M. Scott Peck’s words gave me much-needed solace after a relationship ended late 2005. It reminded me what love is, and what love is not.
For one, I’ve never held the belief that love is a feeling. At the beginnings of any relationship, most couples share the “in-love” feeling — their hearts beat wildly when they meet the other, butterflies fly around their tummies, and you’re just plain giddy whenever you think of your partner.
However, the feeling fades somehow.
It may take a week, a month, three months, a year or two, but the feeling subsides and what’s left is a comfortable routine, enveloping your very being. Finally, you won’t have to wear those painful heels whenever you go out. You’re as happy wearing sports shoes instead with a loose shirt while jogging at the park.
Unfortunately, when the feelings fade, some couples think that there’s something wrong with the relationship. “Whaaaa….? How come I’m not as excited seeing her anymore? Maybe I do not love her…. gasp!”
One of the most truthful yet hurtful words people can say as they look at your tear-stained eyes are, “I’m sorry, I love you BUT I’m not in love with you.” And they truly mean it.
Then the relationship is over.
I’m a person who believes that love is a commitment, a decision. Some people ask why I take my sweet time being picky with the people I date finally understand why after they see me go through a relationship — If I’m in a relationship, I’m fully committed. And once I decide I’d like to go out with this guy, I work hard in a relationship trying to make it work till the very end.
Which is why, my 1-year relationship with an oh-so-incompatible Japanese in-between-jobs ex boyfriend lasted that long. It was already obvious we were extremely different after 6 months of dating, but I still held on, thinking we can make it work.
My relationship with the next guy, an ABC, lasted longer than it should. We should’ve shaken hands and went our separate ways after we broke up. Instead, we kept in touch because he wanted to hypocritically show other people how much of a great guy he was maintaining friendships with his exes. Ha, as a consolation, people are now starting to see the real him… a not so sincere him, but that’s another story.
So the point is, when I choose someone, I really choose someone.
Not really in a scary way where I think he’s the One I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. Rather, it’s in the decision to work at it and play the relationship out till the very end when it’s already obvious you’re not meant to be. Am not really the type who runs away because of trivial issues. Would think am made of stronger material than that.
Anyway, all of these lay in the back of my head over the past few years. But all of these again came into being over the past few days, a product of my conversations with a guy I met at a recent house party.
Last night, we talked about the below subject. He said that he never really loses the in-love feeling which I found really strange. Even at the worst in his relationships and he thinks that he’s going to give up, the moment he sees his ex, he again gains the determination to continue because he loved her. He still smiles whenever he sees her despite her being shitty towards him.
My thoughts were, “My gosh, this guy really likes to inflict self-punishment towards himself. If a girl ain’t treating you well, then dump her. There are many other fishes in the sea…”
But you know what?
I saw myself in him as well.
He asked me a few days ago why my last relationship ended. I think we were talking about phases in a relationships. At the beginning, there’s excitement… but after a while, boredom. He asked me how a relationship can be boring? I told him that after you’ve been together with someone for a while, you are already familiar with the habits, personality and actions of the other. For some guys, they get bored soon afterwards.
“Was it something that happened to you?” he asked. “That’s terrible.”
I was silent for awhile, and for no reason at all, sadness flooded my heart. I felt melancholic as I remembered those dark days.
I didn’t answer him directly. Instead, I said, “Some guys base a relationship on how they feel about that person. If they no longer have that in-love feeling, they think it’s not meant to be and end the relationship accordingly.”
As it turns out, this guy is a lot like me that sometimes, I think he’s kinda gay. My joke about him is that he’s always getting dumped because he keeps on falling in love with the wrong women because ha, he falls in love easily.
Anyway, I’d rather not think about it — For now, he’s the nice guy whom I regularly have contact with and for some insane reason always enter into deeper conversations with in late hours of the evening (we blame it on the late hours).
Now that am still single, am going to savor all I can.
Last weekend, I met two guys who seemed interesting — One who was a radiologist who’s a split image of Wang Lee Hom, while the other was a charming banker from a competing bank. Unfortunately, only the latter was interested, so we shall see how that goes. I won’t talk more about him lest I befall some bad karma. 🙂
Okay, am getting tired so time for my beauty rest. This week, I’m in Manila to spend time with my family and friends whom I haven’t seen for almost a year. So far, I’ve been really pampered and hopefully, I’ll get the time to post some nice photos and stories about these trip.
