So I've been thinking about love, lately
No, no, this isn't my way of proclaiming that I'm in love, or I know I'll never love this way again and now I'm going to blog about it...
This is more to do with thoughts on love in general. Romantic love. Partnership.
Now, without being too explicit and transparent, anyone who knows me and reads this blog knows that I very much believe in love. And most people who are reading this probably know also know other various "facts" about my life: that I am single, that I am not currently "betrothed" or "in a relationship" and that I do not believe myself to be actively engaged in partnership or "in love." I say all this because people have a way of jumping to conclusions, and though I at least try to maintain a thin veil of privacy, create a gauzy barrier between what would be considered revelations of a private nature and thoughts on private subject, but from a more public and universal viewpoint, sometimes things left unsaid have way of coloring or implying even grander divulgences.
So, anyway, here I sit intellectualizes the process of selecting a "mate." Something I sometimes suspect should take a lot less thought than it tends to.
The other day I was sitting, listening to two people stab at the subject of what makes couples "work" and what they are looking for in a more permanent kind of love affair or marriage. Many thoughts were expressed: that there are inherent qualities behind love that MAKE no sense, that a certain amount of non-sensical compatability needs to exist that has nothing to do with liking the same seafood or wanting to live in the same city, that one will "know" when they are in something meaningful or experiences a sense of transcendental love/swirling emotion. That real love, the kind worth sticking with sweeps you up, absorbs you.
Now, I know a lot people in what I would term "happy relationships" or "functional partnerships." I, infact, have many differing models of how two people can make a happy go of it, and create a lasting and meaningful love, even, sometimes, when the roads a little rocky. And thinking about this made me examine the assertions my friends were presenting, as well as some other ideas I've had about how one should choose or find "real love."
First off, there is that notion that something special, undefinable needs to be there. Now, without getting too much into semantics and perceptions, it seems to me that this is obviously just...true. Otherwise matchmakers would be in the money and everyone would marry their best friend. Their clearly needs to be a spark, a sense of something extra, there needs to be attraction, and there needs to be comfort. But I wonder how far one should take this?
I mean, when I was young I believed there would be this romantic ZING! This swept off my feet, can't believe how I feel sense of love. However, many of the people I know who are truly, deeply happy together did not feel this when they started out together. They certainly felt something, or they wouldn't have stuck around, but they actually took a while to decide that this person they loved and liked and wanted was the one for them. Others that I know felt something pretty defining and dramatic. But the reality is that many many of the people I know that are happily engaged in a marriage are not with whom they pictured. So maybe what I am saying is that yes: there needs to be extras, more than just friendship and sex, but are they necessarily the extras we grow up to expect? Are some of us looking for some sort of mythical defining characteristic of love and missing the truly unique facets of a pre-existing relationship, or dismissing people out of turn because they don't look, smell, or laugh like the one we always thought we'd swoon for.
And then there is that notion that only an overriding attraction, an almost obsessive romantic attraction needs to be there to make it work. That it'll be love at first site, or a wholly absorbing relationship if it works.
I have definitely grown to question this. In fact, I have had more than one person in my life express that they had series of overwhelming romantic relationships that wouldn't and couldn't work. That in the end, because they were so used to this romantic ideal of love, that they didn't notice for a while how incredibly happy they were with the person they ended up with: that they had this person in their life that was hilarious, inspiring, sexy, sexually compatible, and comforting, and that they wanted to be with them.
Now, I don't know what the fine balance is, and I don't know what the right proportion of ZING vs. reasonable comparability is necessary to make it work. I imagine it's different for every person. And as I have said, I am quite clearly not the expert in this arena.
So I guess I'd like to pose this question to those who might be (ie, those who believe themselves to be in a happy and fulfilling relationship:
How did you feel when you first met your now partner?
What was it that made you realize you were in love?
What is that made you realize you were in it for keeps?
How did it differ from past relationships?
And what is it that you think is necessary for a couple to make a real go of it?
(ps. I've had to momentarily condense the comments on this post in due to some technical issues)