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I’m A Believer
Articles - Relationships
Written by Indu   
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 00:00

Image Copyright of Sayoni

Love. Amour. Pyaar. Ai. No matter what language, what culture, the L word dominates our thinking, our lives, the media. Finding (and keeping) love, is the universal theme that connects humankind.

It might be partly the fault of media, that we have been absorbed into the myth of “love”. It begins with fairytales as a kid, when the Prince falls in love with the beautiful princess, and they live happily ever after. Then the movies, songs, which all seem to speak of this. Love has a powerful grip on the human imagination and consciousness, to the point where we almost seem obsessed with it.

Love has a special place in the queer culture, because it is the chief, if not only justification for our existence. If procreation was the only object of human existence, then we can’t exist. But humans are built for more than procreation, we are built to find affection and happiness. Love is the shield we use against religious fundamentalists – how can anyone question two people in love, or deny them the right to? Love is the reason we decide to live against societal norms.

But I, stand to question this “love”. I do not deny it exists, I do not deny that people feel it, or that it can be real or true. I do not question that we can be extremely happy spending time with the people we love.

Love is, after all, no matter how much may be written about it, a chemical reaction, a firing of synapses, in our brains. Every emotion we feel is, for that matter. If our emotions are real, so is love.

Then what am I questioning? I am questioning, here, the power of love. I am questioning the axiom that love can overcome anything, is more important than anything, is the ultimate ideal we need to strive for. I am taking the bold step of slaughtering the sacred cow of Love, if not for anyone but myself.

As much as love makes people happy, it makes fools of us all, even the best of us. Love leads to irrationality, self-deception and bad decisions – do not tell me that none of you have never made a bad decision when in love. Love makes people stay in abusive relationships, endure bad treatment, try to keep failing relationships afloat, hang on when there is no hope in sight.

More importantly, I am questioning the assumption that love is necessary for a relationship, or to find your life-partner. It was an axiom I was questioning for a while, and my disbelief became complete, when ironically, I recently watched the season finale of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Watching her make the same mistake twice, makes me realise that in the search for that perfect love, we overlook the search for our perfect mate. Not that I believe there is a “perfect mate” – there can be close approximations, but nothing more.

Love and relationship CAN exist without each other. You can love someone, but not be in a relationship with them, and you can be in a relationship with someone, but not be in love with them (to add another dimension to the situation, you can be not in love with them, but maybe still love them). The mistake that most of us make is that we assume that when love happens, the natural consequence is a relationship, and should be, and should be what we work towards. Sometimes it is just not possible to have a relationship with the person you love, whether it be reciprocal or not. The woman you love deeply could be an unstable, cheating drug-addict. Or maybe she is commitment-phobic. Or maybe she is a married woman with kids. Or maybe she is simply needy and clingy and impossible to live with. Maybe you have a fundamental personality mismatch. You get the idea – just because you love someone, does not mean you need to be with them.

But I hear the objections now: how is a relationship possible without love? The concept that love is absolutely necessary for a relationship is a rather modern, and somewhat western, concept – for thousands of years, our ancestors have been conducting marriage and relationships without the need for such a device. In some of these luckier arrangements, the parties eventually learn and love each other. Do not get me wrong: I am hardly advocating a return back to those days where you let your parents choose a mate – that would be ridiculous. However, my point is this: in doing all the choosing for yourself, and taking the extensive time to get to know the person beforehand, in this process, is being in love an absolutely necessary step? You can be really fond of that person, or simply love them, but is being “in love”, necessary? Ideally, you want to have both. Ideally, a strong love and a strong relationship go together, and that would be utopia. But I am sure all of us know that this is difficult, if not impossible to find.

Secondly, in my experience, stability and passion rarely go together. Oh sometimes it does, and I am most certainly jealous of those lucky ones. The mad crazy passionate love that we are all looking for, often does not come paired with a stable, loving relationship. Often, it is either/or, or somewhere along the spectrum. But of course, being human, we pick the passionate and crazy, not the stable and maybe-not-so-intense ones, because the first appeals more to our short-term sensory experience, hardly thinking of the long-term plan (like Tila did. Twice.).

In the end, I don’t believe in love. I believe in relationships. I don’t believe in finding the one true love – I believe in finding the one good relationship. I believe in finding someone whom you can have a good dynamic with, someone who makes you happy, someone who treats you well. I believe in finding personality fits, someone whom you can talk with even when the looks fade, and the sex ends. I believe in holding on to a good relationship, with or without “love” (as we understand it), and working to maintain it. Love CAN accompany such a find, but only sometimes. When years into the relationship, the love fades, only the strength of the relationship can keep itself afloat. Love is fickle, and like I’ve said before, a chemical reaction. A relationship is a lot more solid, a lot more real, and it is what will carry you through till “Death do us part”. And of course, I know that they can come together, being surrounded by real-life examples. But for every single one of those success stories, there are a lot more stories of heartbreak and pain.

