Mystery of love might best be left a secret

From time to time in this column space, I try to write about things the average NIU student can relate to. Believe me, that incredibly narrows the range of topics, but I try nonetheless. Today’s subject is relationships.

My roommate and his girlfriend just reached their two-year anniversary, and they still seem blissfully attached. However, there are countless couples who are completely miserable but stay together anyway.

Why does this happen so frequently? After all, humans generally try to avoid pain at all cost. Still, there are women who stay together with men who have all sorts of problems, ranging the gamut from being completely insensitive or being unfaithful to being an alcoholic, mentally and verbally abusing their girlfriend or even worse, physically abusing and date raping their mates.

On the flip side, there are also men who stay together with women who are just holy terrors—cheating on their partner faster than you can spell infidelity, being selfish or in love with the mirror or copping a bigger attitude than Joan Collins on “Dynasty.”

While it would seem illogical for either a man or woman to put up with such abuse, there is one fear which overrides the natural human response of fleeing from pain—the fear of dying alone, the most basic human fear. Despite the anxiety this can cause, it is probably a good thing humans have developed this fear during the course of our evolution. After all, if humans didn’t care about dying alone, the species would not reproduce and thus would become extinct.

This fact sheds some light on why people stay in bad relationships. As someone involved in a hellish relationship pointed out to me earlier this year, it’s a lot easier to deal with baggage you’re already familiar with than to go through the trouble of finding someone new (and then go through the whole miserable process again). In other words, it’s better to stay with what you got, no matter how horrible it is, than to take that leap of faith into the unknown (and be alone).

Anyone who is single knows what a horrible thing the whole single-and-looking game is. Finding out the emotional baggage of someone new just plain sucks. What if you spend the time feeling out the other person and decide it’s just a no-go after a couple of months? Your time has been wasted, right?

A couple of months is an accurate number, too. The first two months are the most blissful, with everyone on their best behavior. However, the third month often seems to be the breaking point of any relationship. The honeymoon is over, you start to get to see the real person you are involved with and things aren’t as rosy anymore. This is the make-or-break period. The couple either decides to stay together and deal with each other’s baggage or breaks up leaving both members open for the entire vicious cycle once more. Some couples decide to stay together for security purposes rather than be subjected to that hell.

Closing thought and the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night: What if you find a person who you fall in love with, but love really doesn’t exist? After all, love cannot be defined. It can’t be quantified. What if love is simply an emotional pacifier constructed to placate our fear of dying alone? Boy, would that be a bummer.