Is It Better To Have Loved and Lost Than Never To Have Loved At All?

While we sometimes have the pleasure and good luck of finding a “Truly, madly, deeply” wala love, we may not always find the “Forever and always” kind. Alfred Tennyson, the 19th century British poet, offered us a way of looking at loss when he once wrote:

’Tis better to have loved and lost

Than to never to have loved at all.

But is that always the case? Are we sometimes better off not having to go through the pain of heartbreak and loss that comes with having loved someone deeply?

We looked into the pitara of our wonderful AOI Podcasts to answer these questions and found three very different stories.

Is it possible to emerge from a failed relationship not filled with bitter regret, but with a sense of complete joy, even when the ending is sad? In “Qayanat ka Romancenama” we hear the story of a young woman who relished romance so much, she tasted it to satiation. When the moment came to make a decision, she did what felt right, even if it meant a finale of sorts:

When love changes your life, and leaves you with strength and love and belief in yourself, perhaps that’s Amar Prem. In “A Love Supreme”, we hear about Gudiya’s love for a man from a different caste, who passed away soon after they elope and marry. She begins her story by singing “Dil deta hai ro ro duhai, kisi se koi pyaar na kare,” but ends by saying, “Yeh mujhe lagta hain ki shadi [na] hote toh itna pyaar na milta, jitna pyaar unhone mujhe de gaye. Mujhe bahut pyaar tha”:

Here’s a different kind of loved and lost story. A romance began with style and daring and obsession but ran aground with doubt, defensiveness and hesitation. Rohit’s relationship in “Telephone Pyaar” was an experience that he emerged from with cynicism, not just towards the woman he once loved, but towards all of her gender:

 

 

So was Tennyson right above the loving and losing part? We’ve seen that loss isn’t always bittersweet – love can harden into regret, and even prejudice. But perhaps it’s when you can give yourself over to love – when you allow yourself to experience it fully, without trying to guard yourself even before you can do that, that love can remain a beautiful thing that you still believe in, without being eclipsed by the outcome.

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