Originally written in May 2013
One’s ability to love truly (true love = respect, empathy, compassion) grows in direct proportion to wisdom gained through understanding life. And that is the only way.
Romantic love (as against true love) is everything love should not be about.
Attachment – the kind that entails pining and mental agony – between man and woman is romantic love, which being mating drive is about reproduction/sex. That love which depends on sexual act for its expression is but a sexual desire in disguise of love. Be ruled by sexual instincts (animal nature) and prepare to be miserable.
Is it because we fall in “love” that we have sex (to express love), or because we have to have sex (so that the species continues) that we fall in love? Reproduction is the primary function of any organism. So the latter, doubtless, is true. Thus, there is nothing great or special about romantic love.
To indulge in purely romantic love is to surrender whatever autonomy one has and leave oneself at the mercy of brutal natural/biological forces. For one doesn’t develop romantic love for reasons palatable to one’s mind, and one would lose the feelings in the same way, too. Where the head doesn’t have a say, the indulgence is of animal nature. That is why romantic love is such a waste of life for the creatures of intellect.
Today romantic love is a huge psychological cost to pay for sex. Romantic love exists because in the evolutionary past sex meant producing an offspring whose survival was best ensured when the parents stayed together. Hence, the mechanism evolved which made the mating partners fall in love so that they could concentrate their mating energy on each other exclusively. In our times, however, sex more often than not means pleasure or fulfillment of bodily need – consciously keeping an offspring out of the way. Even when it means producing an offspring, the environment is good enough for the offspring to survive without the parents being together. Romantic love, therefore, is redundant.
True love (empathy, compassion, respect), unlike romantic love, is maintained at a psychological cost of defying the universe (natural forces) for greater human goals (family and life-long companionship). Only the best and the greatest human beings can achieve it, especially in modern times.
Advisably, one should not make any important decision of life when under the effect of romantic love. The tragedy is, we are tempted by nature to make the most important decision of life – about life companionship or marriage – in that state.
People in “love” don’t want to be together when the “spark” is gone. Let me break this: The spark is like a high one gets when one is drunk. The reality of a relationship begins where the spark ends. For a fulfilling, long-term relationship, one should choose one’s partner for the reality, not for the spark. If one is lucky, the spark may remain, but that should be secondary.
If romantic love can not be bypassed, it should follow – not precede – commitment which is based on good reasons like matching thoughts and interests, common goals,.. Even practical reasons traditional arranged marriages were based on are better than romantic biological pull or a mere crush. A couple united through arranged marriage or a couple united because they have common goals in life developing romantic love for each other subsequently is the good way to be in love.
True love and passionate sex can rarely survive together on their own for long. Sexual passion requires romance (romantic love), and romance thrives on mystery – not on honesty and sincerity. Mysterious (dishonest, insincere, aloof,..) assholes are, therefore, more successful at scoring women and keeping their passion alive than dutiful beta males. There is, thus, a trade-off between love (respect-empathy-compassion) and (passionate-) sex.
Faithfulness in relationship is possible but not natural. If people join together because of biological pull – popularly known as romantic love – it is next to impossible, because this love is by nature impermanent. That is the reason in cultures of the past it was condemned. In the present times faithfulness is only possible if two persons are living by conventional wisdom (which is nowhere to be seen) or they are highly philosophically developed and rational enough to not be ruled by biological instincts.
When romantic love becomes the valid basis for marriage, the era of marriage is reaching its end.