Wednesday 28 January 2009

Love Between Adults- Memories for Life

I think it is probably clear that I'm not a big fan of the idea of Monogamy.
But it does kind of go deeper than that.

I think the whole expectation surrounding all of it, the whole mating for life thing, it's just something that we don't need. People generally take the whole thing far too seriously.
And having an institution such as marriage, a bond with legal connotations that needs an authority other than the people involved to dissolve, really doesn't help matters in my book.

It places a burden on people- and yes, it's going to put people off.
It's going to put people off falling in Love naturally. Which is, of course, exactly what it does.

Ok, most of us now accept that marriage isn't for life, or needn't be. But we still make it very hard for people to get out of. And why should we? The defenders of marriage would say, to make people take marriage seriously. It SHOULD be hard to get out of.
That's just crazy. If people don't want to be together, why make it any harder for them to walk away than it has to be? Or if one wants it over, but the other doesn't, why should the one who wants it over have to justify that?

But I guess why I really object to it, is that the expectations created by the existence of the institution, seep downwards contaminating the general view of romantic love generally.
The idea that it is, by definition long lasting, ideally for life.

Myself, I often see this myth as kind of a trap, used to lure the unwary into marriage, or that's what it was originally. When people fell in love and were powerfully consumed with the urge to make babies with eachother, the marital bond was there to keep them together even when they'd fallen out of love. Trapped.

People clearly fall in love. Society is comfortable with that, glorifies it. It's normal. Most people fall in love.

What society hasn't quite come to terms with, though we're getting better at it, is that falling out of love is just as normal. Sure, people do stay in love for life. But it's not the norm. The norm is that people fall in love and they also fall out of love.

We fudge the fact. Because we're looking for 'The One'. The one that will be for life. We feed ourselves lines like 'At the time I thought I loved her. But I didn't. I'm still looking'.

You're lieing to yourself. Because you're trying to convince yourself that love you fall out of isn't valid. The only valid love, will last forever.

Truth is, you probably did love her. And then you fell out of love with her. What you have to do is move away from the idea that you're looking.

Love, in the sense we mean it here- Romantic love- is an emotion. It is therefore, not necessarily going to last forever. It is entirely down to chemicals. You might be overwhelmed by this woman today and spend every waking hour thinking about her.

Next week could well be different.
You really can't predict how you are going to feel. The point is that the validity of how you feel today is not affirmed or negated by how you MIGHT feel in the future.

I'm not convinced that the Greatest Love Story of all time has to end with both parties ending up together for life. The Greatest Love ever could well last only a matter of months. The fact that both sides fall OUT of love again, doesn't mean that what they were in while it lasted was significantly more powerful than the love many people who are together for a lifetime feel.

And I think this is a major problem when people meet and have strong feelings about eachother. We're still trapped in this mindset that runs as follows;

Strong emotional, physical and intellectual connection of extreme intensity (Love)= The One= Being together forever= Lifelong commitment.

It's false logic. It doesn't necessarily mean that at all. No particular reason it should. By following that false logic, a dynamic is introduced which doesn't need to be introduced.
On the one hand, a lot of people are, I think, actually quite scared of genuinely falling in love or being open to it, because they see that equation as being part of it. It worries them. They are worried that if they admit to themselves that they are actually in love, then if the other person also loves them, then by rights they SHOULD be planning for a long term future. And therefore they wall themselves off from allowing themselves to love.

On the other hand, a lot of people don't respond well to the love dieing. Because they don't accept that as the normal result. A Romantic love that NEVER dies is in fact, the oddity. That's not to say a Romantic love can't turn into a genuine lasting friendship, but the passionate romantic phase, it's unusual if it lasts forever.

I think we are false in our assumption that it has to last forever for it be genuine. The more I think about it, the more I think that a number of the transient, fleeting sensations I've had in my life are just as deserving of being considered love as any definition of love. Because in the moment, they were.

This idea that you are going to find one person who you are going to love for the rest of your life and be with for the rest of your life, what need have we for such a stultifying ideal?
Personally, I think that expectation can ruin it. I look at a lot of my romances in my life and if I'm honest, one of the main things that ruined them was that there were expectations on them.

I think the best way to view these things is this 'It feels good now. Right now, you're my world. You might not be in a few months. Someone else might be. But let's just enjoy it for now, and when it's over, it's over'.

Myself, I'm still not convinced that actually having in your head as an ideal of love the idea that one day you'll find someone who you'll love for the rest of your life is particularly inspiring or even that healthy.
Is it such a bad thing to love many people over the course of a lifetime?

Sometimes I look at some of the more intense flings I've had. I can think of one where I met her on the Friday night, we went back to mine and must have had sex about four or five times and talked for hours in between. Then we went to the pub, it now being Saturday afternoon and then went back for more, before finally parting company on the Sunday evening. I did see her one more time after that, we sat and talked but we both knew that it was impractical. There was no way we could fit into eachothers lives at all. But was it love? Well, it was only a forty eight hour thing, but during those hours, it was exceedingly passionate.

