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So, what choice do we have? We realize how unhappy romantic love is, but what else is there? All of us have experienced the way the bubble pops in romantic relationships, and the ensuing disappointment and disillusionment. We say we have fallen out of love. We begin to feel the pointlessness of the fantasy and we see the lover as a stranger or even an enemy. We feel so lonely and hurt.
But disappointment is simply the flip side of romantic love. In both cases we are so totally wrapped up with our own fantasy that we never really see the other person. We don't see the person we're in love with; we don't see the person we're breaking up with. Both situations are impersonal. Marge Piercy describes it this way in her poem, "Simple-song":
When we are going toward someone we say
you are just like me
your thoughts are my brothers
word matches word
how easy to be together.
When we are leaving someone we say
how strange you are
we cannot communicate
we can never agree
how hard, hard and weary to be together.
We are not different or alike
but each strange in his leather body
sealed in skin and reaching out clumsy hands
and loving is an act
that cannot outlive
the open hand
the open eye
the door in the chest standing open.
Disappointment is the more fruitful side of the coin because it occurs when our ambition and fantasy about the relationship become bankrupt. Disappointment could be the beginning of a true relationship. There is a kind of loss of innocence in disappointment, which can lead to the appreciation of the lover for who he is—beyond fantasy.