I Love You, but I’m not “In Love with You”

i love you but i'm not in loveHow often do we hear that phrase; in the movies, books or any other “romance” related piece of media?  It is usually the line given just before someone walks out on a relationship.  It is usually done such that we feel sympathy for whichever party we are meant to feel for in that context.

If it is the person saying, should be really feel any sympathy?  To answer that question we need to have a look at what we mean by being “In Love” and “Loving someone”.

If we buy the idea that we have to be “In Love” with someone then we have reduced ourselves to victims of the chemical rush; the pheromone lottery that comes with meeting someone.  In truth we have just wrapped up lust in a respectable package to make ourselves feel better.  Okay, perhaps it is lust with a little bit of I like these things about this person.  But whichever way you look at it you are ignoring the “bad things” about the other person.

So what happens when the ‘two year’ honeymoon starts to wear off?  Well, we start to ease of on the bombarding the other person with every language of love and start to settle down to our own native language.  Guess what, so does the other person.  Now if you talk different languages both of your emotional batteries will start to wear down.  As that battery runs low you become intolerant of the other persons flaws and you stop being “In Love”.

Maybe you still see lovable aspects to the other person, so you can still “Love” them, but you’re not “In Love” with them.  Now you have to make a choice; are you driven by you animal nature, a victim of chemical reactions; or are you going to love the person with those flaws AND maybe the amazing positives?

If you choose to stay and put in the effort to be “In Love” the person then you are in a state of “volitional Love”.  When we look at the great writings on love this is the type of love they are talking about.  Love where you have chosen to exercise all the attributes they talk about; not the drugged up phase of “being in love” where it seems to happen by default.

This is not an easy place to be.  It takes work; from both parties if it is going to succeed.  But the rewards are far greater.  When you know the other person has chosen you; all of you, including the flaws; and is making an effort to speak your language, rather than come at you like a junkie looking for their own next self-serving fix.

This may explain why arranged marriages have worked in cultures that frown on being “In Love” and place more value on “Love”.  Sure, there may be underlying socio-economic forces, but you can still choose whether you are going to emotionally engage with that person, or not.  Maybe we need to decide if we are going to love someone, or run away for the next easy fix.

 

 

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Up Your Own RAS

Everyone is; that is up their own RAS.  Your RAS, Reticular Activating System affects the way you view the world.  Wikipedia  only gives the most basic idea of the potential of this part of the brain.

This part of brain filters what notice.  Simple things like filtering out background noise; the fact you’re wearing clothes (did you notice them now?) and what pings out emotions.  Many methods of self improvement work on reprogramming this part of the brain.  A successful change in a relationship needs the same push.

I could spend some time going on about this, but let’s keep it simple.  When you start a (romantic) relationship you plug the RAS to see all the good in the “love of your life”.  This positive feedback loop keeps you “in love”; then life happens.

The emotional planets align and your significant other does something that cause the RAS to subtly reprogram.  This can be a simple as the slow down in the relationship and falling back to our default love language which doesn’t resonate with the other person.  Before long the only thing we see are triggers that set us off to see the bad/worst in the person we loved.

Sometimes this is a good thing; you know, those people that you were madly in love with that we really shouldn’t have been.  Sometimes its a bad thing, we leave someone we love because we can’t get past the negative waves that hit us day after day.

We can change this negative loop, if we want.  I’ll come back to that in another post; but for the impatient search the web for “psycho-cybernetics”.  It’s not as hocus-pocus or rocket science as it sounds.  It started from getting people to feel good about their plastic surgery and is the core of much “self-help” and CBT.

 

PS: Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

PPS: For those of you looking for a less religious motif: Have a Happy Festive Season and a Prosperous New Year

 

Who’s Leading and Who’s Following?

emperor palpatineThe problem with blogging is the you invariably get around to asking some big questions.  Maybe that’s the nature of on part of the blogoshpere, those that are asking the questions.

 

Well, as my small hardy band of followers increases I wondered what gets us to follow someone?  What makes me want to do it?  Is it because we read the words of a kindred spirit?  Is it because we’re following people that someone else is following?  Is it because they make us laugh, show prophetic wisdom or sum up what we feel?

