Breach of the Social Contract
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A Narcissist Mistakes Love With Possession

"This isn't about love as in caring. This is about property as in ownership."  

Imagine the One Who Got Away is getting married today.  Imagine you have a national column, read by tens-of-thousands of people.  Imagine you love the One Who Got Away.  What do you do?

If your answer is anything other than, "Shut up," then like Andrew Cohen, you don't understand romantic love:

The great love of my life marries today and I am not the groom. I had my chance, a few years ago, but did not realize until too late how fleeting my moment with her was meant to be. Whether it was my fault or hers, and, let's face it, it was probably mine, I will wonder always about the life I might have had with the most loving and loveable woman I have ever known. Sometimes, I finally now understand, love, even crazy love, is not enough. Sometimes, as the romance novelists know, timing is everything.

Yes, this is beta, and I of course nominated him for Roissy's Beta of the Month Contest.  Putting aside the "man's" lack of self-respect and dignity, consider what he's doing: He's ruining his so-called love's wedding night.

Can't he see that?  Is it really that hard?

It's thus that surprising that Cohen spend hundreds of words - admittedly, I read less than half of them - he reminds the One Who Got Away that he loves her.  He reminds the groom that the One Who Got Away

arrived, unexpectedly, and showed me what was possible. She raised me up from the emotional dead. She drew out of me the poison of divorce and betrayal. Eleven years younger but already more mature than me, she was dazzling, brilliant, funny, and sweet; she both gave and taught me patience and devotion and sacrifice. No woman before or since ever made me feel as desired, needed, beloved, appreciated as she did. 

Awesome!  On my honeymoon night, I want to imagine my then-29-year-old starstruck wife having sex with a 40-year-old Andrew Cohen.  Thank you for that wedding present.

Cohen also reminds the bride and groom that she once loved him very much:

On her wedding day, I want to thank her for all those times she stuck up for me -- with her friends, with her family, with her work colleagues. It could not have been easy, explaining to all those cooler heads, why she was so devoted to an "old guy" who lived so far away. Yet she did ....

Why bring this up?  It is good for the bride to remind her how much she loved you?  Is it good for the groom?  Who is benefiting from these words?

Now certainly a person has a right to public catharsis.  If Cohen wants to write a column about how sad he is, great.  We've all lost sleep and weight over love, man.  We get it.  It's painful.  

Yet instead of recognizing that the column is about Cohen's Feelings, he writes about love:

So at last my wedding toast today is sincere: I wish the deepest and most profound love of my life a happy life, a good life, one in which she gives to and gets from the loved ones in her world the hope and the passion and the comfort and the support she always and so magically gave to me.

Loving a person means putting that person's interests before your own.  The best way to describe love it to ask: Is it about you?  If it's about you, then it's not love.  As one of Cohen's commenters aptly notes:

Well intentioned as this may have been (and even that's questionable), this column is not a gift to her. It's horribly self-centered--the entire thing is about you. Clearly, she didn't help you grow up that much if you're still so selfish and arrogant as to post a public letter of your undying love for her on your wedding day. It's awkward at best and a slap in the face to them at worst. Maybe you don't get it, but their wedding day isn't about you. It's about them, and they couldn't care less what you have to say. 

You can read the rest of Cohen's narcissistic drivel here.

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