“Oh, I love you so much. You make me feel so good about myself, about life, about my past and my future. You do so much for me, much more than I deserve. I will always love you and be here for you, no matter what..”
Pure horse shit!!
I realize this is going to sound terribly bitter and jaded, near emotionally tainted, but hey, I’m willing to take that risk, in my estimation it’s all part of the cycle.
I believe, and again this is based on my own experience, that there are several well known stages that a relationship, particularly a ‘romantic’ (sexual) relationship, but not necessarily limited to, goes through.
The first stage, after it’s been clearly established that both parties are interested, the way Doberman Pincers affirm each other after the sniffing period, is the ‘are you for real?’ stage. Are you just trying to ‘bust a nut’ here or are you genuinely feeling the same connection that I am? This is usually a very brief period, as for both parties, usually, the answer to this question doesn’t really effect how they are about to proceed.
The next stage I refer to as the ‘Taliban’ stage. The neurotransmitters and dopamine and adrenalin are pumping so hard, not much would alter what is about to take place.
“Oh, honey. I feel so strongly about you that it’s scary. But before we go any further, I have to tell you something about myself that a lot of people don’t know. I’m really part of a Taliban sleeper cell, planning to wreck havoc on some people pretty close to you.”
“Honey, I love you and I am so very proud that you have the courage to stand up for what you believe in….”
And consummation does nothing but throw gasoline on this emotional fire.
The next stage is the ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ stage. The chemicals and receptors begin to subside, and the parties, more likely than not, experience the emotional death rattle at different intervals. As a result of which there is a void that exists where something very powerful and tangible recently existed. This causes confusion, second guessing, insecurities, blame and bitterness. Somebody’s gotta pay for this emotional tragedy, normally the other person.
“We don’t cuddle like we used to. Are you sure you want to be with me? Is it my hair color or the size of my ‘disposition’ that turns you off?” etc, etc…
Pathetic, yes, I know. And most people are cowards (myself included) when it comes to this stuff and would rather lie to spare your feelings than to tell you the truth which is simply, “I’m just not feeling it anymore.”
Which rolls us right into the next stage. The ‘messiah’ stage. Where we sit around waiting for something really profound to happen. It, of course, usually doesn’t.
“What are you thinking about honey? You’re not talking much..”
“Hmmm? Oh, nothing honey. I’m just tired. Long day..”
“Okay snookums… better get some rest..”
Gone, baby, gone…
The next stage is the ‘research and development’ stage, wherein we spend a good deal of time gathering the information together necessary to allow us to execute and make morally palatable the final stage of the cycle. By this time, the same things that used to titillate and inspire us about the other person has done a complete 180.
“It’s that thing you do all the time. It’s so annoying. That constantly breathing, in and out and in and out…”
And then there’s the final stage. The ‘severance pay’ stage.
Now this stage is tricky, takes practice and has several different, yet common approaches. The first of which, for people who haven’t totally acquired the required moral justifications, is by making the other person’s life so miserable, they are forced to make the ‘final cut’. This approach can have opposite effects, for example, if the other person happens to be somewhat emotionally tainted as well and interprets such unsavory repelling actions in a ‘reverse psychology’ manner. Which is to say, the harder I push, the more they want to be there. This is an awkward situation, and usually ‘sledge hammers’ are construed as form of affection.
“Please, just go away.”
“I know what your lips are saying, but, I also know you don’t really want me to go. I love you so much…..”
Another common approach to severing ties, a more subtle, American way, is to lie through your teeth.
“Honey, I have an incurable sexually transmitted disease and insanity runs in my family and is now rearing its ugly head in my head.”
At which point she says something like, “What a coincidence. Me too…. I love you so much.”
Another approach is simply reverting back to the ‘messiah’ stage, and sit around (with or without a secret lover) and wait. This tends to speed up the aging process and give inaccurate information to the party in question. She thinks I’m content while I’m contemplating taping a hose to my exhaust pipe into the back window of my station wagon.
And then there is the honest approach. Some may consider this cruel, but I, on the other hand, believe it to be the most humane approach, inflicting no more pain than absolutely possible. Holding them under, ’til they can breath no more.
“What the matter baby? You don’t talk very much any more.”
“The truth is, I’m just disgusted with you and even having sex with you feels like an act of bestiality.”
Again, total truth here. Not very poetic. But it usually does the trick.
Unless, of course, her eyes glisten with excitement and she says, “Wow. You’ve been having that fantasy too. There’s a Shetland Pony down along side the road……”
If this happens, run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. Pick up your things later or buy new things.
But this isn’t a document on relationships, and for God’s sake, it’s not an instruction manual. It’s a writing on love, believe it or not.