 

By the same token what makes us stop?  Do they have to deeply offend us?  Do we just overload with other blogs, RSS, texts, phone calls and, heaven forbid, human interactions?  Why do we take that far more brutal step of unfollowing somone?

 

Whatever the surface motive I know one key element is that whatever is being said, including the pictures, on that blog are salient.  They are relevant to our “right here, right now”.  How our on line relationship develops is now different than a real world one.  If we keep meeting people and share experiences, even indirectly through stories we can grow to become “friends”.

 

And just like real life we can find ourselves drifting apart. Other events in other parts of our lives can make what we have to say to each other seem irrelevant or even downright heretical.  Something probably much more likely to happen in our multimedia lives than our real ones.

 

But before we press unfollow, we should stop think whether it does us good to have our thinking challenged, rather than hide in the comfort of those that think like us.  In this global village we need to learn to respect other viewpoints, nay, cherish them.  The freedom to disagree underpins the whole premise of freedom of speech.  Let us agree to disagree and defend to the death our right to do so.

 

So before you next click unfollow, ask yourself; “Am I taking on small step towards the destruction of free speech”?  Your other friends may applaud you unfollowing a controversial (in their opinion) blog, but to quote a great film, “So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause”. [Amidala, Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith ]

Love Maps / Genograms

Sample-Genogram-Full-Size (Small) Genograms are very much what they seem; a recent family tree.  From a marriage guidance perspective the interest is in finding not just the obvious biological family tree, but as a Love Map to find where you learned to experience love and how it might have been expressed, or withheld.  In the extremes it is looking for patterns that are repeating themselves, such as violent fathers leading to the choice of a violent husband, or vice versa.

A parents’ relationship is the single strongest reference point we have to how to behave ourselves when we enter adult relationships.  With that we can bring the good and the bad [see the post “This is the verse”] and it may not be clear which is which until you see how they interact with a partner’s.  They can help us to see the wood for the trees in our own past.

The TV program Criminal Minds  is fond of using Love Maps to create personality profiles of serial killers.  This may be the extreme example of their use although it does demonstrate the baggage we bring from our formative years to our adult life.  Unfortunately, what that program doesn’t show you is that they can highlight the “good things” you’ve carried in to adulthood and your relationships.

They are nothing frightening and provide the opportunity to fill in some gaps that can help a good counselor start to frame together hidden drivers in your psyche.  A solid house is built on good foundations and this can be a way to find the hidden flaws in our own.

You’ll struggle to build a house in the dark!

Sample Genogram Copyright of GenoPro (http://www.genopro.com/)

You’ll be the Death of Me

relationship death

relationship death

Reaching the crunch point in a relationship can have unexpected consequences. Sometimes one side rolls up and makes the decision to divorce/separate without talking to the other person. This can be like ripping a bandage off, pulling all the emotional hairs that come with it. It is hard but sudden and typically leaves both parties with their personal emotional model intact (see id, ego, superego).

Going to any form of relationship counseling can be an all together different matter. By no means does it assure repaired and whole relationship and even if it does the journey can be a somewhat less comforting one than you might think.

To succeed at relationship counseling the ego and superego of both parties needs to be deconstructed and a new means of dealing with the conflict between the ids and egos resolved. It is not a simple or indeed painless process. In many cases we have to confront the forming influences of the id, which can spurn rejection in our partner as well as self-loathing. Even harder can be the challenge we face in imposing a revised behaviour on the ego.

It all sounds very academic when spoken about like that. The reality is that even if the relationship seemed on sturdy ground there are chances of depression, suicidal thoughts, certainly anger, resentment even disillusionment. These will be primal emotions; an attack on our id, the seeker of feeling good by or superego, the sense of greater good.

Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster. Be prepared to feel suicidal. The sense of despair and hopelessness can be overwhelming at the early stages. Personally I think counseling services should have a hotline number for people that get hit by these feelings. Not a telephone counseling service, rather somewhere where those feelings can be expressed and soothed, or at the very least make people aware that these things are coming.

There is no need for a rescue attempt on a relationship to be the death of you.