“We fall in love when our imagination projects nonexistent perfection upon another person. One day, the fantasy evaporates and with it, love dies.”– Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset
“Your heart is my pinata.” -Chuck Palahniuk
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” -Mother Teresa
“Every man is afraid of something. That’s how you know when he’s in love with you, when he is afraid of losing you.” -Anon
Love, love, love. Gushy-smooshy, lovey-dovey love. Mother Teresa’s right: it is one big paradox.
Over the weekend B took me to see Maybe Baby, It’s You, a quirky play about finding a soul mate and the meaning of love. It was witty and fun while still presenting many of the serious and sobering truths about relationships. Is there such thing as a soul mate? Is there such thing as true love; the sort songs and movies are written about? How do you know when you’ve found Mr or Mrs Right? Will what you’ve built up in your head as the perfect significant other ever manifest itself? And if not, what traits are the important ones? What is a deal-breaker and what isn’t?
Also over the weekend, I had to take a test assessing my main strengths. Something I felt remarkably applicable was my status as “relator:”
“Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk—you might be taken advantage of—but you are willing to accept that. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real relationships, and you take them willingly.”
This truth about myself was alarming presented in such plain terms; not because of what it means about me, but because it causes me to question what I expect from others in a relationship. Love for me has always been all-in: all the good, all the bad, all the memories and dreams and hopes and fears. But to what extent can I expect someone else to feel and act the same? What about the people who aren’t “relators?”
Charlie Shanian and Shari Simpson presented an extreme case of a woman awaiting the perfect circumstances and the “perfect” man; she passed up the opportunity to be with someone because his eyebrows weren’t just right and she hadn’t expected his name to be Diego. How many of us await the ridiculously idealistic guy? Juxtaposed, how many of us stay with someone because we think there’s no possibility of someone better?
WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?!?!?! When do we know what’s “right” in love?
I think I could write about this all day. And I think this topic may always have more questions than answers. The typical axioms of fairy-tale love may yet prove to be true in this enchanted life; until then, I’m awfully happy just enjoying the journey!
Ponderings aside, enchanted Valentine’s Day, all!