“If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.”
– W.H. Auden
My “momentary stay against confusion” happened on Valentine’s Day, when Dr. Gharabegian gave us W.H. Auden’s “The More Loving One” and went over Carson McCullers’ excerpt on the lover and the beloved. We only briefly touched on the two pieces, but when we got to the subject of mutuality, these two lines hit me – as they say – like a ton of bricks. For those of us unfortunate to have experienced being the lover in a relationship and not the beloved, these two lines will strike a chord. Being the beloved is peachy: the other person will do anything and everything to keep you. For Auden to articulate, so succinctly, that if mutual love cannot be possible, that he willingly be the more loving one? It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. For those of you who don’t know, I’m in the middle of a pretty brutal breakup in which I’m the beloved, and my soon-to-be-ex is the lover. But I’ve also been the lover in the past, and know how much pain one is willing to endure for that love. So, thanks Mr. Auden, for helping me realize that no two people love in the same way, and that knowing that, makes navigating these rough waters all the easier.