Writing about love is probably one of the main reasons why writing came to be in the first place. Sure, Wikipedia would have you believe that it was for “political expansion” purposes. To me, it sounds a lot more like one tribe wanting to have sex or cross-populate each another. Perhaps it had something to do with other matters too, such as warning signs or trade, but as much else in the world – I bet it had something or other to do with sex and love.
Time has passed, and the world has gone through many stages of development. Today, we don’t quite know what love is anymore. It can indeed get quite confusing as the “norm” now includes: open relationships, multi-partner relationships, forever singles, bi-sexuals, and much more.
Yet many of us, still want to experience true love – no matter what their preferences are. So what are we to do in the modern world full of porn, sexual variety, toys and lust? Is love lost?
If you ask me, and I am just a single man who has failed miserably to find true love for quite some time, love is not only not lost – it’s true face is only starting to be uncovered. Through the aforementioned failures and a true desire to find the one and only – I have come to believe certain things about love.
First and foremost – love is not universal. There are cultures out there that do not even have the word “love” in their language. With the development of the modern world, love has become more and more fragmented. That is to say that more and more people now have different definitions of love. They have different needs, goals and expectations. To some – living with three different partners is love. To others, being openly gay while having casual sex with the opposite sex is the norm. There are even some that are sticking to a somewhat traditional view, much like myself (although I am becoming a lot more open to new ways of looking at life).
With that in mind, many years ago I came up with a phrase that gives you the first ingredient for finding love and to this day – I find it to be true: “You have an opportunity for true love if and only if two people have the same or similar definition of love and love each other according to that definition.”
What this means is no matter what your deepest principles and desires are, as long as your partner is of a similar view – you should be okay and that does not mean your love is any worse than the “traditional one”.
In my mind, you simply won’t match with a person that has a drastically different vision of what love is. That is not to say you can not be different in some or even quite a lot of aspects. However the absolute key principles should be the same or similar. There are certain aspects of life that you simply can’t compromise on.
This has to do with your individual ability to be happy and when it comes to love, that is the second most important ingredient that I believe you need to take a look at.
The Second Knot: Learning To Be Happy On Your Own
The biggest fuss I have with people in relationships is that they are basically using each other. At best, they use each other equally – creating some sort of a long-lasting equilibrium. However any attempt to try to be happy thanks to the other person is simply selfish. At worst, they use each other to the full, then break every possible moral line and throw you away like an old and used toy because you are simply not as fun and interesting as the next in-line (which will also be discarded sooner or later).
Somewhere in between the two extremes, couples survive through patiently suffering as one is trying to give to the relationship and the other is simply taking all they have got to give.
This concept includes the time when you were expecting your girlfriend to call you on-time or your boyfriend to bring you flowers. It includes your desire to know where the other person is at any given moment in time. It even includes your sexual preferences and how you want to treat your partner in bed. It is not about you, you fools, it is about them.
How many of you feel trapped in a cage in your relationship? How many of you feel that you are not as needed as you would like to be? How many of you get more frustration out of the relationship than you would if you were single? Are you a “trophy” girlfriend? Are you a “supplier” of a man?
Life is an unexpected place and you can’t bet your happiness on anyone except yourself. If you do not learn to be happy thanks to your own actions and will instead depend on your relationships, relatives, friends, colleagues – you will never be truly happy. You will live under an illusion of a highly potent drug that you will be fully dependent on. Take these people away and you are potentially looking at a miserable and unhappy life. Do you really want to bet all of your happiness on that chance? I don’t.
“Two semi-full lakes can never unite and become a larger lake. It takes two equally full lakes that are overflowing with water to unite and become one immense lake together.” – Unknown Author (Literally. Can’t find who said it)
With this in mind, I think it is enough to actually understand this concept and be on your way towards individual happiness and even if you have not quite reached it yet – you should still be able to find true love and work towards it together, but individually. This is what the final ingredient is all about.
The Third Knot: Your Goal Is To Make The Other “Grow”
Let us assume for a second that the first two ingredients are in place, which is actually extremely unlikely. Now what?
Well, you are in a relationship for a reason. We are by nature social beings and human interaction is of outmost importance to us. One of the longest study of men that exists in the world, revealed that the one factor that determined our long-term health was hiding in the quality of our relationships.
But what are we to do if we can’t expect something from the other. Doesn’t that limit us in how we interact and what we do in the relationship? Not exactly. All you have to do is to realize that it’s not about you but in fact – about your partner.
“The Road Less Traveled” by Dr. M. Scott Peck discusses this subject at length and comes up with a definition of love which basically states that true love is
“…the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”
It is the development of yourself and your partner from infancy to maturity. Peck’s definition also rejects dependency and self-sacrifice, which is a part of all the ingredients discussed.
So in essence – it is about trying to both grow individually at first and then making it your goal to help the other person achieve spiritual growth (definition of which can be debated separately). It is about understanding that although you should be happy on your own, if you make it your committed aim to help the other grow, then you will both achieve faster growth and higher level of spiritual happiness. Basically, you will not use each other but will accelerate each other’s progress.
Love is about loving, not being loved.
The Bonus Ingredients: Loads of Sex, Honesty And More Sex
We would not be writing here if we did not think that sex was an important part of a successful and loving relationship. That has been shown both in studies and in practice.
One final point that I would love to mention is honesty. From personal experience, that of my friends and countless stories online – trust comes up again and again. So when you are going into your next serious relationship, ask yourself this: “If we truly are to spend 60, 50 or 20 years together, what is the point of lying?”
Over that period of time, the person you are with is bound to become the closest human being in your life. So why would you lie, conceal and deceive them?
To me, honesty is crucial. If my better half would tell me honestly about her intentions, most of the problems would be gone 99% of the time. You like BDSM, sure – we can try it, just tell me. You like to flirt with other men on occasion as it helps you to feel more confident – sure, I can understand that. Perhaps you want to experience sex with another man once in a while – not something I approve of per say, but hey, now that I know – lets think on how we can work around that together. Maybe you are into girls, Shibari and Kinbaku – if you tell me, you would find out that I am too. There is always a way to work things out, to compromise, to love – but only if all factors are known. Sometimes you might even get surprised just how alike you are.
So to summarise: define and find your love, be happy alone and nurture that together by looking after each other’s spiritual growth. Oh and have sex, plenty of it, while being honest about your desires and actions. Over and out.