Do we find The One, the holy grail, like treasure at the end of some Life Quest? Does love stumble across us? Catching us off guard, do we succumb to it? Or is it that we choose to fall in love, having made a conscious decision to leave ourselves open to it?
A friend of mine recently posted a fascinating article from the New York Times about an experiment by psychologist Arthur Aron who succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. It got me thinking.
I have loved men. I have loved men and lost men. I have loved men and pushed them away. I have walked a path with a person dear to me, then decided to part company; deciding I did not want to walk my whole life with them, having realised I did not choose them.
I do not date. I find the contrivance absurdly awkward and painful. I cannot conceive how it could be socially or emotionally beneficial. I have called very few people ‘my boyfriend.’ In fact, I can count them on one hand. I am however, in favour of courtship. I would like to be courted. I like to be courted. To spend time together, to do things, to learn a person, to do things for each other. But where does this differ from friendship? In the modern day, how does such a courtship differ from mateship?
Contrary to the initial perceptions most people have of me, I am not naturally a social person. I am comfortable in my own company, and cautious to trust someone with the details of life required for sound friendships.
However, when I travel, I take a leap of faith. Choosing to become more open to the world, I seem to be able to make good friendships more easily, and to fall in love. Indeed, I have loved deeply and freely, in ways I seem unable to at home. I loved a boy in Tibet, and another in Switzerland. Why is it that I will not give my soul so freely at home? Why is it that I close off my heart?
I am not a fan of fickle affection in this regard. Casual flings are one thing, but to pretend a relationship is something other than it is, frustrates me deeply. I cannot abide the actions of one who wanders easily between partners.
If we are to simply wander the planet in search of the perfect soul to share life with, it seems we are likely to search forever; or that the perfect soul will have settled down with someone else already. And I cannot conceive how a person expects to begin an lifelong relationship by breaking up a prior commitment. How can one build the trust that is required for such a commitment, the trust required to grow together for the rest of your lives?
But when love stumbles across us, how are we to know that a match is sound? How do we know if the match is worth the investment, that love is worth the commitment?
Perhaps we are best served by choosing a partner and choosing to fall in love with them. Choosing to make the commitment, to invest in love. This option is a conscious one in which you need to commit yourself whole heartedly. In order to be honest and true, you need to blinker yourself from the possibility of the ‘perfect soul,’ and dedicate yourself to building a wonderful life with the person you chose. I think there could be something powerful in that, something empowering. Do you think so?