The human being is a social animal: OK, we know it since Aristote. To feel good, a man thus needs to be surrounded and to satisfy his need for affection. Moreover, more than the number of people who compose the circle of acquaintances, it is the quality of the moral support that really matters: Most of people prefer to have some friends or intimate members of the family rather than numerous superficial relations. What leads me to a thorny question: do we fall in love with a girl then we become intimate or do we become intimate then we fall in love or finally do we fall in love and immediately become intimate? What is the healthiest sequencing ? What precautions to take in order to don’t finish broken-hearted?
WHAT IS LOVE? AN EMOTION, AN ATTITUDE, A DECISION?
Romantic love begins with the passionate love. It is an involuntary subjective experience, difficult to control and passing. It is characterized by obsessive thoughts and intense attention carried to another individual that we idealize. This idealized image, produced by what we sometimes call the “pink glasses” effect of love is often accompanied by an intense possessiveness. A corollary, which was able to be measured, is that the men less notice the attractive women when they are in love. All this comes along obviously with a state of big euphoria. The new couples are really into their new relation, asserting that it is special. An emotional dependence and a constant search for the emotional merger with the other one then develops. A phenomenon that often leads to an obsessional way of thinking. A temporary separation will generate the anxiety of the new young turtledoves. But adversity often tends to strengthen the passionate love, by a mechanism qualified as “frustration-attraction”.
That was Love, the true one. Now, there is what I call false-love: between lost people, we can stick excessively to another one like an oyster with its rock. That is to say we so much want to be in couple, that we are persuaded that we are in love. Or then, we do not think we couldn’t find as well as this person if we lost her/him, then we convince ourselves that it is passion (except that if we hang out with a creepy girl it is a way to justify the phlegm we have to go back on the field to pick up to find a person who really corresponds to us). So, these people who get so excited for somebody whom they have just met make me laugh. That can be love at first sight as they claim it, but the probability is low. How can you know? Standing back and being honest with yourself.
Other example: a friend of mine was with a guy for 2 years. She adored him. She spoke all the time about how much they were in love. They saw each other every day and regularly went on a journey together. She was 27 years old and wanted to get married but was not infinitely going to wait for him. Then she gave him a hardly disguised ultimatum. “Where is our relation going?” She did not appreciate his answer and broke up that very day. She packed her bag and disappeared. Less than three months later, she is again in couple with another dude. They are already betrothed, and a baby is on his way. Women do not laugh with their internal clock. They know that they have a limited duration. No matter if you are the coolest man of the world. Who your girlfriend would choose: her internal clock or you? This is the real question… So, is it really something we can call “love” ?
MISSING HIM/HER IS A LUXURY, NOT A CRIME OF LESE-MAJESTY
Some people see each other twice five minutes then they decide to put themselves in couple. Good for them, but if they do not unstuck one from the other one from this moment, this merger will lose them. That bewilders me these people who, when circumstances force them to find themselves separated by dozens of kilometers, stay in permanent contact by Skype or by texts that they send all day and night long.
Love is maybe an experience in which we are only the willing victims of a biochemical cocktail more powerful than GHB and from which we can wake up with a fucking hangover. I remember a buddy who was very sociable, very cool, went out all the time, etc. Then, one day a girl suggested him getting in a relationship (or rather she gave an ultimatum to be in agreement with her biological clock). Suddenly, he stopped going out with his friends and spent all his weekends with this girl. He stopped coming to the fitness gym and got fat because he preferred to stay 2 hours on the phone with his other half than having a physical activity. One day, she found another guy with whom she repeated the same pattern: they broke up, he found himself fat and isolated, with just his eyes to cry. He has lost everything because his whole life depended on his darling (who eventually cheated on him and moreover had already cheated on him with her ex even before their separation) – act liberator because transgressive and leading to this break up).
YES your girlfriend can miss you, and NO it is not a bad thing. The attraction, the desire … grow during absence. Think again about it when you will want to see a girl all the time or to saturate her voice mailbox suffocating so little by little the fire of her passion. In a relationship, each one should keep a wide part of autonomy. Without counting the fact that two people rarely love each other the same way, or for the same reasons. Even if the same type of neurosis can gather two hearts.
WE MAKE ONLY ONE: BUT SHE OR I?
Neither of them, fuck : a couple merges only when makes love. The interest of the relation is in the complicity, the friendship, the desire and the complementarity … Not in a false-dilution of two protagonists leading to a loss of their peculiarity, of their personality. My partner, I will love her because she is Other than me. Because she will fascinate me by qualities I do not have. Because we will complement each other. If what you like with your girl, it is your reflection in her eyes, then you fell in unhealthy narcissism, wake up !
It is necessary to distinguish what Helen Fisher calls romantic love and two other big systems: the sexual desire and the attachment. While the second (the desire) would allow the individuals to introduce the behavior of seduction with several partners, romantic love would motivate to concentrate on a single partner, so allowing to save up time and energy for the benefit of possible children. This offspring, ultimate purpose of the sexual desire and romantic love, is then going to benefit from the third system, the attachment which builds up itself between the parents, to grow up in an environment stable and provided with the resources necessary for its good development.
