Rant: The True Love La di da

I am sick of this love thing.

Every other person I know is declaring that they are in love. Few crazy ones are even marrying their beloved. My Facebook feed is filled with photographs of dopey couples cooing each other. The insanity!

What is this love thing anyway?

Here is an assignment that I wrote for an interview few weeks ago. The HR wanted me to differentiate between wanting, needing and loving someone.

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“The minute I heard my first love story,

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.

They’re in each other all along.”

― Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi.

No one describes the journey to finding love better than the Mawlānā. We spend our lives searching to find “the one true love.” We want to find a lover to feel better. We need a lover to live our lives to the fullest (whatever that means). We are in search of a lover that will complete us.

Wanting someone is natural and is tied to our desires, while needing a person is our dependency on the said person’s affection. Love is, as often described, selfless (more on “self” in just a bit.)

It is fairly easy for a well-functioning adult to differentiate between wants and needs. Sure, not getting an object of our desire can make us feel dejected; we might even start singing our favourite heartbreak songs for a while. The failure to win the affection of our beloved, however, does not break us. It does not leave us in a state of shock, grief or vulnerability. When we start needing someone, we inexplicably become dependent on the other person; our happiness and sorrows are tied to the other. Needing someone suffocates us and breaks our soul. Needing is an addiction.

The scary part is that it is not uncommon to confuse needing someone with love. Both come with the dizzying combination of vulnerability and excitement. This confusion often leads to unhealthy, debilitating relationships. Love, on the other hand, does not demand people to be dependent on each other. Love makes us strong.

The problem with “Self”

“Selflessness” is often used to differentiate between love and need. Hasn’t a person who constantly needs someone to survive given up on his/ her identity or self already?

What is this “self” thing anyway? What makes you ‘you’? Philosophers have tried explaining “self” for thousands of years. Recently, science has shown that we are more than our body or brain or even thoughts. So, probably no one (well maybe apart from a few saints) knows about this “self.” Yet, millions of people declare that they are “selflessly in love with someone.”

Are all these people in unhealthy, co-dependent relationships? Or, are they chasing only their wants, their next high? Not really, my best bet is that there are far more emotionally secure people out there than we acknowledge. These people are not in love because they have transcended their self. They are in love with someone because they can. This is why love is crazier than wants and needs because it does not make any sense.

There is no “happy forever after” in most love stories; no riding into the sunsets. And, there is no everlasting feeling of bliss. Loving someone is when we know we can survive on our own, but choose not to.

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What a load of shit! I distinctly remember feeling nauseated while writing the assignment.

The thing is that I can never truly write about “wanting, needing and loving” even with a gun pointed to my head. At the most, I’d spit out some clearly plagiarised version of triangular theory of love, which was proposed by Robert Sternberg of University of Wyoming. According to Sternberg, intimacy, commitment and passion are the hallmarks of a healthy romantic relationship. Depending on the intensity of each feeling, a relationship can be categorised as infatuated, fatuous, empty and so on. I’d even talk about the theory of attachment by John Bowlby to explain why people tend to “fall in love” for the wrong reasons.

Love Shove – Take the plunge into the unknown

Here is an interesting article on taking a nosedive into love. Deborah Copekan of the New York Times writes about how her failed love story helped another love to blossom.

“If you still love her,” I told him, “and she’s not yet married, you have to tell her. Now. You don’t want to wake up in 20 years and regret your silence. But you can’t do it by email or Facebook. You actually have to show up in person and be willing to have the door slammed in your face.” (Excerpt from NYT)

All I can say is this- You already know if you are needing, wanting or loving someone or whether you are just constipated. You just need to own up.

It is more likely constipation.

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