The problem with "love the one you're with"

There's a Crosby, Stills & Nash song that I really hate, called "Love the One You're With." You know it. It's that crooning rock classic that people who haven't gotten over the 70s sing at karaoke night: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." To this depressing message that I've heard over and over again, I have responded with many an eye roll. While some see it as a song of hope, I see it as a song of desperation.

The gist of the song is this: So you're all alone because your beloved is in some far off land. Stephen Stills (no sourced authority on love) is telling you to look around and find some other pathetic person with which to be lonely. (Note: two lonely people together doesn't cancel out loneliness.) In essence, if you can't be with your beloved, settle on the stalker that had a crush on you in high school.

The whole thing gives me the heebies. Why should I (or anyone) settle on that creeper? Well okay, this person might not be a creeper, but I'm just trying to make a point here. My point is that I'd like to make an amendment to the lyrics.

If you can't be with the one you love, find some way to get there.

My logic stems from this. Love is something that cannot be faked. The one you're with might be nice and all, but can you really love this person? Love prompted by loneliness is not even really love at all, it's more like companionship. That means, you'll be lying to yourself. And please, please, I urge you: Don't let the couples around you or your Valentine's Day playlist trick you into thinking that you're in love. It's crueler to trick "the one you're with" (and yourself) into thinking that you're in love with them, than to be honest with yourself.

The ones we love may not be with us for a variety of reasons. Maybe they're thousands of miles away; maybe they're estranged; maybe we don't even know them yet. But we can't settle. Take a risk and go to the one you love, no matter how far away they are. It's better than lying to the one you're with.

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