Is Love Enough?
I was recently sent this article called “Love Is Not Enough”, which provided a refreshing take on relationships and our expectations of love. In a nutshell, it talks about 3 things:
1. Love does not equal compatibility.
2. Love does not solve our problems.
3. Love is not worth sacrificing yourself.
The above mentioned are things that have somehow been engraved in our psyche about how our relationships should be, the idea that you’re made for each other, can conquer anything together, and worth giving your all.
I think on some level, we know that these things aren’t true and that we should replace love goggles with reality goggles when we’re in a relationship. But unfortunately, even the most disciplined and informed of us are as vulnerable as a ripe tomato when it comes to love. I mean, knowing that owning an iPhone 6 won’t satisfy you on a deep level doesn’t stop you from straddling the limits of frugality to save up to buy one.
For me, I want to add another point to this list, which is that “Love is always manipulated”. This is not to say that love is a backstabbing liar. What I mean by this is what we conceive of as ‘love’ (in this present moment) is heavily dependent upon our understanding of ourselves, surroundings, and the circumstances of our live. Much of this has to do with age, but it’s not the only factor.
I suppose the classic example would be long distance. Many people (not all) falsely identify dependence/familiarity as love. You may love someone but harnessing the power to stay together under unfavorable circumstances may be down to the distance and not genuine love. If they couple stayed in the same place, then they might not have lasted as long as they did. This also goes along with how personal lows can strengthen attachment and feelings of love for the partner.
So when is love not manipulated by the circumstances of our lives? Never. Regardless of what point you are in your life, there is something nuance that pushes you to be in a relationship with a specific person. Whatever the reason – whether it’s loneliness, desire to try something new, boredom even – that love is never pure and is constantly changing. As we come to better understand ourselves and the other person, the relationship may be less manipulated and built on a more pure mutual connection.
Even so, it’s always difficult to pinpoint which great love is truly a great love and which is built on a thwarted understanding of what it is. I don't want to be all "love is just a chemical reaction in the brain blah blah blah"; I still believe in the notion of a fulfilling relationship and I know it to be a great source of happiness. But that doesn't change the fact that it's not always what it seems. But it's fine.
What do you guys think?