It is not true, as the idea of romantic love would have it, that there is only one person in the world whom one could love and that it is the great chance of one’s life to find that one person. Nor is it true, if that person is found that love for him (or her) results in a withdrawal of love from others.Erich Fromm. Man for Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics
The craving for novelties is embedded in our genes.
Like a cat to a new box, we are attracted to new experiences and experiments. Sure, we’re aware of copy-paste pettiness, but that doesn’t stop us from falling prey to the constant allure of a new #challenge or selfie-style. We always want the next best thing. Some people, seeing that “conscious relationships” are now becoming more mainstream, want to hop on the bandwagon just because it seems trendy.
But when it comes to new relationships, shifting gears takes a great deal of due preparation. Think about it: If you were going to undertake a new sport, such as surfing, you would need to train yourself. You’d need to invest in proper equipment and intensive physical workouts. You’d need to learn to understand wave behavioral patterns, pick up the ability to tell whether based on changes in wind direction, and acquire knowledge of depth contours.
And relationships are much more complex than surfing.
So what knowledge, skills, and equipment do you need in conscious relationships?
Let’s have it point-blank: The art of relationships is not a subject we’ve been properly taught. In fact, only a handful of European states include classes on emotional and intimate relationships in school curricula. Meanwhile, coaches who promise to teach you how to become the object of one or several partners’ desire do it at the amateur level.
The truth of the matter is that modern, 21st-century relationships find their best footing not in astrology charts or familial pacts, but in agreements about love, sexual desire, and joint plans.
The science of love lacks renowned experts on the scale of other sociological disciplines, competent researchers in the field do exist. Provided, they work without a snappy, defined formula for love – it’s hard to make things as good-looking as the famous Е = MC^2. But they’ve spent many years studying and describing the phenomenon of love. We’re speaking in particular about Fromm, Frankl, and Kernberg. And it’s Kernberg’s books in particular that define two types of love: mature and immature.
With the ideas given below, you can compare scientific opinions to your personal experience.
We can each return to childhood memories to recollect our first feelings of infatuation, usually with a celebrity l. The overwhelming sensations of adoration and admiration imbued us with happiness, but it was nothing but ivory-towering: our impression of the celebrity was made of pure fantasies or fragmentary information from media, while their real character and lifestyle could have shocked us. Think about the throngs of girls in love with Michael Jackson boys worshipping Madonna. How long would this love had lasted if they had actually been by their idol’s side for a month, or two months, or half a year?
Our infatuation with an idealized object is called “immature love.” When experiencing immature love, we expect everything to be a perfect match with the (imagined) object of our affections. Every little collision with reality ends in disappointment. After all, maturity prefers real things to illusions.
Another type of immature love is alliance built for the sake of freedom. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but for some of us, our first childhood served just to “tune out” parents’ will. This is when, together with your love, you can venture out to do things that neither of you is bold enough to do alone – namely, live the way you want and rebel against parental expectations. A sort of hiding in each other. People often leave home like this: not daring to simply tell the adults, “I don’t want to live with you anymore,” but finding the strength to say, “I want to live with my partner.”.
Dependency and one of its variations – Stockholm syndrome – is another form of immature love. This occurs when an object has something we need. We choose the path of least resistance – falling in love instead of fighting. Our freedom, money, sex, knowledge, apartments: anything can become a resource. Infatuation is just an instrument of getting what we desired. Our minds shield us from comprehending real things, making this type of immaturity so difficult to become aware of. As such, we never consider facts, instead of proceeding with reluctance, turning a blind eye to our benefits and dependency.
Mature love, on the other hand, often adheres to a list of attributes. We have compiled this list based on the books of people studying it, as well as personal experience gained in numerous relationships:
1. The ability to depend situationally on a partner (when being happy, ill, suffering from traumas or bereavements)
For instance, you’re running a fever over 100˚ F. You feel terrible. Can you trust your partner to sponge you down, make tea, and monitor your timely drug intake, or would you prefer to stick stubbornly to your pride and do it all yourself?
2. The ability to tell a partner something that makes you lose face
This is your willingness to confess everything from cheating on exams as a child to being turned on by your fitness instructor, and from being treated to a long drink yesterday in the bar to having a queer experience in your early years. Why should you? Well, here it’s not the purpose, yet the willingness, to do it that matters.
3. The ability to forgive your partner
Sometimes a partner can be cruel, their behavior illogical and ungrounded. Are you ready to find out their motives, or would you prefer to immediately leave?
4. A genuine interest in your partner’s life
You know your partner’s preferences in food, sports, movies, sex, and people; their fetishes and kinks; their favorite books and actors; their favorite places in your city and favorite cities of the world; their choice of clothing brands and trademark catchphrases. You know whether they are light-hearted or serious. And this knowledge does not come from your partner continuously telling you, but as a result of your attention and care.
You understand that everything they do for you is not the duty of a loving person but a daily present you receive. Waiting for you, visiting various places together, cooking, keeping one’s stuff and belongings in order – this is all a routine you do for each other and are thankful for.
6. Connecting on a cultural level
If you are a Capulet and your partner is a Montague, how can you ever possibly be together? You’ll have to start a new clan of Montague-Capulets and find common values, otherwise, it shall be hard to fulfill the first three points of our list.
7. Joint problem solving
You and your partner are responsive to each other’s wishes. For instance, you put on headphones to watch a movie during your partner’s Sanskrit Skype class, and you wait for each other to dine together. Y
our common decisions consider your individual interests.
8. Sexual desire for your partner and accepting their body along with all the transformations that occur over the course of time
It’s good to be 25: You’ve had a sound sleep, jogged around the block, and taken a shower, and now you’re the picture of health. But will a partner’s desire survive the 3 sleepless nights they’ve had before a project release? Will you still like your partner after they gained 5 kilos after 3 months with a plaster cast?
9. Understanding your partner’s inability to meet all your needs and desires regarding sex
Forgiveness seems to be the hardest deed. And yet your partner struggles to accept that they can’t meet the impossibly high expectations you subconsciously have for your “perfect” partner. In some way or another, they will fall short. Perhaps they’ll fail to have the picture-perfect body or will beat you in a chess-playing game. Maybe they’ll speak fewer foreign languages than you would like and happen to hate your favorite film. Something will always fail to meet your expectations. And you will fail to meet theirs. And the question is – how will you both deal with it?
If you understand and accept the aforementioned attributes, the only thing left is to check whether you possess all the tools needed to begin a conscious relationship.
Conscious relationships consist of the ability to act independently and take care of yourself in everything from everyday monotony to sex and entertainment. Then your choice of partner can be honest and independent of daily wants.
And if you desire to live together in a couple, throuple, or even more, the decision is grounded in the desire to share rather than the desperation to get.
Couples break up often, usually when they lack a solid knowledge of relationship-building and rely on nothing but vague assumptions, premonitions, love stories, and the hope for a miracle.
Conscious relationships are much more sophisticated than traditional couples: Here, every facet of mature love must be multiplied by two.
Whatever you want to try, however “weird” are the waves of relationships you plan to ride, having a critical discussion with someone you trust will help others to see whether things sound as perfect from the outside as they do from the inside.
The 21st-century is the era of niche specialization. You can peruse a long list of professionals and experts at scientific conferences or use a recruiter to get the same. Yet in the field of meaningful conscious family relationships, the experts are still few.
The only way out lies in performing your own search for expert knowledge, making decisions based on personal experience and the best practices of the people whose authority you respect.
Originally posted on FantasyApp.