My question, to myself obviously, as I don’t really have a great deal of followers. (Understatement!!)- my question is where is love in all this?
What is love?
Now Webster tells us that love is : a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. : attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.
My respect for Webster is dropping at a rapid rate.
Now the Greeks claim that there are 7 different types of love, ranging from ‘eros’, erotic love to ‘Philia’, brotherly love and ‘ludus’, playful love. This is ludicrous. I’ve been privy to the way Greeks love and quite frankly, I find their definition to be pure horse shit as well.
Now Jesus, on the other hand, the trouble-making carpenter from Galilee, said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for those whom you love. Jesus, I love that! Say what you will about Christianity and weather or not Jesus was a prophet, the son of God, God Himself or simply a full flight from reality, but no description of love I’ve ever experienced even comes close to that. Jesus also said that we would know truth when we heard it. Nothing rings truer for me than this. I pray that I should have the courage to lay down my life for someone I love, should the situation ever require it.
I, on the other hand, having used that very same ‘line’ in the past and meant it, like to approach it from a different angle. “I love you so much, I’m willing to live for you.”
Back to Webster. I think is definition of love simply leads us to the satirical question Tom Robbins asked in Skinny Legs and All– an addition to the famous Albert Camus’ claim that there is only one serious question in life, weather or not to kill one’s self. Mr. Robbins added upon this short list a second question- ‘How do you make love stay?’
In my estimation, Mr. Webster’s approach to love will always make love ‘go’. Always!
He says it’s a feeling, usually involved with sexual relationships. For point of reference, please see the very first lines of this document. That ‘feeling’, always subsides. When it does. we are left with only few choices, and eventually those choices are reduced to survival instincts. Fight or flight.
I don’t think love is a ‘noun’, as Mr. Webster would have us believe. A person, place or thing. I think it’s a ‘verb’, an action word, thereby proving Jesus’ statement. Not only that, I think love is a paradox. The moment we try to hold on to it do we lose it. The moment we try to capture and contain it, does it’s lose its essence. The moment we try to force another to love us- gone, baby, gone. It goes from ‘eros’ to a hostage situation in the blink.
This is what I think about love. Again, this is not an instruction manual. For me to give advise on relationships and love is like a drowning man giving swimming lessons. Which is to say, is amusing at best.
I worked in the Virgin Islands for a while and the restaurant I cooked at was right on the beach, a part of the beach which was one of the only ‘nude’ beaches left on the island. Consequently, I took many breaks in the open aired dining room, sipping espresso and.. well.. admired.
So this lady comes up to the bar for drinks (Relatively clothed) and I notice her immediately. She is very attractive, middle aged, handsome and for all appearances, a ‘worldly’ sophisticated woman. (Yes, I judge books by their covers). So she’s getting some tropical mixed drinks and she is approached by a fellow, again, for all appearances, is far from sophisticated. It’s a common joke on St. Thomas that you can always spot a ‘first timer’ because they wear white tube socks with their LL Bean leather sandals. This guy was definitely a ‘first timer’. Ray Ban aviators, over-sized Bahama shorts and a Polo shirt that’s tucked in. Big no no. And he’s frumpy, balding and way too happy. I was surprised to see that they were a couple. My first thought was ‘sugar daddy’. I was amusing myself with less than edifying thoughts when I saw something that humbled me deeply. It was a single look and a gentle touch that the handsome woman gave the frumpy guy. My articulation abilities are much too inadequate to describe what I saw. But it left me realizing one thing- well, two things actually. The first of which was that she ‘understands’ this guy. And that ‘understanding’ broke down some barriers, and the second thing was that, these two mismatched people love each other, and most likely they both know it beyond the shadow of a doubt without having to utter any words about their ‘intense emotional affections’. And their love for one another had nothing to do with swapping bodily fluids.
That’s the kind of love I want.
So, to answer Tom Robbins’ question, how to make love ‘stay’?
You don’t. Love is a plant, fragile at first. The best we can do is nurture it, protect it and hope for the best. Eventually it can become a tremendous stately tree, under which we can take shelter from the realities of existence. But even then, it’s not unbreakable, nor is it eternal.
“Ultimately, all relationships are temporary.” This Taoism claim is backed up by biblical scripture, when the Pharisees tried to back Jesus into a corner by questioning him about marriage in the ‘after life’. Jesus said, paraphrasing here, ‘You’re a moron. Please know what you’re talking about before you say it. All relationships, except that with that of our Father, are temporary.”
In my estimation, this is the best, most healthy perspective I can take in any relationship, playful or otherwise, “This is going to end someday. I am so fortunate to be here right now. I love you so much, I’m going to love you and live my life with all of my might while it lasts.”
Who knows, maybe one day….