We know that love matters. As human beings our very existence depends on being in relationship to other people. We need to connect and we need to be connected to.
Being in love is also one of the most thrilling, life-affirming experiences we can ever hope to have. And more than that, research shows that people in a loving adult relationship are happier, healthier and altogether more satisfied with life than those who are not. Love can’t be forced or paid for, and to be worth anything it must be freely given. So when love is missing, it’s not surprising that we yearn for it.
I’m sure many of us automatically think of a romantic type of love. That intoxicating, mind-dizzying, butterflies-in-tummy-inducing, created-by-fate, two-souls-entwined, kind of love. … The trouble with this idea of romantic love is that it can sometimes get in the way of finding the real thingBeLoveCurious
But what is this thing called love ?
I’m sure many of us automatically think of a romantic type of love. That intoxicating, mind-dizzying, butterflies-in-tummy-inducing, created-by-fate, two-souls-entwined, kind of love. And with it the sense that life starts here, or anything’s possible, or perhaps a quiet relief that the hard work of finding ‘the one’ is finally over. And it is this that is often held up as the prize for those in the dating game or in our thoughts on meeting someone new.
The trouble with this idea of romantic love is that it can get in the way of finding the real thing. If you are a true believer and waiting for fate to reveal ‘the one’ you will be more likely to spend your time looking for the signs, more prone to fall in love at first sight, and quite likely to miss an opportunity for the real thing when it’s right in front of you. It can also make satisfying but ordinary relationships seem dull and disappointing, when compared with the magical state of bliss we’ve come to aspire to, streamed out through magazines and chick flick movies, countless love songs and ‘how to’ books.
Romantic love is a myth. The experiences and sensations are real enough, and even love at first sight can be explained as a rational phenomenon, but it is a myth to believe that this kind of intensity can be sustained for evermore. If you think about it, how can you expect to feel as excited about seeing the same person over months and years, compared with the novelty of a second or third date? And it’s the same with sex; your sex-life may well get better with the same partner over time, but the hormone-generated feelings of intense lust will surely fade.
Perhaps you still prefer to believe the hype, or don’t yet want to give up hope of finding the one to complete you, or maybe you don’t think of it like this at all, and already take a pragmatic approach to love and romance. What’s inescapable though is the fact that to endure, first-love – even love at first sight – has to evolve into a different kind of love.
Why not think of the process of finding your true love as a willingness to unleash your capacity for love, rather than achieving the goal of being loved. It is about wanting to know another person intimately, and learning to know and accept them as you know and accept yourself. It is about commitment, to another yes, but also to your vision, hopes, dreams, of what a great life and a great partnership looks like. Wondering what it will take to create that vision, and then going for it unreservedly. It requires patience and humility, fun and generosity, effort, and of course a good dose of curiosity.
So, perhaps it’s time to stop waiting for the thunderbolt to strike, and turn your attention instead to attracting a kind of love that will last a lifetime.