Is There Ever a Time to Deny Love?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.


“What does love mean if we would deny it to others?”

― DaShanne Stokes

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I’d probably said those words to Jeff more times than Googolplex. He’d told me that his soul belonged to her and that was how much he loved her. Though I wasn’t necessarily hitting on the depth of his love for the woman who wasn’t his wife — I knew how much he was suffering. Rather, I couldn’t fathom how he could deny such a love-connection.

He palmed his hair and shrugged. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

“What? Deny real love?”

The look on his face was enough to wrench my heart clean from my chest. Glycerine by Bush filled in the silence. He’d often ask why I loved deep music. I told him it was because it stirred my soul in ways I couldn’t always articulate.

“I’ll never forget where you’re at.”

His soul was stirring like a brewing storm and it had nothing to do with the music.

“It’s not right…” He looked away. “Besides, I pushed her away so far that she would never want me, anyway.”

“You don’t know that.”

We’d stolen a few moments away from the others, escaping to my front porch, rocking on a swinging garden chair. A balmy evening, sipping on beer and chilling with friends. The cicadas whistled a song of their own.

What do you say to someone whose heart bleeds for love denied?

I’m not sure. But I’m a woman who believes that the heart can’t lie. Doesn’t matter what kind of logic we try to feed ourselves about it or how much we live a lie in order to cover the deep truths buried in our hearts — your heart will always lead you toward real love and your soul will always seek to find deeper meaning through stronger connections.

Maybe it is meant to be that way. Maybe we are supposed to experience love in different forms and with different people, and that “till death do us part” isn’t always in tune with human evolvement, spiritual advancement and personal growth.

Then again, Jeff seems to think that denying himself the love of his life is the right thing to do. But for who exactly?

It’s a pretty sticky situation, but I doubt that his wife and kids will get the best of him now that his soul has found another who feels true to him.

I’ve seen what happens when real love is denied for the sake of … hmm … let’s see — Marriage. Children. Combined assets and familial expectations. Contrasting beliefs and safe comfort zones.

Name one or all of the above. Makes no difference.

What’s in the heart is in the heart and no matter the circumstances, once love has ignited, it isn’t as easy as “blowing out” a flame or sticking your head in the sand to make it all go away.

I wish it were for Jeff’s sake and the woman who lives on the opposite side of the planet who had stolen his heart. She was hurting, too. They were never “together” in the physical sense, but I’d never witnessed a connection so strong; so resilient and pure. It was as if whatever was between them had a soul of its own, entwining them together on the higher planes and creating invisible love-patterns.

Something like that, anyway.

Jeff was in all kinds of torment. None of which he could speak of openly, let alone release himself from the pain that had become a constant in his life. It had been two years since he’d spoken to her.

Two years of silent hell.

“I have no choice,” said Jeff. “I love her but can’t afford to go there…”

I’m calling out BS on that one. Sorry, Jeff. We always have a choice.

Always.

The thing is that when we encounter something like this in our lives, our minds become so clouded with the “what if’s” — we are plagued with so many questions and fears that we wind up feeling blind and confused.

It is common for many of us to develop anxiety and lose sleep over decisions with such high stakes.

Jeff’s choice to deny his feelings afforded him something alright, and it was far from the happiness that could have been his had he chosen to have faith and trust in real love — had he taken the rare gift offered by the universe and followed his heart.

Now, I see a man who has been “killed alive” living a mediocre life between bouts of happiness burrowed from time with his kids, creative passions and his work. He loves his wife, but deep down, he knows that that love can’t begin to scratch the surface of the love between him and his surprise-lady.

I can only imagine what she had endured.

Denying Love

Jeff isn’t the same person as he was before meeting her. He used to be more upbeat and at ease with himself and his lot in life. He used to be happy.

This is what can happen when you deny love:

  • Pain and depression
  • Repeated attempts to rationalize your feelings
  • Obsessing about said feelings
  • Constantly looking for hints, clues and generally overthinking simple acts (which drives you crazy)
  • Frustration towards yourself for having the unwanted feelings
  • Resentment directed at the universe for revealing the most amazing person who feels unreachable
  • Resentment directed at your beloved for simply showing up and thus, throwing an unexpected spanner in the works
  • Stressing over whether the feelings are reciprocated or not
  • Sleepless nights further overthinking the relationship
  • Dark nights of the soul where you wish for nothing but the end
  • Feelings of hopelessness about the situation and a future that now appears more ordinary than ever before

I was talking to another friend about love-denial, who is much wiser than myself. He knows stuff about sacred unions, energy and how people are generally wired to think in the world. He has had much life experience and is usually spot on with his observations.

“Can someone really do that?” I asked while pondering Jeff and his woman, who I knew shared real love yet remained unconnected. “Can someone really choose to spend the rest of their life denying real love?”

“Yes, people do it all the time.”

I don’t know about you, but the thought makes me sad.

It’s because I tend to feel as if a love-connection like the one I have witnessed Jeff experiencing shows up to create deeper love and connection in the world. For a reason; like a higher purpose beyond what we, as mere mortals, can truly understand or even appreciate.

Some types of love are too powerful not to be.

Moreover, I know from my own experiences that nothing worthwhile ever comes without taking a leap of faith, nor does it seldom present itself in life without obstacles to overcome.

That’s the test of real love — it requires more than just the average investment or one foot in and the other out. It demands honor, respect and a side of sacrifice between the two hearts in order to beat as one and create a deep connection.

As it is, it looks as if Jeff will spend the rest of his life fighting the feelings that he could never bring himself to fully realize, and I can’t think of anything more tragic when it comes to love.

“Don’t let the days go by.”

I imagine him at the end of his life and looking back at what he lost — the chance to experience the greater love that he allowed to slip through his hands.

I mourn for this vision and the life he could have known.

For anyone else experiencing a similar situation — That is, denying love, the best solution is to:

  • Identify the reason for the denial of feelings
  • Accept the feelings
  • Know that being true to yourself is key to living an authentic life
  • Take responsibility
  • Recognize that it’s okay to have feelings
  • Decide whether to reveal or let them go
  • Respect yourself, the person with whom you have said feelings for, and all others involved
  • Realize that real love is rare and life is not forever

“If I found a soul-connection as deep as the one you have discovered in her, I’d hold onto that and give it my all. It’s just too rare to pass up.”

I had to bite back the tears when Jeff’s face became stoic at hearing those words.

He is a much stronger person than me; he can go on and pretend that he never had a taste offered in the form of precious soul love. He can make out that love meant nothing. And considering his ability to deny real love, it probably never will.

Though, I can’t help but wonder which path demands more strength and backbone — denying real love or accepting your feelings and going for the extraordinary?

Taking a leap of faith in this fleeting life.

In the opening quote, DaShanne Stokes asks — “What does love mean if we would deny it to others?”

I think we just answered that question.


Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.



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