I'll certainly never forget her.

And this kind of leads me to my general conclusion. The love itself, the Romantic love bit might last for years, it might last for months, it might last for just a few days.
But what makes it love?

That you'll never forget them as long as you live.

I think for me, that's kind of when you know something has pretty much run its course. The love bit is the exuberation of excitement, the basking in the beauty of a soul that fascinates, it's not physical, it's a connection of mind, body and soul. And the love bit is kind of like an absorbing of their aura, and your aura seeping in to them.
I think once that has happened, it doesn't matter if it lasts forever, or ends the following week. A part of you will always feel them etched in your soul.

We shouldn't cling on here. This is the problem, the expectation it should last. If it lasts, it lasts. But if you force it, you'll spoil it, as divorces so often prove.People who once loved eachother hating eachother. When if they'd walked away from eachother a long time ago, their love would still exist as a memory.

I guess my view is this. When we fall in love with someone, we shouldn't fill our heads with thoughts of 'This is the One', or start considering long term futures. We should take it as here and now emotion, enjoy the bubbling flood of feeling another soul dance with our own, the probing of another mind and body. It should be all about standing hand in hand in art galleries, transcendental conversations over meals, dancing with eachother in the centre of dancefloors, wild passionate love making, it should be an affirmation of life and the unique ability of the human mind to become at one with another.

And what will be left over at the end of it all? Not bitterness, because these things are meant to end and we should accept that the falling out of love is as fundamental a part of the process as falling in it. We should learn to fall out of love with the same joy we fell in to it, and be ready to move on to new loves.

Because if we do it properly, there can still be a joy in the completion of a beautiful love, the final moment we stroke their cheek and know that though it is the end, it's good to know that;

'You won't forget about me, as long as you live, as long as you live,
you won't forget about me, I promise you this, as long as you live'.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you are so obsessed about getting stuck in a relationship you're not even in yet. You're panicked to the point if declaring that no one should be monogamous to justify you not entering any relationship with an expectation of monogamy. My god, why so tense? Do you really think every woman is just waiting with a ball and shackle to clasp on your ankle when you're not looking? Good grief.

Personally, I think it should be more difficult to get married than it is. Of course, I've no clue what the criteria ought to be and would be hestitant to make blanket rules for such a thing.

I dunno. My husband and I just kind of fell into living together, then got married because we wanted to. I don't really sit around thinking "he's the one" or "soulmate" shit. No doubt we are in a committed, loving relationship that I don't see an end to.

I think you need to relax a little and let whatever happens happens. Never say never. All your protestations sound like you're scared to death, though.

Anonymous said...

Viccy is right Crushed. For Gods sake lighten up man!

Anonymous said...

The main point I like in this article is that the love that lasts for about a week is the same as the love that lasts for 3 years. I think that's true, and people should think like that more often.

Anonymous said...

What you're talking about is close to what we have told our children. (Completely opposite of what our parents told us.) We don't want our kids to marry right away. We've encouraged them to date for a good long while. Be independant and fulfill their lives with their own successes. If they feel like they are truly wanting to spend their lives with someone, then live together first. Lots of people are great fun to date and suck to live with, let alone promise your life to. My husband and I have been married 24 years. We have an agreement, when we don't love each other anymore, we split. So far, so good.
Thank you for your kindness, Crushed.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what to say about this article, for me, you've said all this before and I do see where you are coming from.
But then I look at my parents, and their friends, who have been married for over thirty years. They are together and they are happy - maybe not passionately so - but they have a bond and a companionship that would NOT be there if one of them had said to the other, "You know, I'm not sure we're going to be together next month so lets just enjoy this while it lasts"
There is the romantic love, and that is worth hanging onto, I think.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the reasons marriages don't last is that people expect to have those intense, glorious feelings of the first flush to last for ever. When they evolve into different, less intense feelings they decide to look for that again elsewhere instead of evolving into a different kind of relationship which has its own rewards.

That's why I have always thought it is very important to marry someone who can be your best friend as well as your lover. Besides better the devil you know... -:)

Anonymous said...

Not true. I have it, I have true love.

My first marriage lasted 20 years and when it got unbearable, we divorced.

I thought, that's it, never again. A year later, I met the most wonderful man and 4 years later, it's even better.

You just have to be lucky!

Anonymous said...

Crushed, What is your problem?

No one can sustain the hormonal imbalance that first falling in love brings. It would kill you I figure, at least your mouth would get stuck grinning.

Marriage is about love in the steady sense, about sex, about alliance and consideration and combining resources, maybe raising kids.

Having someone who has got your back.

It is not some elaborate mouse trap. It is not that difficult to get out of these days either.

I figure Vicariousrising has nailed you on this one. Busted!

Anonymous said...

I do agree with Moggs.

That initial passion will always fade quickly, but that isn't love. Love grows with time and familiarity.

It's knowing what your partner is thinking without asking. It's cuddling together watching a movie without having to speak. It's that warm glow you get when you share a special moment.

