You’re Too Young to Know What Love is

Today I received a request for advice from a young woman in love in America. She told me of her beloved; a young man several years her junior. She loves him very much, but is being told by her mother and a friend who is trying to get her to cheat on the boyfriend,  that she shouldn’t wait for this man while he goes abroad on  assignment for his work. This is because the mother and the friend feel the young woman is too young. She is nineteen, and he is eighteen.  Another apparent mitigating factor in  her detractors’ opinions, is the young man’s stature. It is significantly less than hers, in their opinion, but causes the her no unhappiness.

She recently gave me permission to post her letter:

Questioner:   Meg
Country: United States
Category: How to Know if You`re Really in Love
Private: No
Subject: I don’t want anyone else
Question: QUESTION: Hey Carl,So here is my dilemma. I am honestly in love with a guy that is one year my junior and 4 inches shorter than me. Ha-ha! But height doesn’t matter!

Part of the problem is my parents and roommate. They don’t approve of my relationship with him. I’m 19 and not about to get married anytime soon, especially because I am LDS and want my guy to serve his mission. But I know in my heart that I could wait for him and be completely happy with him when he gets back.

My parents keep telling me otherwise, though. They say that I’m too young to know what love is and that I haven’t had enough experience.

My roommate is also making my life complicated, because she keeps trying to get me to cheat on him.

The second part of the problem is I am his first serious girlfriend and I know he loves me but I don’t want there to be any doubt or worry in his mind if we do decide down the road, to marry. What I mean is, I don’t want him to wonder if I’m the right one from lack of experience.

Sorry. I apologize for not having gotten right to the point. I just wanted to share a little background. What I’m really asking is, how do I get everyone around me to lay off and how do I make sure that he loves me without having to let him go?

Here is how I answered her:

Hi, Meg,

Love, Peace, and Joy to You! Thank you for writing!

You are a good soul, but the problem is, good souls, like “great spirits”, as Einstein said, “often encounter resistance from mediocre minds”.

Now, I am not saying your friends and family have mediocre minds. Or, am I? You see, when we are “growing in love”, as Dr. Leo Buscaglia said, and we are mature enough to back it up with the practice of the art of love [which I sense in you]). When we are in love, we are armed with extra-strength power: We are more alive, more aware, more inspired, more driven, more creative, and more honorable. So even if your father were Kahlil Gibran and you were in love and he wasn’t (would that be possible, considering the man he was?), his mind, or spirit, would be duller, or mediocre in contrast to yours.

Your mother and room-mate may mean will, but they need an attitude adjustment: Your mother is accidentally robbing you of your greatest opportunity for the growth and the experience she complains that you do not have, by trying to live for you, and make decisions for you…in the greatest arena of learning known to the human species: the world of love.

Your room-mate is just plain disrespecting you, albeit accidentally, perhaps.

In the beginning, love is a feeling, like a handful of seeds, but when people block it, it doesn’t get a chance to bloom into a beautiful tree of flowers (or conditions and practice) that it is meant to become, finally being realized as a work of art in appearance, and an art form in the practice and the making.

You are already aware of the rules and practices necessary for making a work of art in love; you want to be faithful, you don’t want to hurt your beloved, you want to maintain the integrity of love, and you want to follow your heart in this pursuit of fostering growth (not regret and doubt). Stay the course. You are an angel in training. The surest way to become a devil is to listen to others about matters involving YOUR heart.

There is no such thing as being too young to know what love is, but there IS such a thing as not having been taught, and since the mature, modern, undamaged version of love is hard to come by in capitalist society, most, if not all of us are rarely taught how to create it and build it beyond a feeling. And the best place to find love’s building blocks, is in the heart, not in the heads of others. The heart is wherefrom the divine speaks. The head is wherefrom man speaks. This is ego.

Just so your mother doesn’t focus on me with some pronouncement like, ‘Who is this Carl Atteniese person anyway?’, read some of the books I recommend on the intro page, especially Dr. Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, and Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh’s True Love, as well as the poet, Kahlil Gibran’s The Beloved!

Follow your heart, Friend; not someone else’s head!

And remember, you had your answer at the start: I don’t want anyone else.”

To get everyone to understand, just say lovingly, with a clear, peaceful mind (prepare, if you have to-with pryer, meditation, and rehearsal) that you love these people close to you for their concern, but that you have decided as an adult to stay in this relationship, and while the loving care and welcomed advice these people can offer in the future is appreciated when asked for, you don’t want their resistance any more.

Say it firmly, and succinctly that the issue is not up for debate any longer. Then thank them for listening and offer hugs and then go do something fun with them. I recommend no alcohol be present, or other consciousness-altering elements, and if possible, be out in a park, restaurant, or coffee shop, where everyone will have to behave. ^^

Let me know what you think, and what happens.

Love, Peace, and Joy,

Carlo Atteniese

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