are a person who does not lack character and is not a snide backstabber. You are straightforward with things and that is one thing (amongst many) that I love about you. You are someone that other good, kind, funny, goofy, nerdy people love. You should be proud to be you. Once you are, my guess is that everything else will fall into place. You are brilliant. You are loved.

    Reply
  4. Christiana Krump

    Kid, a couple of things in response to this post…

    As one of your friends who has fallen for loser jerks over and over, I have to say, I don't think it was a mistake to throw myself out there. Yes, my relationships were painful and sometimes ridiculous. However, by putting myself out there, I learned a lot about myself and both what I want and don't want in a relationship. I also became more understanding of others and why they do what they do. Now, I've been single for over ten years, not getting too deeply involved with anyone, and that's been fine too. There's nothing wrong with being single and going on only first and second dates with people. This has helped me to determine quickly who is right for me and who isn't. Frankly, I'm hard to match up with, so I've dated a lot of guys and none of them are right for me. I've come to believe that when I meet the right person for me, I will be able to determine if there is a possibility of friendship within one date, interest within two, and romance within three dates. (I try to treat dates like I do tv shows. If a show is somewhat interesting, but poorly done I'll give it three chances. Often, by the third episode, it's a fun show. If a guy seems nice and respectful, but the chemistry isn't quite there on the first try, I give him another try. Often chemistry is off because one or both of us is nervous.) I have faith that one day, if I'm meant to find that person, I will. Frankly, it would be a crime for you to not have a significant other as you will make an exceptional girlfriend, wife, and then mother. One of these days, I will convince you of this.

    As to you being one of the least attractive amongst your friends, I'd disagree with you. You are pretty, funny, and smart. Thinness isn't the way to determine attractiveness. Often, the thing that stands out about a person is their comfort in their own skin. You have grown more and more comfortable with yourself over the years. This has only increased your attractiveness and will continue to do so. Think of yourself as Lorelei. Witty, quick, and always busy. Throughout the show she cycles through men and being single until she realises that the person she wants to be with is the person whom she is most comfortable being herself with. You will find that person eventually. Being 29 does not make you old, it makes you old enough to know what you want and to be a woman, not a girl. And that, my friend, is a good thing.

    I know you say you're not a nice person and I know your reasons for it as we've had multiple conversations about the topic. As a result, you know my feelings on this. YOU ARE A NICE PERSON! I know you better than many, so I would like to reiterate that for me, the criteria for being a nice person is not what you think, it is what you do. It is not a crime to be angry at someone. It's not a crime to be bitter about one thing or another. It is a crime to harm another person. You have never done so. You do little things that are kindnesses all the time for your friends and I know this because you did them for me. Why on Earth would you want to be someone that everyone likes? If you're someone that everyone likes, it means you have never offended a single soul. If you've never offended someone, then you haven't stood up or said anything that you believe in. If you never did that, you would be a person who lacks character. You, Kid, are a person who does not lack character and is not a snide backstabber. You are straightforward with things and that is one thing (amongst many) that I love about you. You are someone that other good, kind, funny, goofy, nerdy people love. You should be proud to be you. Once you are, my guess is that everything else will fall into place. You are brilliant. You are loved.

    Reply

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