It's the pain you feel when you are separated for too long.

Anonymous said...

Vicarious Rising- I think I was more looking back on ones that were.

But yes, I think it does happen that too many people take the 'ball and shackle' aspect too seriously.
I've been in 'relationships', so called where it started well; they were content with what time you gave them, they didn't feel entitled to anything, it was all just fun weekends, romantic meals, in depth conversations about philosophy, sharing points of view, great sex, much tenderness and intimacy, not a care in the world.

But then it changes. Then they start thinking they're ENITLED to things from you. And they don't realise just how BORING they've become.
And I think it's the 'commitment' that causes that. They think they don't have to make an effort any more because they're 'entitled' to something.
That's my issue.

People shouldn't come to expect things, they should keep treating it as they did at the start.
One day at a time.

Well, you describe how it should be. It happens because it happens, and not because it was forced in any way. That's the problem. People force things.

Like when couples argue. To be honest, most often I think one should just walk away.

I guess I've been bitten a lot. :)

Mutley- I actually thought that was quite a positive post :)

Akai- It's right. I don't think we should see it as having rules on time. People try to make too many silly rules for it. Sopmetimes something can only be fleeting, and it might actually do more harm than good if it went on to long, but kept to what it should be, it becomes something you'll never forget that changed your life for the better.

Sweet Cheeks- Well, yes. I learned that the hard way.

I freely admit, I'm not easy to live with, not in that sense. I like to be the master in my own home too much. And therefore most times I've lived with a woman we've fought cat and dog.

I think to be honest, I'm far better fling material.

Yes, I think when it has died naturally, no point in carrying it's carcass.

One of my cousins tried to get out of the wedding the night before. Her family pretty much guarded her that night to stop her going. So she did marry, but from what I heaer the marriage was never consummated and they are now separated, though not divorced. I think you still can't get divorced there.

Kate- Yes, but it's not always so feasible in this day and age. Our lives are more complicated.
Take my Mum and Dad. In those days, it was viable for my Dad to go to work and provide for my Mum as well so she only need work part time. She didn't wanmt a career. So she could always go with him everytime he needed to move.

Today, we work longer hours and are always having to change our lives. People's careers and other things mean that sometimes, things really CAN'T last.

I mean, I could meet someone tomorrow. Right now it could fit in to my life ok. And obv, it would fit into hers. But what happens if my job changes? Or hers does?

Anonymous said...

jmb- I guess that's me. Yes, I guess I always want that intense excitement.

But I don't see why that's wrong. Why can't you still find that anew and still keep the friendship from before? And you can, of course you can.
I know people who stay friends after the fling is over. Or even if it lasts years.

I guess I do want to have all worlds.
But I don't really see why we can't.

Sue- I guess you do have to be lucky.

'It's knowing what your partner is thinking without asking. It's cuddling together watching a movie without having to speak. It's that warm glow you get when you share a special moment.'

Yes, i know that feeling. And yes, it does hurt when you lose them.

Moggs- It would kill you? A beautiful way to gom though...

Nothing beats that first buzz of just dancing in the exhileration of really clicking with someone. When they are your world and they give you goosebumps.

And hey, even the joy of a one night encounter with someone truly amazing.

I really wonder if that's something I really could ever know would never happen to me again.

Do you remember in Friends just before Monica is about to get married she suddenly says 'Oh my God I'm never going to have sex with anyone else ahain'.

That really made me think you know. Because I've never been a position where I've ever seriously thought that.

And I'm not sure I'd WANT to be.

Anonymous said...

I suspect it's less 'the commitment' than the people you've chosen to hook up with. And you yourself have admitted to not being completely straightforward about the relationship status, allowing the female to assume whatever she may such that you can get pissed off and dump her when she goes to the place where most mature relationships progress. That whole post on your battery of tests was quite frightening, and I might add, you get what you deserve under those circumstances.

You might find yourself in an east, reciprocal relationship should you stop looking fir escape routes and faults and relax and enjoy someone's company with some openmindedness and honesty.

Just cool it - no one says you need to find a woman today, next year or even this decade. But making such a vehement stand against partnerships says more about an anxiety in you than anything else, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

You must live your life as you wish to Crushed.

I think you're wrong though. If we all saw it as you do - the World would almost stop spinning. 'Most' women don't choose to have children without there being a significant other to participate in the parental duties. That's not to say women are unable to care for children alone, but it is an easier work done by two.

Relationships change and grow with time and just as well they do - or else we'd all be stark raving mad, what with the not eating, not sleeping etc etc. Romantic love doesn't disappear. It's intensity is variable and maybe you've never given it long enough to realise this.

Living with anyone is a matter of give and take. If one party falls out of love because they feel they have to consider the feelings of another, then it seems to me, it might not have been love in the first place. 'Most' people know that as we the individual develop, and are changed by our experience, so do our relationships. We adapt to the growth of our partner and they to us. If not, then divorce is probably best for all concerned.

It is the individuals choice whether to commit or no.