Love isn't everything.

from Les Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir page 462 fiction ~1 min read

"Yes," I replied. "I'll love you till the day I die." I took his hands in mine. "Lewis, I can come back every year. If we're sure of seeing each other every year, there won't be any separation, only waits. And when you love strongly enough, you can wait in happiness."

"If you love me the way I love you, why waste three-fourths of our lives waiting?" Lewis said.

I hesitated. "Because love isn't everything," I said. "You ought to understand me; it isn't everything for you, either."

My voice was trembling, and my eyes were pleading with Lewis to understand, to go on loving me with that love which wasn't everything, but without which I would be nothing.

"No, love isn't everything," Lewis said.

He looked at me with a hesitant air, and I said fervently, "I don't love you any less because other things mean something to me. You mustn't hold that against me. You mustn't love me any less for it."

Lewis touched my hair. "I guess if love were everything for you, I wouldn't love you as much. You wouldn't be you any more."

My eyes filled with tears. If he accepted me just as I was, with my past, my life, with everything that separated him from me, our happiness was saved.[1]

  1. But it seems this scene it taken out of context as the story has not ended yet and things will take a different turn soon. ↩︎

—Simone de Beauvoir, Les Mandarins, p. 462