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Tibor V. Varga

PhD student, Lund University

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Love is overrated

You will never find your true love, there is no perfect relationship.
Or is there?
Isn't love overrated? Shouldn't we aim for other types of relationships (eg. open relationships, not monogamous relationships, communes)?

Topics: love

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  • Sep 22 2012: The discussion seems to be focussed on a romantic/sexual kind of love. There are other kinds of "love" too. That between siblings, between parents and children, that between friends. That said, I consider all these forms to be delusional.

    I realized that it is a hollow concept when I came across cracks in the wall. The drastic changes I see in couples before they are "in a relationship", during, and after the "relationship" has convinced me that either our culture or our biology has created false gods for us. I have also seen parents doing mean/horrible things to their children, despite claiming to love them. I have heard children talking about the mean things their dad, for example, have done to them and then conclude "but, I know my dad loves me."

    Someone once asked me, several years ago, that if I have gotten rid of "love", what I have substituted it with? I was not clear of what she meant. But if she was talking about my basis for all relationships, it is these two factors:
    1. Enjoyment -- how much we enjoy each others' company.
    2. Trust -- built over time, that we can count on each other in difficult times.
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      Sep 22 2012: One thing struck in my mind after reading your comment - love between parents and children, siblings, etc.
      These things seem obvious, but you really don't have a choice when it comes to these people. You love your mom and dad as a kid (and maybe you drift apart when you are an adult, but something ancient and deep will always be there, because you are their blood), but you never think about what would happen if she/he was a stranger, somebody you would meet in a bar - would you chat with him/her? Would you have something called love? I doubt it... And yet - these relationships between family-members can be really really good.

      So can be pre-arranged marriages in some cases, where, again, you don't really have a choice. - but that's a whole another debate...
      • Sep 22 2012: I have asked myself that too. It is unlikely that if I were to meet most of my blood-relatives, I'd get along fabulously. We are all good people, but our tastes and interests are so different that we might as well be from different planets, in a manner of speaking. What still holds us together is trust, solidly backed by actions. With very young children, it's the opposite. Though there is no question of trust with a 3-year-old, I still enjoy their company. But with people of my age-range, it's some combination of these two factors. With people I have known for a very short time, we spend time together because of mutual enjoyment. Doing things together, and consistently building on this adds to trust.

        I don't know if I have missed some other factor(s) that make each relationship worthwhile. At the moment, I can't think of anything else.

        But how well would you get along with your own family members if you had met them as strangers?

        Since you bring up arranged marriages, I gather from my Indian friends that family background is very important. I guess such relationships start off with a large deposit in the "trust" account. Divorce is extremely rare. Psychologists' research of this concluded that "love" grows over time in these relationships, just as they do in well-functioning non-arranged marriages.

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