A drift of this system: the desire of sexual property in the Othello’s way which can lead to the madness is a matter for the psychiatrist in my opinion. For Platon, the desire that dominates all the others is the desire of immortality. Love would thus aim to be eternal (even if the rate of divorce disagrees with it) and complete in the way of Sternberg. Indeed, the triangular theory of love of Sternberg puts three different entities which can, alone or combined, explain seven big types of affairs. These three entities are:
– Passion (the physical attraction and the sexual desire);
– Intimacy (the feeling of closeness and link created by the exchange of trusts)
– Commitment (the intention shared to build and to maintain a long-term relation with the other one). Sternberg asserts that a given love relation can be described by one of the seven following categories, outcome of the possible combinations between these three entities, which intensity can vary.
7 forms of love according to Sternberg are :
– With only the intimacy, Sternberg evokes a loving shape close to the true friendship, or to the relation doctor / patient.
– If there is only some commitment, he speaks about partnership or about love empty as in the arranged marriages.
– Love with only passion is similar to desire, infatuated or romantic, in brief it is fast love at first sight which can disappear so quickly as it appeared.
– Real romantic love would be the one formed by passion and by intimacy (but without guarantee of commitment).
– Complicity or love of trade guilds is made by intimacy and by commitment, occurs often with people in couples for several years when the passion eased.
– Admiring or stupid love would arise when there is passion and a commitment, but without having developed a real intimacy, when the commitment is only motivated by passion.
– Love said “consummated” includes three basic components and would constitute the ideal love relationship, difficult to obtain and even more to maintain.
According to Sternberg, every individual can be defined by two triangles, the one who characterizes his present love relation, and the one of his ideal love relation. The most long-lasting couples are obviously the ones with compatible triangles. He insists as well on the fact that every triangle is the resultant of our premature influences and of our individual story, and that consequently, it is never definitively fixed and that each of its components is inevitably going to vary with time. A desirable evolution being for him the one in which the missing or too few basic components are developed. OK, isn’t it too hard to follow? Otherwise read again ;)
I LOVE YOU FOR EVER, MY SWEETHEART
Every day, thousands of people make the promise to love each other until death separates them. Almost nobody will keep promises. Let’s be wary of absolute “always”, “never”… it does not exist in the human scale: the couple will have children who will succeed to them but it is a fucking mediocre comfort. To what extent would I be my son? 50 %? 25 %? 0 %? No, we have no other choice than showing humility and accepting the end of everything down here. Including ours.
The difficulty, I understand it: dopamine damages your critical brain, you juggle between the spontaneity of your drives and the cold blood necessary for the harmonious progress of the relation on the length-term. Then yeah, you are maybe in love, but do not bombard her with messages, do not see her every day, especially at the beginning, because it would not be any more with her that you would be in love … rather with the illusion than you built up to calm your existential anxiety and your very justifiable fear of the abandonment, of the solitude, of the end …
Roughly, if I would be happy to have found the woman of my life, I would also love her because she will have had the intelligence to don’t want to fall in extremes described below:
– Not seeing each other every day;
– Not living together too soon;
– Adduce going outs and journeys without the other one;
It will frighten some but the couple bases itself on the recognition of two liberties. Without freedom, no real love. Rather a duty which one or the other one will eventually want to escape.
NB. The distance I’m talking about is not a stratagem to see if the person really loves you. On the contrary, it is called “respect”.
LOVE IS JUST CHEMISTRY
We say that romantic passion is stronger than sexual desire for the simple and good reason that rare are people who sink into depression or even commit suicide or kill someone if somebody refuses to sleep with them. Unfortunately, this behavior occurs with weak people rejected by a love relation. What the hell can give to this behavior a so important character?. The answer would have a lot to do with another very powerful experience that human beings can feel : dependence with certain psychoactive substances.
Because, in many respects, romantic love looks like a dependence. It shares with it numerous characteristics like obsession, mental focus, emotional fluctuations, distortion of the reality, personality’s changes, risk-taking or loss of self-control. Crossing a whole country on a whim for some kisses from the loved one can certainly make you smile but it is reminiscent of the psychological dependence of a person in lack of drugs and ready for anything to get his dose. Does your other half love you for YOU or for the drugs you make her SECRETE?
About our first question concerning the sequencing, here is my advice: it is very difficult to keep a cool head with a girl who upsets your chemistry (the less we have options less are confident and the more we are in lack of sex and the more it is difficult). You do not really see neither her defects nor anything. Thus wait at least 3 months before putting yourself in couple for good with a woman. So, every girl is in probationary period during at least twelve weeks. After she proved by her behavior that she is up to it, you can consider to accept her offer to be your girlfriend. No crazy woman nor any sex friend full of STD can so cross your sentimental barriers and reach your heart (it would then be much more difficult to leave her.) During this trial period, the women who do not suit to you are naturally mercilessly dismissed (and without advance notice).
Be stronger than your hormones ! And do not confuse love with One-itis (false-love, sick obsession…) ! But this is another topic.