Commentary on what love may be

Saturday, 20. June 2009

Just flailing around here. I don’t have any answers. Say what you like but please try to notice the difference between your own heartfelt feelings and mind-driven tosh that seeks to be an impregnably right opinion.

This space is for discussion of this thread… which you can open in a new window by right-clicking your mouse.

18 Responses to “Commentary on what love may be”



  1. Vincent Says:

    It is so intimate that I am very hesitant to comment at all.



  2. Steven Holmes Says:

    Please do, though, when you can. I’m aiming to create something here that exists nowhere else and my threads will become increasingly powerful as I gain confidence.



  3. Ebru Says:

    When does an intimate friendship or companionship (or fine confection as you name it) become a relationship ?



  4. Steven Holmes Says:

    Ebru Says:
    When does an intimate friendship or companionship (or fine confection as you name it) become a relationship ?

    Hi Ebru, I know that English is not your first language so forgive me if I explain this in too much detail but I’m no longer blogging for fun and I really want us all to understand each other here…

    When I use the word “relationship” in that thread I am giving it an entirely negative meaning, to suggest the horrible compromises that couples make of their being together once they start eating away at each other’s “personalities” and “negotiating” on how things should be.

    By contrast to all of that mess there might be appreciation, or as the olde English song has it: “delighting in her company”. There might be many other things, including love, whatever that is…

    I am not suggesting any answers. I have no answers to anything and I don’t even believe that there are any answers to anything except as brief Eureka moments when something feels so right you could jump for joy.

    I’ll probably come back to add to this but let me know if it’s anything like a useful response and say so if I’ve misunderstood you.
    Cheers, Steve
    Comment added to original thread, here…



  5. VLAHAKISA Says:

    I would have thought that love is different things to different people.

    Typically I believe it’s when one persons psychological needs are mostly (no one can fully meet your needs, there will always be flaws that don’t match well) met by the others and hence they feel ‘love’ for the person meeting those needs.

    Sounds cold and hard doesn’t it when put like that. I’m much more romantic than I sound :)



  6. VLAHAKISA Says:

    ” When I use the word “relationship” in that thread I am giving it an entirely negative meaning, to suggest the horrible compromises that couples make of their being together once they start eating away at each other’s “personalities” and “negotiating” on how things should. ”
    ———————————————————————–

    I fully understand your meaning Steve, but is this avoidable ever? I’m not sure it is.

    The psychological needs I mentioned – when the gaps aren’t met, one attempts to have them met to avoid termination of the ‘love’ and indeed enjoyable relationship – and as one can never find another to fully meet one’s needs without something jarring with one’s psyche… that’s when the bargaining and compromising inevitably starts.

    I don’t think it’s likely a relationship exists that does not eventually reach this point. The less gaps there are, the more likely each party can cope with the compromises – because they are likely to be few and not overly challenging.

    So that’s the key to finding a long lasting relationship I suspect – find someone with whom the ability to meet one’s psychological needs are as closely met as possible with as few gaps as possible so the inevitable comprising and bargaining doesn’t become intolerable.

    So that the joy from the needs being met aren’t cancelled out by the unpleasant part of the required comprising. Hence it’s a balance, that needs to tilt in the right direction most of the time.



  7. Abdo Says:

    Thanks a lot Steve, for responding to my request.

    But, my god! What kind of English is this! I’m not a native English speaker, but It takes people sometime to discover that. I was reading with the dictionary all the way, and still find some phrases ambiguous. And I bet, the majority of natives I know, who’s about my age , won’t be better.

    Gaining language skills here :)

    Anyway, for me approaching 22, I do have a negative image when it comes to love and relationships. I’m a practicing Muslim, so I don’t have sex before marriage and proud of it, that makes the only route for a relationship I engage in is only marriage and life long commitment.

    I had been personally sensitive, romantic and having this magic idea of love, memorizing romantic Arabic poetry, getting obsessed with a certain love novel. was by nature ready to love my partner more than myself, relatively mentally grown up compared to guys in my age. I can understand, forgive and embrace. Can be funny and HOT! too.

    Meaning the whole life to someone, listening to your name with a tone full of love and care. Looking to you as if you’re the one and only. Beautiful message left on your drafting board (Engineering School). After breaking up for the first time 4 years ago, I don’t think I

    I’ve got nothing except lies, deception and selfishness.



  8. Steven Holmes Says:

    I don’t know, Vlahkisa, whether I am even advocating something – and you are probably right in saying that there seems to be something inevitable about the decay of what we call a relationship. What I do know is that I have seen plenty of people with relationships that should long since have been binned if ever started who are nevertheless pretending to the world and themselves that they’ve got it all right. If I’m against anything it would be blindness to reality or if I’m advocating anything it’s telling the real truth that you feel, and I think there is a lot to be gained by people whose relationships have gone off the boil admitting it to each other. If the truth is told it might be at least partially reparable and who knows, moments of the initial magic might come back

    In narrative terms, if I was writing fiction around this theme I might weave it in with death and rebirth, not literal death but the process of change in our lives whereby one phase gives way to another, one truth becomes and illusion and is replaced by another realisation that in turn will become and illusion



  9. Abdo Says:

    Thanks a lot Steve, for responding to my request.

