In a random moment the other day, without any particular agenda or pre-determined intent, I asked a friend what he thought of ‘Love’. Naturally, there was the ever so slight guffaw and chuckle, before his response of, “oh boy.”
Those two little words rolled off his tongue with the same effect as my auto mechanic when he’s standing over my car engine. Not sure if I’m going to get a simple answer, or be surprised with a need to bring auto parts in from Siberia! My seemingly simple question on “love” could have been received or responded to from various perspectives, though most consider love an ill-defined topic best avoided.
The action of love and the emotionality that comes along as a package deal is not as complicated as one might think. NOTE: From my professional stance, I believe that love is an action not a feeling. A growing body of research shows that our “love attachments” actually have a neurological foundation from whence these emotional attachments come. This scientific theory establishes a link between monogamy and oxytocin-the so -called love hormone that helps bind mates, as well as mothers and offspring.
So then, what is it about the act of loving with abandon, without the disclaimers that so often are put up as barriers to feeling too much, or falling too quickly into this thing we call love? What horrible fate pray tell, may be awaiting the poor souls of the man/woman that gives too much or shows their cards too soon in love? Does the science of long-term bonds really play a part in the social dance of love?
In exploring this ever so timely question in today’s world of a throw-away society, where lovers are exchanged as easily as shoes that don’t quite fit right, let’s begin with the building blocks of relationship.
Statistically, the reports show that men talk about relationship with their guy friends just as much as women do, only differently. Whether one wants to admit to it or not, we do still live in a male oriented society in the western world. The old standards of who calls whom, when is it appropriate to call, does the 48 hour call rule still count, what will he/she think if I call too much, what the heck is too much, who indeed makes these rules? Let’s not even get into the notion of texting rules in this post! That is an entire subject on its own!
Now first readers, you have to understand that I think relationship and sex 24/7; after all, I’m a Board Certified Clinical Sexologist with a private practice where all I do is work with persons with relationship, love and intimacy issues. How can one not think about love and relationship most of every waking moment considering my field of expertise? Every time a couple passes by holding hands whether 20 or 80, I wonder about their story.
The “story” is everything in LOVE. It is the perception and belief system of each individual, merged with the respective partner’s story. This coming together of two parties ultimately has to have a similar story in common for it to work. But then, who devises the “story” and who decides which parts to keep and which to throw away?
This is the part where it gets complicated, and when most of the couples I see end up in my office. We are all “storied” from the time we are small children. Someone in your earliest and most intimate of relationships, whether, mother, father, sister, brother, elementary school teacher Mrs. Smith, all the way up to the present has created a dominant discourse about you. You know what I mean, that you are either the cute one, the smart one, the one with personality and charm, the procrastinator, the smooth talker, the skinny one, the heavy one, the sad one, the shining star, the one that going to grow up to be president, the loser, the winner, etc. etc.
The key here is whether or not you “buy into the story” or create your own story of who you are. This process also takes place when two people first meet. They bring their own stories to the table, but must co-create their story together as a couple in order to share a vision of a future together. This allows for mutual respect, love, adoration, compromise, care and fulfillment to grow in the relationship.
The largest jump that most couples must make is this joining of vision and ability to see the other partner as best friend and lover vs. the bad guy that is on the other team. The story is what makes or breaks the deal at this crucial point.