Love: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Frank Underwood from House of Cards once said to his wife, “how could you be so stupid… to fall in love?”

It isn’t the first time that love is associated with stupidity. I have read quite a few novels and watched a number of movies depicting images of people being in love and somehow losing the ability to think logically. More often than not, the image will portray a woman accused of being foolishly and blindly in love with her man and not the other way around (hello patriarchy). You may have once stumbled upon a story-line telling about young woman with a successful career, blessed with a pretty face, and a perfectly curved body yet when it comes to men, God knows why she always makes the wrong choice. Most of the time, it involves the man cheating on her and due to some reasons, she finds it difficult to let go. I have summed up some common reasons on why unhappy couples do not break up:

“It’s been three years… I can’t just break up like that.”

“I know I could change him and he will change for me.”

“I’m so close with his family and so is he to mine. What would they say?”

“He’s actually a nice guy, this is just one mistake…”

“What if I can’t find another one like him?”

“I love him so much, despite everything.”

There have been several cases where my friends came up to me, spent hours telling me about how toxic her boyfriend was, how hopeless the relationship was, only to eventually say, “but I can’t just break up like that, you know.” Is this what they call a toxic relationship? But, what is a toxic relationship, ‘tho? To what extent can we call it ‘toxic’? While the definition will vary to each person, I guess there is one important keyword: the collateral damage.

© Asiila Kamilia — Viet Nam, 2020

A relationship will cost you many things. It demands you to spend a certain amount of money, it’s time-consuming, there will be some boundaries and limitations, some fights may cause a few breakdowns, sometimes you have to choose between your partner over your family, career, passion, or your best friends. But you will also get something back in return, like a life companion for you to wake up with everyday. Someone to share the heavy burden with whenever life gets hard. Your biggest supporter. The one you can laugh about everything with. Someone to engage in a heated discussion with. Your 3 AM pillow talk. The one to grow old with, turning into a happy and wise granny.

But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It can get ugly. Man, it *will* get ugly. Some fights will force you to increase your Valium dosage. Some cries will drown you. Some affairs will lead you to the exit door. In an extreme case, you will end up finding yourself consulting to a psychologist, asking the doctor on how to move on and let go of a traumatic and toxic relationship. Yeah, these ugly things do actually happen. Maybe it’s because your partner is physically abusive, or mentally drains you by being utterly possessive, or simply changing to a different person and is not capable of being a good partner anymore. When you realize that your partner is too controlling, gets jealous over nonsense things, seeks for comfort in another arm, when the relationship has come to a dead end, and when the collateral damage is too damn high, maybe it’s time to reevaluate everything and ask the big question: is it still worth fighting for?

Speaking for myself, I don’t give up too easily on people I love and value dearly. I have been in that position where I couldn’t be the one to walk away, no matter how toxic the relationship was. I’ve had enough of people telling me that I was such a fool for staying in a relationship despite being let down for endless times. I was the one who had high hopes that my presence could change him to a better person, that I could help him in being the person he was supposed to be. I thought what we had was different. I was the one who said, “I thought I could change him.” I was the goddamn cliché.

The collateral damage was beyond control I was starting to lose my mind. At that point, love was indeed a powerful weapon of massive destruction in my life. I banged my head against the wall, cried myself to sleep, covered my face with pillow so I could scream without being heard, extremely losing an appetite to eat, distanced myself from a certain people due to his jealousy, and found myself crying in painful silence after finding out that the one that I trusted with all my life sought comfort in another arm. The suffering phase didn’t stop there as the episode continued to the break-up. It was one hell of a drama. I was crying the whole night and screaming out in intense pain… literally. This whole thing brought me to a realization that whatever makes you totally sad must have once made you the happiest. And it is true. However cliché this might sound, it is true what they say that you must have known what real sadness feels like to understand how it feels to be genuinely happy. But my question was, did it have to be this way?

I don’t regret ever holding on to something that felt like hugging a giant cactus. I have a rather strong core value: that I will not leave and I will not leave until I have nothing left to fight for, however unfavorable the situation is. If I ever happen to be the one who walks away, at least I know that I have fought my battle and God knows I’ve tried.

A wise friend of mine once said that for him, the key to a healthy relationship is the ability to shape both people in becoming the very best version of themselves. And the shaping process won’t be easy. It will hurt you, exhaust you, or even suffocate you but if at the end of the day you are a much better person than you were before, then perhaps it’s worth keeping.

Now you know the collateral damage that love may cause. One time you can be the happiest, next time you find yourself crying to sleep. You know that love has the ability to destroy major aspects in your life, hence being called as the weapon of mass destruction. Love, like every aspects in life, often comes with a cost; something we’re all familiar with the term “sacrifice”. The cost we deliberately and willingly make for the sake of love. So no matter how crazy the damage is, how painful the loss is, how big the risk is,

“Never tell a soldier that he doesn’t know the cost of war.”

If love is a weapon of mass destruction, maybe we are the soldiers trying to fight the battle and win the war. If love is a weapon of mass destruction, perhaps we need to choose our battles as what Sun Tzu said, “he will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”

And if love is a weapon of mass destruction, how far would you go?

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Ode to every remnant of what once was.

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Aksara Laut

Aksara Laut

Ode to every remnant of what once was.

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