We were talking at work yesterday and somehow, the topic got to backpackers in Australia. I mentioned that this is not only for young adults taking a year to themselves and travel, but that this was the lifestyle of many Australians: modern nomads who can fit all of their belongings into a backpack, who traveled from one farm to the other and basically worked for food and lodging plus some money to pay for some necessities or small luxuries. I told them about a guy we once met through a common friend, who lived this lifestyle. Dave was a very nice, mid- to end-30s giant with a low voice and an impressive black beard. And how did this Australian nomad end up in Germany? He had met a Swiss lady, who was backpacking through Australia for a year. And at the end of her year, she asked him to go to Switzerland with her; being the guy he is, he packed his belongings and went with her. You may guess that this relationship didn’t last, as his girlfriend kept urging him to finally grow up and accept “real life”. Their ways parted and Dave went to Poland for a while, where his ancestors are from, working on farms to make a living, and finally stopped by our friend before returning to Australia.
My colleague’s comment on the story: well,
obviously he didn’t love her enough to change for her.
But is that love? To change in order to please someone else? To be very
possibly miserable to make someone else happy? To give up one’s very self
to be someone else? I don't think so. Shouldn't we rather ask: why didn't she love him for who he was?
In my opinion, love is about respect, acceptance, and tolerance. How could I truly love a man who is just lovable after he changed to meet my standards? If anything, Richard and I had a whirlwind relationship, getting married less than five months after meeting each other. This is no time to really get to know each other, but it was plenty of time for us to know that we belong together. He was the man I was meant to be with. Over the time, there were little things about him that irked me, as there were things in me that he wasn't all to fond of. But we never ever tried to change the other person; naturally, we adapted to be part of a couply instead of two individuals, but none of us gave up who we are. And neither would or should we.