Issues in Dating (4): Love

I have come to question the nature of love.  People like to say, “I love you.  I’m just not in love with you.”  And, we accept this ridiculous ass comment.  It’s tantamount to talking about something being more perfect.  There is no higher quality than perfection.  Nothing is more perfect–no degrees of perfection exist.  There is only perfection and degrees of failure.  The same is true of love.  You either love someone or you like that person to varying degrees.  The love/in love dichotomy is a myth.

So what is love?  I have no idea anymore.  I know that I like a lot of people.  Well, I do love my son.  Is that “love” the same as “romantic love?”  Is there a difference?  I don’t know.

I used to define love as a willingness to accept responsibility for someone emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. That is, if you are willing to be responsible for someone’s happiness in those four realms, you love that person.  Perhaps to be in love with that person, the object of your love must be responsible for you in the same realms or spheres of life.  The question is: does that ever happen?

Does it ever happen that the one you love so much loves you back at the same time with near exact reciprocity?  Someone told me once that there is always a master and a slave in relationships.  The master is literally defining the relationship precisely because this person is not as emotionally invested in the relationship.  Their ability to walk away without concern for their partner is empowering.  The slave is truly a slave to their own passions and emotions, being overwhelmed with joy and racked with heartache with every capricious turn of their partner.  There will never be symmetry in relationships.  Asymmetrical power relations are the hallmark of relationships–no matter how platonic, serious, or flimsy.  Even amongst your friends there is always one who dominates and one who is dominated–a leader and a follower.  Now, the direction of power and influence may change throughout the course of the relationship.  You may be up and then down.  You may be in control and completely out of control.  This is the nature of relationships–power struggles.

Can there be love in such a thing?  Again, I’m thinking the answer is “no.”  The more desirous you are of being right, the more you want to prove a point, the more power you seek to wield, the more dysfunctional your relationship will be, and the further away from any kind of love you will be.  “Would you rather be right, or do you want to be happy?”  “A relationship is only as good as your need to be right.”  You can prove all the points you want.  You can win all the arguments you want.  In the end, you will have had your prize.  Every time you won the argument or made the point and felt glad, you received your reward.  Don’t look any further than that.

It seems to me that the trick (yes there’s a trick) to happiness is to find someone with the same issues, hang-ups, understandings, expectations, and desires as you.  Good luck with that though! lol  In the mean time, consider that love may be a myth.

…there’s gotta be some rules people

6 thoughts on “Issues in Dating (4): Love

  1. “Loving someone” and being “in love” with someone is slightly different. As you defined love: “[The] willingness to accept responsibility for someone emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. That is, if you are willing to be responsible for someone’s happiness in those four realms, you love that person.” That is how I define being “in love”. Just “loving someone” to me means limiting the physical responsibility (i.e. sex). When there’s less physical exchange the strength of love is less emotional and more rational.

    • So then by your understanding, you can’t really be in love with someone is you haven’t had sex with that person? It seems a little dangerous to equate “being in love” with having sex–to any degree. Something like that could lead someone to believe that they are experiencing something that they are not. Now, you didn’t say that sex = being in love, but you did make the two related. Is it impossible to have a strong emotional connection i.e. be in love with someone who you have only kissed? Are emotions and sex that intermingled? If so, what do we say about one night stands?

  2. No. Not sex, just a physical connection, because sex and love are separate. actually, sex and emotions can even be separate. i used sex as one example of a physical responsibility that aids in “being in love”. kissing would be another example because it’s an intimate act as well. you can “be in love” with someone that you’ve only kissed if that’s the only physical connection being shared.

    a one night stand is completely different because there’s only an exchange of sex and it’s usually only a one time moment. just like a “jump off” is a sex-only situation where the two people don’t build a meaningful relationship because no personal information is exchanged. A man or woman might think they are experiencing “love” with their sexual partner if the sex is “good” or consistent because for a lot of people sex = an act of love or strong feelings.

  3. Lol. Yes, love is rare. But mainly because people are too afraid to open themselves up to each other because they don’t want to experience emotional pain.

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