I do realise this is a stand which can be easily misinterpreted for bitterness. It is after all, not fashionable to not believe in the power of love, and the ones who do not are clearly the “bitter singles”. But I do to an extent – I humbly recognise the power of love over our emotions and actions. I acknowledge that the next time I fall in love, I clearly will not be rational, just like any other person. But I hope to have learned from my past lessons and hold on to this single piece of clarifying belief.

I’m a Believer. But not in Love.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:34


# Used Brains For Sale 2010-02-02 20:37

I’m A Believer « Used Brains For Sale said,

July 30, 2008 at 12:23 am

[...] July 30, 2008 by pleinelune Originally posted on Sayoni Speak [...]
# ORen 2010-02-02 20:37

O\'Ren said,

July 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Being in love is most of the time just an image people have of love. People say you can fall in love many times in your life. When you get older, and have supposedly been in love many times, and you reflect on those feelings, you can hardly say you’ve been in love each time.

Being in love is not as much sold by media then by our own ideals and ambitions. How many people around us give us this feeling that they “think” they are in love but that’s not love ?

As much as one can be grateful for being in love, and having this person on their mind every second of every day, sometimes it’s tempting to ask for a get out of jail free card. To have this option of not being in love. And it’s not just about loving a partner, it’s just being in love. Can be love-love, or friend-love, or family-love. It doesn’t matter the type of love, if it’s there, you enjoy it’s benefits, the way it makes you feel, the way it can balance your life, but you also have to cope with the consequences of such love: being disappointed, feeling lonely, being lied to, feeling it’s not going where it should. And again, that applies to any kind of love. Maybe that’s why one can be tempted to put the relationship before the feeling, because it sounds (and is) much more concrete, tangible, reliable.

Any day your kid can walk out of the house and say “Mum, I don’t care about your health/problems, my life is more important”. Any day your life-sharing-partner can wake up and say “You know what, that’s not what I want anymore”. Love is this sneaky bastard that doesn’t give a damn and doesn’t answer to shit. But relationship often means a dose of responsibility, of logic, of history. Love can’t be bothered with all that. It’s by definition, a fall. The harder the collision with the ground, the better. So yes, when time goes by and the excitement of the painful fall is wearing off, love can pack its bags and check out.

What about relationships that lead to love? At first it’s a “combination”, a sort of unbalanced contract, you love me or so you say, and I kinda like you. And years after, love grows. On history, shared experiences, changes each one lives in the relationship, all these things nurture a love that was not there at first.

I think it’s not so much about believing in love or not, but rather accepting the fact that it is not something to bargain or plan strategy with. It evolves, suddenly appears or disappears, it plays tricks, it cheats, it lies, it saves, it heals, it motivates. I just let it do whatever it wants, because the more I want to ignore it, the more it comes knocking at my door. The more I want to have it, the more it seems to flee out of my sight.. The more I try to reason with it, the more stupid I feel.

After a15 years of trying to understand how it works, I realized there’s nothing to understand. I chose to give it its space, and let it do what it does, good or bad. To enjoy the good things full throttle and to heal the bad stuff as fast as possible, to avoid too large scars.

Believe in it or not, love will still be there.
# AnJJ 2010-02-02 20:37

AnJ said,

July 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Maybe at the end of the day, it isn’t really love we are talking about. Just a confusion of it with passion and sparks. And a relationship is some kind of a commitment/promise, which is easier to control than feelings.
# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 20:37

pleinelune said,

July 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm

It most definitely is easier. Funny… when I posted this, I thought I would get a bunch of “surely not!”s as responses, and might be the only one who is inclined to think this way.
# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 20:38

pleinelune said,

August 1, 2008 at 10:25 am

Kelly directed me to these two articles that relate to what I wrote:

Cultivating Real Love:
Marriage, a history:
# HMoody 2010-02-02 20:38

HMoody said,

August 1, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Your article reminded me of my past relationships. Almost all those women I were with, I had been in love with, and loved eventually. But due to unforeseen circumstances (personality clashes, differing values in terms of family life, etc.etc.) those relationships didn’t last. I have to say I still love them, those ‘ghosts’ from my past. But would that love have helped the relationships last? On hindsight, I’d have to say no.

I have not been a big fan of love – and still am not. I see it as an affliction, a ‘madness’ that takes over a person’s ability to say and do things rationally. When I am overcome by the feelings of love, I see it as an emotional downside for me. I would not wish this on anyone else. Really.
# lublubb 2010-02-02 20:38

lublub said,

August 1, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Lol, I do kind of agree with your 2nd paragraph. Love DOES bring out the worst in you sometimes, heheh.

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