Love or Logic?

There is a popular Shona saying which says, “Chinonzi rega ndechiri muruoko kwete chiri mumoyo”. This means it is easier to let go of that which is in your hand compared to that which is in the heart. Most would agree that a person in love is stubborn and hard to advise. Once we are attracted or attached to someone, they take a special place in our hearts. The heart, as small as it is, makes us act out of character, out of logic and sometimes it causes us to become a completely new person.  We are often caught in a predicament when we must choose between how we feel and logic, between being morally correct and being happy.

Generally, most people have a list of relationship preferences and expectations, including deal breakers. Well at least until they meet that one person who will cause them to re-think everything and be willing to reach a compromise.  At times feelings towards someone can make us throw all logic out the window and the lists become obsolete. We can blame the feel good, cuddle and love hormones for this.

There is a scientific explanation that suggests that when we are in love, the parts of our brain which produce negative feelings or judgment towards our partners are deactivated or suppressed. This explains how we can give the perfect relationship advice to those around us and are quick to point out red flags and even suggest that they should end things but can’t prescribe the same for our own situations.

Several hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and norepinephrine are released when we are attracted to someone, touch with our partners, are intimate or spend time with someone we love. These hormones are responsible for making us feel pleasure, get butterflies in our stomachs, feel happy and give us an adrenaline rush. When we are with the people that we are attracted to, we feel good and naturally want to repeat the process so that we continually experience the dopamine effect.

Occasionally we meet someone who loves us beyond our expectation and imagination causing us to re – think our values and the standards we have set for ourselves or those set by society. A lot of people set relationship standards such as intimacy, trust, communication, and compatibility. Chief among these is being in an exclusive relationship. However, at times one finds themselves being attracted to someone who is already attached elsewhere, and against all logic and morality, they hold on. Nevertheless, when one decides to take this route, they are bound to be constantly in a dilemma about what they want, their values, what makes them happy, and what is morally correct.

On the other hand, this might come at a physical, and emotional cost to the parties involved as they now must adjust to the new normal. Having been brought up in a society that encourages monogamy, those in polygamous relationships are constantly faced with logic, heart and moral wars. Those in inclusive relationships find themselves having to settle for being someone’s second choice rather than being a priority which can bruise one’s self-esteem. Feelings of insufficiency, jelousy and competition creep in as well. In some cases, one has to settle to being someone’s secret and choose to stay in the relationship because they are getting mental, physical, or emotional satisfaction.

But why do people choose to settle?

Is it because we are scared to be on our own? I firmly believe that we were never meant to do life on our own. Consequently, people end up getting into toxic relationships or situationships because they are scared to be on their own and because they want to satisfy the need to be loved and belong. However, at the end of the day, one should be able to ask themselves if they are willing to sacrifice their peace, and sanity for companionship.

Is it because we are scared to start again? After being hurt or going through a nasty break up some people make it their life’s mission to make the next relationship work against all odds. At times, people allude that they are too old or tired to try again or that they would rather direct all their efforts to make their present relationship work (though it might not be fulfilling or satisfying and keeps them up at night) than ending things and starting afresh. Some say, “Well, l am too old to be doing the whole getting to know someone thing so l would rather stick to what l know.” Some stay in marriages because of religious reasons, kids or family, fear of being cast out by the community and it just seems better to carry on suffocating and please people than start afresh. It could also be that a lot of people fear the unknown and would rather stay with the devil they know. The fact is that relationships and marriage are not as easy as we might think, there are a lot of factors to be considered before one decides to stay or walk away and start afresh.

Is it because certain beliefs have been shoved down our throats by society yet in essence or in the long run, we figure out that it is not really what we believe in? Or is it because sometimes we realise that someone meets a certain need we have, and we end up willing to compromise everything else or settle just to be with them.

Is it because some relationships seem to make us act out of character and it scares the life out of us? It is possible to meet someone who will make you doubt everything that you have ever believed in. Someone who will make you view the world in a whole new light and with endless possibilities. The challenge comes when we lose ourselves in the process, for example when one stops believing in God or they cannot pray because they feel guilty about the relationship they are in.

My friends and l always joke about how people will tell you to stop seeing someone because they do not seem right for you, but deep down you want to scream, “Y’all don’t know what person does to me, for me and how they make me feel!” It is possible that one day you will meet someone who challenges everything that you have ever believed in and you fall in love with them. It might not be logical yet giving you inexpressible fulfillment or what might seem logical or fit the status quo might not be ideal for you. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to love. The most important thing is to choose you, choose what makes you happy, what gives you peace and a clear conscience. Sometimes you use logic to decide whether to leave or stay and soldier on, sometimes you follow your heart and find your happy ever after!

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