    But, my god! What kind of English is this! I’m not a native English speaker, but It takes people sometime to discover that. I was reading with the dictionary all the way, and still find some phrases ambiguous. And I bet, the majority of natives I know, who’s about my age , won’t be better.

    Gaining language skills here :)

    Anyway, for me approaching 22, I do have a negative image when it comes to love and relationships. I’m a practicing Muslim, so I don’t have sex before marriage and proud of it, that makes the only route for a relationship I engage in is only marriage and life long commitment.

    I had been personally sensitive, romantic and having this magic idea of love, memorizing romantic Arabic poetry, getting obsessed with a certain love novel. was by nature ready to love my partner more than myself, relatively mentally grown up compared to guys in my age. I can understand, forgive and embrace. Can be funny and HOT! too.

    Meaning the whole life to someone, listening to your name with a tone full of love and care. Looking to you as if you’re the one and only. Beautiful message left on your drafting board (Engineering School).

    After breaking up for the first time 4 years ago, I don’t think I had the appropriate idea about love and being in a relationship. I knew girls from different ethnicities and backgrounds. The same behavioral pattern, which goes with ambiguity, lies and being self-centered.

    I can say that non of them really loved me, some of them were for fun players, yes. but I was told everything might be said and I’m not an idiot. So, what’s going wrong here? That was actually what I’m trying to figure out from asking you about love.

    To be continued …



  10. Vincent Says:

    I think it will be a good subject for your fiction, Steve, so that you can indicate in narrative and imagery the feelings and factors involved. I can’t see a discussion as the appropriate medium for hitting the spot.



  11. Steven Holmes Says:

    Response to Abdo: I’m delighted that you joined us and I’m sorry some of the English seems complex. It may get worse because I’m trying to make this a model blog site by having great contributors, some of whom have their own sites and blogs if you click on their names in the recent posts column on the right.

    Anyway, having you here gives us an important perspective that we would not want to miss: that of a decent young man at the start of his life who is also a Muslim and like all other men having problems with the ladies!!!

    Welcome indeed.



  12. Steven Holmes Says:

    I’m pushing the boat out, Vincent. I want this to be a model blog where any subject can be aired without violence or stupidity. And I’m happy to create space for others to start themes. Cora, for example, will be hosting a subsection on her hero Diderot, about whom she is the most knowledgeable person in Holland.

    Bear with me. It will be good.

    “Vincent Says:
    I think it will be a good subject for your fiction, Steve, so that you can indicate in narrative and imagery the feelings and factors involved. I can’t see a discussion as the appropriate medium for hitting the spot.”



  13. VLAHAKISA Says:

    I think facing reality and being honest is vital in any relationship, and relationships without this are almost certainly doomed to failure at some point.

    Every single relationship will eventually go off the boil at some point, but it is possible to put it back on the boil again – I’ve done it myself once before in my own long term relationship and so know it can be done so long as the honesty (including honesty with oneself) and willingness is there.

    How many ‘times’ it can be achieved if it ‘keeps’ going off the boil more than once is another matter!

    I will live and learn I guess, as do we all.



  14. jeremy_dent Says:

    The idea of love as having one’s psychological needs met by a partner seems a very negative, self-serving approach.

    The English language uses the word ‘love’ as a workaday verb and noun for a large number of different states and actions. Erotic love is only one of them.

    The word ‘relationship’ is similarly misused. We have relationships with everyone we know and meet. Why a close sexual relationship should always descend into a web of compromises is far from clear.

    I’ll watch this space with interest.



  15. dannyboy Says:

    What love may be? That’s certainly a tough one to answer.

    For me I think for something to qualify as ‘love’ there needs to be a timeless quality about it. Lust, passion and all the rest of it can be much more transient and ephemeral but there is something permanent and profound about love.

    I am always particularly drawn to the words of Shakespeare on love, and he sums it up best for me in sonnet 116 in just a few words:

    “Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds”

    This conveys in a very eloquent but simple way the timelessness of true love – and it is this depth of feeling and its ability to overlook such changes that I think best sums up what love is all about.



  16. jeremy_dent Says:

    Fine, as far as it goes.

    But what type of ‘love’? We really need to be more articulate about the precise state of emotion, or attitude, we are referring to.

    For those who don’t have gravatars, see my blog, here, for help. http://blog.juicedigital.co.uk/2009/06/gravatars/



  17. Martin Halfacre Says:

    At the risk of sounding hard hearted, I think much of what is generally talked about as love is a conditioned response; a learned habit, based on a desire for security, protection, belonging etc. In that sense love has it’s limitations

    ‘I love you, but if you piss me off enough, I’ll hate you’

    That’s not to say that love in it’s essence doesn’t exist. I just think at it’s purest it’s beyond comprehension and non-dualistic.

    I acknowledge that last part sounds like a cop-out!

    Martin



  18. Steven Holmes Says:

    I see value in holding two apparently paradoxical views of what happens in these long-term, intimate relationships we want so much: on the one hand they are magical and inspiring, capable of taking us to places where we could not go alone; on the other hand they often degenerate into a habitual, negotiated truce that throws that magic away. Where is the problem about consciously working to keep the former alive, as VLAHAKISA seems to suggest? What’s wrong with stopping the banter and asking where are we going with this? How do we live more in the magic and less in the shopping?

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