By the time I’m done, trust me, I’ll be 5 kilos overweight. GROAN!
So take care and let me sleep like a pig.
Happy Chinese New Year of the Rat!
Written October 2005
Falling in “love” by M. Scott Peck
Reality intrudes upon the fantastic unity of the couple who have fallen in love. Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual reasserts itself.
He wants to have sex, she doesn’t. She wants to go to the movies, he doesn’t. He wants to put money in the bank, she wants a dishwasher. She wants to talk about her job, he wants to talk about his. She doesn’t like his friends, he doesn’t like hers. So both of them, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that they are not one with the beloved, that the beloved has and will continue to have his or her own desires, tastes, prejudices and timing different from the other’s.
One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back in place. Gradually or suddenly, they fall out of love. Once again, they are two separate individuals. At this point, they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the work of real loving.
By my use of the word “real,” I am implying that the perception that we are loving when we fall in love is a false perception — that our subjective sense of lovingness is an illusion. It is when a couple falls out of love that they may begin to really love.
Real love does not have its roots in a feeling of love. In contrast, real love often occurs in a context in which the feeling of love is lacking, but we act lovingly despite the fact that we don’t feel like loving. Hence, the experience of “falling in love” is not real love for the following reasons:
(1) Falling in love is not an act of will. It isn’t a conscious choice.
No matter how open to or eager for it we may be, the experience may still elude us. Likewise, the experience may capture us at times when we are definitely not seeking it, when it is inconvenient and undesirable.
We are as likely to fall in love with someone with whom we are obviously ill-matched as with someone more suitable. Indeed, we may not even like or admire the object of our passion, yet, try as we might, we may not be able to fall in love with a person whom we deeply respect and with whom a deep relationship would be in all ways desirable.
This isn’t to say that the experience of falling in love is immune to discipline. But discipline and will can only control the experience, they cannot create it. We can choose how to respond to the experience of falling in love, but we cannot choose the experience itself.
(2) Falling in love is not the extension of one’s limits or boundaries. It is a partial and temporary collapse of them.
The extension of one’s limits requires efforts; falling in love is effortless. Lazy and undisciplined individuals are as likely to fall in love as energetic and dedicated ones. Once the precious moment of falling in love has passed and the boundaries have snapped back into place, the individual may be disillusioned, but is usually none the larger for the energetic and dedicated ones. Once the precious moment of falling in love has passed and the boundaries have snapped back into place, the individual may be disillusioned, but is usually none the larger for the experience. When limits are extended or stretched however, they tend to stay stretched.
Real love is permanently self-enlarging experience. Falling in love isn’t.
(3) Falling in love has little to do with purposively nurturing one’s spiritual development.
If we have any purpose in mind when we fall in love is to terminate our own loneliness, and perhaps insure this result through marriage, we are surely not thinking of spiritual development.
Indeed, after we have fallen in love and before we have fallen out of love again, we feel that we have arrived, that the heights have been attained, that there is both no need and no possibility of going higher. We do not feel ourselves to be in any need of development; we are totally content to be where we are. Our spirit is at peace. Nor do we perceive our beloved as being in need of spiritual development. To the contrary, we perceive him or her as perfect, as having been perfected. If we see any faults in our beloved, we perceive them as insignificant — little quirks or darling eccentricities that only add color and charm.
If falling in love is not love, then what is it other than a temporary and partial collapse of ego boundaries? I do not know. But the sexual specificity of the phenomenon leads me to suspect that it is a genetically determined instinctual component of mating behavior.
In other words, the temporary collapse of ego boundaries that constitutes falling in love is a stereotypical response of human beings to a configuration of internal sexual drives and external sexual stimuli, which serves to increase the probability of sexual pairing and bonding so as to enhance the survival of the species.
Or to put it in a rather crass way, falling in love is a trick that our genes pull on our otherwise perceptive mind to hoodwink or trap us into marriage. Frequently, the trick goes awry one way or the other, as when the sexual drives and stimuli are homosexual or when other forces — parental interference, mental illness, conflicting responsibilities or mature self-discipline — supervene to prevent the bonding.
On the other hand, without this trick, many of us who are happily or unhappily married today would have retreated in whole-hearted terror from the realism of the marriage vows.