Geld oder Liebe? Late-night ramblings on modern love.

It’s not so much ‘money’. Heck, it’s not like I’m a banker or a doctor, right? It’s the endless conundrum. What used to be easy is now hard: Making life decisions as a modern woman. Because we didn’t get to make them before. They were made for us.Geld oder Liebe? – ‘Money or Love’. That was the name of a popular TV show when I was little. I thought it was a very silly premise for a show. I remember being outraged as a girl: As if that was ever a real choice?! Come on, LOVE! Obviously. Everytime.

Are we becoming insensitive and making ourselves miserable because we choose to leave ‘the man’ (insert ‘partner/lover’ whathaveyou here) and comfort to make our own way in the world? Is it just the new nature of the world (globalization, increased freedom of movement, the dysfunction associated with long-distance relationship) that makes us re-evaluate everything so that we’re constantly leaving, running to/from…?

 Men too go through this, I know, I am sure… but this, I don’t feel, is new. Of women and of men -both nowadays- is expected: fierce ambition, worry about financial security, passion in our individual pursuits.

I read an article that said the advancement of gay marriage rights could benefit straight women in marriage. It makes us question all the old, traditional models of what constitutes a successful marriage. And this is a good thing. The old patriarchial ideals of men making decisions for their wives and controlling finances, location, and infrastructure that define familial life are crumbling. Hurray to that! Right?! If gender inequality within the family hadn’t changed at all we would still be voiceless, choiceless. But…we would not be put in other tough positions either. It’s the old chestnut, right? What will we choose: ‘Money or love’?

Are we making ourselves miserable by being almost aggressively independent, putting up the front of being strong, even when we are struggling?

 By declaring that if we pay our own bills and follow our dreams, we are fulfilling the ultimate dream of modern womanhood? To me that sounds way too much like a Destiny Child’s song. The choice is ours. But who hasn’t suffered by having too many choices?

 It’s the privilege of those of well-off backgrounds that experience that agony of choice. If you are born a girl into poverty in a very traditional patriarchal society, you can only dream of having any choice at all.

 That is where the real sadness lies. That we are used to analyzing our own heads, behavioural patterns, comparing ourselves constantly to real or imagined role models of a generation that really hasn’t moved on from the 1980s: Generation ME!

The thought of us as ‘completely independent entities – with strings constantly tested for fragility- even from those partners that support our choices unconditionally’ is -though now to me painful-something I guess I’ve (forced myself to?) internalise.

 Unless one is a sociopath, Love is a most basic desire. So why are we putting up roadblocks around us to form a one-way path? And constantly think: Did I try hard enough? Did I fuck it up? Was my independence worth it?

Some days you’re strong enough to pat yourself on the back for your self-reliance and the guts to move halfway across the world from where it was so much more comfortable and where the promise of love, for-ever, lived. Other days, you start thinking of yourself as a puppet, made of wood, the strings pulled by your own belief of what you should be…

“You should be tough, you should be fiercely independent, you should try to do the best thing for your career, you should focus on yourself, you should experience more alternatives!”

…And then…that love, after all, is all that matters.

So tomorrow, pull up your socks, brush your hair out of your face and live with that choice you made. The Agony of choice is no longer. The agony, now, lies in adapting to the choices you have made.

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