Dealing with Love

When I realized I couldn't define a fundamental concept of humanity, I felt damaged. More so, pretending to love as it looks all around me, hurts me. All the well-known routines - rituals, songs, movies and stories, even vocabulary - promote behaviour that would be dishonest if I mimic it. I still don't know how to make it work.

Obviously, this topic has accompanied me all my life. But the last years have been especially intense for a couple of reasons. And the more I tried to understand what love is, the more I noticed that a lot of people don't have a clue either.

Sookie is mine?

Somebody said that love would be lust plus jealousy. Whoever feels that way may be happy with it, but this can't be a universal definition. It's the cliché of catching a trophy wife or leaving a partner for a "newer model". I can imagine a lot of people living their life that way. If I would feel that way, I wouldn't call it love. I would call it possessiveness and I would despise myself for it. Treating another human being as possession is a soft form of slavery. Where is my loved one's freedom if I want to keep them for myself and guard them against the world around us?

Ancient wisdom?

Looking for a more sophisticated description of love it is hard to avoid the ancient Greeks. Not just when searching the internet for a definition of love, even a relationship therapist prematurely ejaculated agape, eros, philia and forgot storge. These old philosophical concepts separate self-emptying or divine love, romantic or sexual desire, friendship and finally familial love into four categories. But they offer no clear definition of where one category ends and the next begins. Even the ancient Greeks didn't understand the difference. They quite often confused agape and philia, for example when they translated the Bible. Also, that model doesn't fit my feelings at all.

A love triangle?

Some intimacy of the mind is always a prerequisite of my sexual desire and loyalty is always the foundation of any of my lasting relationship. Neither specifically pops up within the ancient Greek model. That's why Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love is much more appealing to me. Boiled down to a single sentence, the theory says that any kind of love would be a combination of different amounts of commitment, trust and sensuality. I like this theory, it covers a lot of behaviour and feelings that I call love. It also hints at love not being unique, but something you can feel and express for more than one person. The problem is, Robert Sternberg himself discarded this theory and made a new one.

Love is a story?

According to this new theory, there are archetypes of stories that guide us through our love life. This might be a great way to analyze and predict behaviour. Maybe it's a great tool for therapy. But it doesn't help me at all to determine what kind of love I am feeling. Or how to communicate that I love differently than you'd expect.

Conclusion?

I learned a lot about myself and a little about life.

I don't connect with people because I find them arousing. I find people arousing because I connected with them. Because they are important to me. And I can feel this way with more than one person at a time. My love doesn't need reciprocity. I just don't like denying it exists.

I made many, many mistakes along the way. I have hurt my loved ones. I fear I still do.

 

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