Love + Relationships

Not Having Experienced Romantic Love byYour Early 20s

I am twenty-two and I have never experienced romantic love.

“Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?” this quote from the movie Before Sunrise (1995) reminds me of how we as humans seek love in everything we do. We seek warmth, recognition and understanding in all of our gestures. Whether in cooking a meal for someone, or remembering someone’s Subway order, there’s a hint of love even when you’re mad at someone. Our childhood is shaped by the love our family and parents give us, and our teenage years are dominated by the platonic love that our friends surround us with (or don’t), and by the time we reach the frontiers of young adulthood, there seems to be a collective urge to find romantic love. If we think meticulously, love dominates the majority of our spheres of life, specifically romantic love.

I am twenty-two and I have never experienced romantic love. It wasn’t something which bothered me too much up until I was 18. I found myself all grown up with and surrounded by a splendid bunch of friends who surpassed all standards that any romantic partner may aspire to, through their gestures towards me. But, no matter what is said and done, platonic love and romantic cannot take the place of one another. Oftentimes, I am told to focus on giving the love I have in me to myself, instead of waiting around for another human to do that for me. However, I feel that as hyped as romantic love may seem, it is irreplaceable for me. The kind of comfort it would bring, cannot be compared to platonic or self-love and vice versa; all of them are equally meaningful but in their own respective ways. Being an individual with the personality of a giver and a hopeless romantic, not having ever experienced romantic love at my age, is not fun and believe you me when I say this. I constantly yearn for a connection like that, even more so when I see other people around me who have it. I am someone who desires an organic connection, so meeting people through platforms like dating apps does not feel real. Additionally my analogy about all of this isn’t layered with a strategy – if it comes along then I will take it as it is, is more of what I believe in.

However, after a certain point in time, romantic love feels more like a need than a want, I suppose, which is exactly where I am at, and yet nowhere near it. The lack of it has caused much turmoil within me but it has also taught me more about who I am as a person, and it has led me to figure out and understand the little things that I enjoy about life. It has helped me discover the passions that I like to pursue, it has taught me to be comfortable with sitting alone in my room and still not feel lonely. When I say all of this, it might seem like I am trying to replace romance with the notion of self-love, rather, what I intend to indicate is that as much as we as humans desire to be loved, seen, understood and recognised by another human being, as much as we may derive meaning from the idea of romantic love, it perhaps, does not come along, and it may never come along, so instead of awaiting it like a hopeless romantic fool, I have ended up teaching myself to seek pleasure in my own company. Sounds horribly depressing right? It does feel awful on some days, but in the fullness of time, I believe, it is only yourself that remains with you, to seek company from. Ofcourse, it is rather exhausting and dreadful to do that when the entire universe is comprised of grand gestures of romantic love in a manner where all forms of love seem to fall short. On top of that, being a hardcore Hindi cinema fan, I have umpteen fantasies and dreams about falling in love, but it has always been one-sided (Oops, did not mean to overshare!)

In the end, I’d just like to urge whoever reads this article to stop waiting around for love and stop putting yourself through inorganic relationships just for the high of it, because if at all it would do anything, that would be ruining the essence of how pure the emotion of romantic love can be. Instead, maybe just go make yourself a cup of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, put on your favourite pyjamas and watch some dull-witted rom-com, you never know when one of those plotlines ends up unfolding in real life!

Ah, there comes in my hopeless romantic self, yet again!

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Gayatri is a twenty two year old passionate musician, she loves the winter, coffee and the moon, enthusiastic about travelling the world she wishes to make her own the kindest that anyone lands into. You’ll mostly find her watching films, she occasionally likes to express herself by creating videos for her youtube channel as an escape from reality.

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