Love is blind, as far as the eye can see….

Dear Amy,

You’d probably imagine, that by this time in the future, relationships have become simpler – you’d be wrong. Often they are a timeless, endless web of misunderstandings, second-guessing and fear. Fear of losing the person that you’re fighting to keep. Fear of commitment, but fear of heartbreak. Fear of being tied down; fear of being eternally lonely.

“Do you really mean it about coming up to London with me? It sounds far too exciting to be true. Do make the ‘will’ very, very strong, so that you’ll find a way.”[1]

“There is no doubt that from this moment on Amy became Hans’s mistress, or as he would euphemistically term it, she became his petite amie. She was obviously a willing collaborator, although one suspects that Hans had made her more compliant by encouraging her to read the works of writers who advocated for the concept of ‘free-love’ and the ‘emancipated woman’. [2]

“You would accept me gladly as a mistress, but not as a wife.”

“Up to the time of that drive to Brid on Easter Sunday two years ago you only felt a slight interest in me, although I suppose you know I loved you (or thought I did). After that drive, when you presumed somewhat on my ignorance, your interest gradually increased. You found yourself attracted towards me physically, and enjoyed teaching me the things I ought to have known. It seemed that your interest gradually grew, until you loved me – but only physically. I have been sure, practically always, that if I forbade you to touch me, and was strong enough to keep to my decision, you would gradually feel your love growing less. But I have never been strong enough to keep to it, though I have tried often, there has always been something to cause me to give way.

One time after we had had a talk and you assured me you wanted to marry me, but you insisted I must let you love me as you wanted to, and I gave way because I persuaded myself it was all right when we really were going to be married and belong to each other properly.” [3]

“It was unusual for middle-class young ladies from the provinces to break the social taboos that were then still in place…”[4]

A relationship should have two sides – two equal sides.  A romantic relationship between two people has to be consensual; trusting, deeply rooted in mutual respect, and if you are lucky enough – love.

A sexual relationship today has become a very normal part of a blossoming romance – no longer is a couple expected to wait until they are married/have made a commitment to each other, and neither does the couple necessarily have to declare their love for each other before showing their physical affection for each other. But in today’s modern society, does it mean that physical expression of love has become devalued?

In general, society has given relationships and the culture of ‘dating’ a lot more freedom, but there is a lot of societal and peer pressure on young people to jump into sexual relationships before they are necessarily ready. More and more, young people are exposed through the media to celebrities ‘sexualising’ music, television ‘soaps’ covering highly controversial storylines and easily accessible websites with sexual content – even on social media sites.

“Ever since you knew me you found out that you had a power over me, which you haven’t hesitated to make the most of through constant subjugation of my will to yours. And – as it turns out – a vain attempt to reform my character into how I thought you would have it – I have practically lost what personality and individuality I ever had. You have shaken my confidence in my own abilities – which you declare don’t exist – and you have filled my mind instead with a sense of my own inferiority and unworthiness as compared to your absolute superiority over me…”

A person should never have to feel like they ‘need’ to give the other person what they want in order to stay in a relationship. If you are feeling pressured in a relationship, or as though you have to ‘give way’ so the other person gets what they want (which may not necessarily be what you want), then maybe that relationship has become incredibly unhealthy.

“I have allowed everything to be coloured by your influence – I don’t blame you. I blame myself. I’ve been a fool – a blind idiot. I refuse to see what evidently was apparent to everyone else.”[5]

Sometimes, we don’t see what is right in front of us. We can become blind to infuriating, ever-lasting, incurable feelings of love for another person. But with that love should come respect – for each other and for ourselves. If your fear of losing someone has outweighed all self-respect, then how do you find the inner strength to assess the situation and try to move on?

“You haven’t broken my heart, but you have made me very bitter. I know you will find this letter just as funny as you find the rest of my most intimate feelings. When I tell you you’ve hurt me, you laugh. But I think some day you will have something to answer for. You say you love me, but what is your love worth when you let me go away for always without an effort to stop me? I still love you, and I can’t believe that all I have written is true. If only you could tell me it isn’t.”[6]

My heart breaks for you, Amy. I’m sorry that you felt such a loss of self-respect that you let fear of losing Hans completely take over you, and make your decisions for you. I know you see that now, but I fear this is not the end, is it?

Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I’m only falling apart…

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre

Links:

‘Do you respect yourself enough to move on from bad relationships?’ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12322/do-you-respect-yourself-enough-to-move-on-from-bad-relationships.html

‘Sex in society: too much raunch, too young’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/8998434/Sex-in-society-too-much-raunch-too-young.html

https://www.brook.org.uk/your-life/category/relationships

 

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 10 December 1924

[2] Luff, Amy Johnson: Enigma in the Sky, 47

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter].1926

[4] Luff, Amy Johnson: Enigma in the Sky, 47

[5] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter].1926

[6] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 8 August 1926

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