I had a wine infused conversation with my older brother the other day following his recent break up with a girlfriend.  It’s not often I have confidence in whatever it is I say about love (perhaps it was the wine) because as you have most probably gathered by reading my posts, I don’t have a bloody clue. But this time, I felt like I may have hit the nail on the head a little, perhaps at a slightly dodgy angle - but what I said made sense to myself and my dear brother.  In fact it must have made sense to him as he later went on to relay my theory to my best friend.  Cheeky little so and so stealing my wine infused, slightly inaccurate theories about love.

In the months that my brother and his now ex were together, I observed him spend most of his time with someone that didn’t make him very happy, who didn’t give him the love he deserved. Whenever I asked if everything was going well, his two syllable responses consisting of ‘yeah, fine!,’ ‘not bad,’ and ‘all good,’ made me feel a maternal weariness that something wasn’t quite right. For a couple who should have been in that silly period deemed ‘honeymoon,’ (a silly term really, as that’s a little holiday people take post marriage,) it was more as though they had been married for fifty years and became so used to one another's company that they had forgotten how to talk to each other.

They were opposites. My brother loves going out with his friends, adores both his friends and family and will do anything for them, enjoys his own space and leads a pretty non-judgmental and somewhat spiritually enhanced life. She preferred to stay in, didn’t have a very loving relationship with her parents or siblings, wasn’t really into socialising that much and hated sleeping alone.
Now, they say opposites attract, but they also say those that are similar and share the same interests make a successful relationship. They talk about love at first site, but they also say love can develop by spending a lot of time with someone. They say they turn up when you least expect it, but they also say if you want something so much you will get it. So no wonder our views on love are a little fucked up and all over the place I mean geez!
My brother couldn’t do it any more, he has so much love to give but it was being given to someone who didn’t know how to receive or reciprocate it. The break up was fairly mutual -  I think she mainly just liked the male companionship and was one of those ‘I don't want to be aloners’ I so meticulously labelled in a previous blog post.
Both my brothers and I are very similar in the fact that we got for those we shouldn't. The worst thing is, is that we go for people we know we shouldn't. We ignore the warning signs and the red flags, and rely on the paradoxical and contradictory theories about love and meeting ‘the one’ to see us through. Shame on us Branches! My older brother goes for the somewhat judgemental, slightly snooty, materialistic girls that draw him in with their long hair and prettiness, maybe even their control over him. My younger brother pines after the straight men he develops strong bonds with, some of them have even confused his lovely mind by crossing the boundaries of a platonic relationship, only to leave him feeling a bit shit. As he doesn’t possess or have interest in any campness or flamboyance, his type is the ‘straight man,’ and as you can imagine, he hasn’t quite found his match yet.

I love my brothers more than I can say, they are my heros and my best friends. We can talk to each other about absolutely everything, we have grown up gracefully together, always hanging out in the same friendship groups, even working for the same companies. We recently all moved to Bristol together and are each other's mentors in living our lives to the full. As everyone in this life has, we have had some god awful times in the past, but we have stuck by one another and have witnessed each other's strength, persona and happiness develop over the years.
My sister too, an amazing inspiration who has remained with the love of her life since she was sixteen. My sister and her partner (the funniest man I know) have created the most witty and intelligent being I have ever met. I can guarantee an unbiased stance here, as despite being my nephew, my beautiful nephew, his persona and energy is like no other little boys. He knew the meaning of eternity at four years old (‘a very very very very long time,’) and his beautiful parents will be together for just this.

There is a whole lot of love in our family, and I sadly don’t see it in everyone's. My brothers ex-girlfriend found it peculiar that we were all so close, especially with our parents. My parents are no longer together, but are still very good friends (most of the time) and recently when Pops was visiting from Spain, Mum came up to stay also. We all went to out to the Bristol bars, drinking and laughing together and Mum was rolling us cigarettes all night. My brothers ex couldn’t believe how we ‘behaved,’ and told my brother she didn’t want him to drink at the weekends, in fear that he  ended up like our parents. Nice.

This questionable view most likely stems from the fact that her parents did not exchange ‘love you's’ or reassurances that she was loved. Her relationship with her older brother consisted of her dropping him off and picking him up at the weekends to his nightclubs of choice, in exchange for cash. Now this to me, is odd.

I appreciate my life in Bristol so very much, but I yearn to be closer to my Mum, sister and nephew. Thanking technology for granting us fantastic advancements such as Skype and Facetime, we keep in touch and each and every one of us will accommodate the difficult goodbyes with a warm ‘love you’s.’

I know how much my family love me and this is without a doubt the best feeling in the world. And  I am satisfied and grateful to be able to give all my love back to them.

The conversation with my brother went something along the lines of: ‘Maybe we love too easily because we know what it is to be loved.‘ Of course, family relationships are very different to the relationships we have with a boyfriend or girlfriend, but the love on an emotional level is the same. In our family along with the friendships we have developed with those outside of our family (like my best friendship with my roommate who I absolutely adore and can’t put into words how much I love,) we support one another, we listen to each other, we hug each other and tell each other it’s going to be okay, we tell them when they look well, we look after them when they are poorly, we stick by them through the many difficulties that come their way. We tell eachother how much we love one another. That to me, is true love. (Gooey I know but it is  so true, and also really sweet and Mum’s gonna love reading this, hey mum xx)

After this conversation, to which my brother agreed in total comprehension, I went home and watched ‘Maleficent,’ after a long winded seep through of Netflix's options. *Spolier alert* if you haven't watched Maleficent, then do - its really very good, but don’t read this next part if you intend to do so. The film that night coincidentally (and you know I love my coincidences) emphasised a similar premise that it’s not ‘true love's first kiss’ from Prince Charming or what have you, that will save you  it’s the true love from another human. In this story it was Maleficent, who watched sleeping beauty grow (post-curse),  developing a fondness for her so pure, that it was only her who was able to rescue her. Maleficent so desperately tried to find a Prince (as we all do) in order to save sleeping beauty, but it wasn’t him that could wake her, it was Maleficent. Magnificent.

And very similar to ‘Frozen,’ (which I was so very reluctant to watch being a bit of a cynic over adults watching kids films) which emphasises the same idea.I would place another *spoiler alert* tag here but I know you’ve all seen it JUST ADMIT IT YOU LIKED IT! It’s not the kiss from a chap that can save our female protagonist here, it’s the affection and love from her older sister that de-ices her. And I think this is a very important message to give to the kids of this generation and the next. We have always been plummeted with the idea that is a partner, a prince charming that can rescue us - but this really isn’t necessarily the case. Perhaps why Frozen was such a huge hit, it was a more real, more contemporary and true about love.

So when the thought next enters our head about finding ‘the one,’ or when we feel unhappy that ‘the one’ we have is not proving to be the one we thought, take a look around you and notice the love that already exists, between you and your friends and family. It is there and it is truer than most of the love being messed about with out there. And perhaps we will know who ‘the one’ is when we experience the same love and affection exchanged between you and the people around you, who have stuck by you since you first met...

This is by far the soppiest, cheesiest blog post I have ever written and with its mention of two kids films I may have to go and take a shower. But I dedicate this post to my beautiful and wonderful family and friends, who give me all the love I need! I love you! xxx

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