The End of Relationships? Where Does “Love” Fit In?

by Featured Guest on October 8, 2010

By Graeme of couplesoncouples.com

What Love is Not: Rationalized Attraction

I don’t have a background of social rejection or humiliation like many of the well known guys in the dating community. But I do have a quick story that I would like to share with you to bring this point to bear, that will give you a key insight into how relationships work for the average guy. The story comes from my high school years, and I will include some commentary to help with the illustration.

I had a crush on a girl. She had blonde hair, hips, and a feminine swagger that intimidated the best of men around her. She was Christian, polite and friendly — and a rich girl too. I got her number from her sister, and began running the old text game. We dated for a couple of months, and it was great; epic memories of ice skating, movies and hanging out. One vacation, however, I went on a sports tour, and I…I kind of cheated on her. But I didn’t actually do anything, I just took it to a level with a girl where anything could have happened. My guy friends ratted me out to her. She dumped me. I moved schools soon after, but for years I would still be attracted to this girl. I would think about her all the time, and we would still text each other regularly. A few guys and girls went in and out of our lives, on both sides, but I always thought of her as that perfect girl who I could live my life with. I invited her to an impressive dance that we held at my high school one night, and I took the “date” very seriously. I remember drinking a lot, and helping her drink a lot too – things looked like they were going well. I found out the next week that she had made out with two guys besides me that night, including my sports captain and my roommate.

I can’t blame her, it wasn’t a date. Just a guy with an infatuation asking a girl to a party full of high social value guys, and getting her pretty wasted to add. But I was distraught about it. How could this girl, who was so “perfect”, do something so wrong like this? I didn’t even believe it until she confirmed it to me later that day (“So what?” she said). I quit sports, I quit socializing, and I started to go to a low place. It’s not that it’s such a big deal, it was just such a shock to me that she would do something so “unexpected”. Looking back, it’s clear what had happened — it happens every day the world over, from college dorm rooms to nightclubs. It happens when we try to rationalize attraction. As a teenager, I knew very little about what it takes for someone to be attracted to another person. I was just a kid, and this was my first major crush. I thought it was something more than it was; I thought that it was love. The only reason I would feel such a powerful emotion for a girl, I thought, was that she was an amazing person. But it turns out that lame girls grow tits too, and soon after my fall, I realized that she was actually pretty stupid, had no real talents for anything, had huge insecurities that made her seek validation from guys all the time and led a rather sad existence. But “love” conquers all, and I sure didn’t see all that at the time.

Is There a Place for Love in Our Society? Trusting Women, Trusting Yourself

After a guy has been going out for a long time, and thinking about attraction between men and women, he discovers many interesting and startling (disturbing?) things. He may discover that women really want and enjoy sex, probably a lot more than men do (validation from sex aside). He learns that there is a difference between a man who is attractive to a woman because he can provide a lot of comfort for her (the provider), and a man who is sexy because he has strong masculine qualities (the lover). He knows that many women will settle for a provider, and be attracted to a lover, and this alone is one reason these guys will never venture into relationship land. But is there any merit in being in a monogamous relationship with a woman? Is there such a thing as “true love”?

In short, no, I don’t believe in the classic idea of love — not in the way it is portrayed in movies, and not in the classics either. That’s because the ordinary understanding of love is simply an effect born out of pair bonding, where if a suitable man and woman share enough experiences, sex being the most important, they bond together. The reason this is so strong in humans is because human infants are born almost two years prematurely (due to our brains growing so quickly). This means that the pregnant woman and baby need constant provision for at least 3 years until the baby is able to fend for itself to some extent. Thus we have love. Thus we have attachment, thus we have jealousy. Thus we have Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. To idealize this process is to deny reality. To think within your first year of relationship that those feelings will continue forever, is to blind yourself from the stark truth that that which you call love, is simply a powerful feeling evolved to keep two people committed for a short number of years.

So what is there to look forward to, a good friendship? As long as you aren’t consistently demonstrating high sexual value to your partner, he or she is still going to be attracted to others around you. Generally, if you want to avoid being cheated on or dumped, you going to have to consistently work on keeping your partner attracted – this is the responsibility of both partners. Open relationships (polyamory) have become more popular lately due to the unravelling of this truth, but many people are afraid to opt for this because of the complications that arise. So where to for relationships? Is the institution of monogamous relationships dying?

How to Make Relationships Work

Rule one: relax. Once you know the basic truth, that the feelings of “love” are mostly superficial evolutionary processes designed to create ego attachment, that your partner will find others attractive, and that monogamous relationships are an insanity probably brought about by the Catholic Church, you’re free to make it really work. As funny as that sounds (and I hope that does sound funny to you), accepting these ideas is incredibly liberating. It means that you no longer need to effort to hold contradictory and illusory conceptions in your mind about what is really happening. You can stop lying to your partner that she in the only woman in the world that you would want to sleep with, and stop wondering if you’re the only one she’s thinking of. Because the whole thing is a farce, but a brilliantly entertaining play, where you have a certain character, and your partner has another, and together you make magic on stage. My partner has a feminine beauty. I am completely fulfilled in every way in my life, but when she dances, it adds more to my life. And maybe I could find that somewhere else, but after all this time together, the particular style and rhythm of her beauty has become my beauty of choice, and there is nowhere else to look. Hello Love.

If you were to switch from partner to partner whenever you felt more attracted to someone else, it may be fun for a while, but it would never fulfil you. You would be left with the same dissatisfaction of the typical man that can’t get a women to be attracted to him, or of the man stuck in a relationship that he doesn’t want. That is the bizarre nature of human life. So it’s not that relationships are impossible, or that there is some sort of ideal “true love”, but rather it is about understanding the absurdity of the situation, and running with it in any case. In such a way, you are completely open to the undiluted texture and flavor of your partner, which you can cherish and enjoy without attachment.

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