♫♪♫♪♫Bitter-sweet memories, that's all I have, and all I'm taking with me. Good-bye, oh, please don't cry, cause we both know that I'm not what you need and … I will always love you...♫♪♫♪♫
Recognise the lyrics of the Dolly Parton, made more even more famous by Whitney Houston and now sang by just about every wannabe songstress on talent shows the world over, song? If there is a contemporary song that goes against the thinking that 'love conquers all', it is this song. No matter how many inspiring 'love' quotes you can find, we all know that we could have destructive loving relationships and whilst I am concentrating on romantic love in this post, it is also true of other relationships.
What makes romantic love different is that it is not driven by kinship, as in blood relations, but instead is driven by the biological need to create new kin, read children, and is triggered by no more than physical attraction, a feeling that sometimes could be as strong as lust. Scientists have spent countless hours trying to determine how this attraction works. The root cause appears to be evolutionary at a subconscious level and is can be environmentally and culturally affected.
Well, my theory is that once this initial attraction stage is over, the 'dating' stage is next. This is where attraction translates, or not, into the initial ' infatuation' stage where there is more of a meeting of minds as well as the physical aspect. During this stage, logic should return and you should be able to discover if this is really the person you should be with based on what you need, your hopes and dreams, where whether this is the future parent of your children or the time when you discover if you should be running for the hills. If not, then the 'infatuation' slowly ebbs away and you slip into the 'mature' romantic stage. However, dating appears to have taken some kind of commitment element in this day and age and I see so many people somehow feeling compelled to hold on. This is where you should get to realise that love is just not enough.
We are human beings and we tend to grow – how dare we? As we get older and hopefully wiser, our needs, hopes and dreams can and should change. In the case of mature romantic love, this can be problematic as there are two sets of needs, hopes and dreams that have to be catered for. This is where all the common advise of compromise in successful relationships comes from. But what happens when the compromise results into two very unhappy people? Unhappy relationships can also mean unhappy families – so more unhappy people! It is sad to discover at this stage that you are not what each other needs, so if you can, do it before you commit.
In the old days, when a person's options were limited anyway, there were social and religious rules that allowed for couples to co-exist in relatively accepted roles. This is no longer the case in many Western societies and other societies are following suit. Additionally, both men and women have a much larger choice of options.
If you are a family orientated person, then don't stay with someone who isn't and certainly do not start a family with them. If you dream of travelling the world before you settle into a career or family life, run away from a person who really wants to buy a farm and settle down straight away. If you have a need for someone to support you in your career choice, then don't settle with someone who will need the exact thing from you! If you think that 'love will find a way', you are in for a rude awakening.
I will touch on the subject of love again in a future post but in the meantime, may you find the balance.