Friday, February 24, 2012
What Is Love?
Oh Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more. You older folk probably need no introduction, and maybe some of you younger folk don't either, but this picture is from the influential and controversial movie Harold and Maude. The movie is a very quirky comedy about an older woman and a much younger boy(putting today's cougar's to shame) falling in love. I've never seen the movie, but from what I hear, it's an excellent story of true love.
This post stems from a conversation I had with my dad on his birthday this past Monday. My dad and I talk often, but it usually is without much substance and centers more on housekeeping (car, job, etc). But this time I decided to let him rant and rave a little more and he got on the topic of love. My dad and my stepmom, I do believe, are in love. However, it is not the storybook love that you see in movies or some of the more romantic couples you know(my maternal grandparents for instance). I asked him if he loved her and he adamantly said yes and proceeded to define love. He told me assuredly that love is not something you fall into, but something you grow into. Love is not romance or spontaneity or lust, but a mutual dependency on each other.
Now, while I still have a lot to learn(as he makes sure to tell me every time we talk), I did not really agree with this. While I think dependency is important in a relationship, I don't think that defines love. For me, anyways. And when I started talking to him about it, I started realizing what I think love is. It's the sharing of a mutual definition of love. My dad and my stepmom, while neither is romantic or cares for it, really value dependency on the other. It seems to be the biggest factor keeping them together and they do seem happy. Now exactly how I define love is a little bit tricky, but I do have a little experience to base it on.
The only girl that grabbed my heart was someone that challenged me. I am very firm in my beliefs, because I take a lot of time to go over them and don't jump to conclusions, but she always made me reconsider them. I don't know how she did it, if she lowered my defenses somehow or what, but she always made me think differently. This is completely consistent with what I value - constant growth and understanding. I think it is important for everyone(but me most importantly, because I do not wish to push my agenda on others) to constantly challenge themselves to grow. She did that to me, and I fell for it.
Now while nothing has ever really developed with her, I realized that is what drove me to her. She challenged me, she made me want to be better, to keep learning and to hear new ideas. I never knew before what it was that I wanted in a girl most, but now I feel like I do. And I think a girl will fall in love with me if she is looking to be challenged, because that is what I do with people that I love.
For you, it might be the romance. You might want to be constantly reminded in new and exciting ways how much your significant other loves you. Or you might fall for someone because they accept you for exactly who you are, no matter what you do, and they will always support you. Whatever it is, be it a shared obsession for plush toys or dependency, I feel that it has to be mutual. Your definition of love needs to match theirs, and then everything else can be forgotten.
I don't think hobbies or experiences, backgrounds or families should make a difference. It's personalities that determine how well two people work together, and the definitions are formulated through those personalities. There are probably some of you discounting my effort of defining love, that that kind of mystic attraction cannot be justified with words, but maybe that's your definition, so look for someone like that.
I likely have no idea what I am talking about. But I do know that those that I have talked to that are truly in love seem to have similar definitions of what love is. It's a trend, and my scientific side picked up on it and decided to make it a theorem. I apologize for "de-romancing" love for you, but remember, I felt it before, and I know it's not the easiest thing to understand. All of this can be garbage to me too on a given day, but this might help some of you with broken hearts. My ambitious side sure hopes so.