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As someone who's never been in what I'd consider a strong relationship, it's something I've recently thought a lot about. I first look outward and notice that many people are in relationships (and many not) and then I look inward and see that I've never been that way: the longest relationship I've had was six months and I entered it because I thought maybe this is just something I need to cultivate and build and only then will I be in a loving relationship. I was more indifferent to my partner after six months then I was after one. And from this experience, many years ago, I concluded that the whole concept of love was bullocks, rubbish perpetuated in movies & books that convinces people to give up on their values for other stupid people--but this changed. After many more years of not being in one relationship I fell intensely in love with someone who I was briefly with and then lost. This was the kind of love that had moments I'd intensely, passionately & feverishly live out a long dull life of labor for to just to experience once more. It caused a complete change in my attitude and life's direction, but I don't need to go into that in this post. So now I sit here believing that the kind of love sometimes depicted in movies or books is real & that it offers, not the only kind, but the highest kind of happiness open to man. But my experience also tells me that it's incredibly rare: often when I've spoken to people I've felt that they haven't experienced it even though they've been in many relationships (?). I would dismiss this as not worth the thought were it not for also talking with people where I feel the exact opposite--that they "get it". E.g. I recently spoke to my friend about an ex-partner and everything about his description makes me thinks he felt something similar to me. He described much of his happiness just being the knowledge that she existed, i.e., the knowledge that someone who was that way could exist and that he could meet them and be with them. And then I compare that to others who talk about a partner and don't ever speak of love or who's eyes don't light up at the topic at all. And I think about how I once asked my love how many people I meet are always in relationships and why I feel incapable of it--and she answered "you don't settle." And that's it. I think that's it. But I've also been thinking maybe settling could be a good thing? Maybe if you meet someone you share some values with you can actually build something that involves feelings as passionate as the highest kind of love? I'd be really interested in hearing from someone who experienced both immediate and intense passion, but that also built the same feeling up over many years through cultivating a relationship. So far in my life I've met many people who've been in numerous long term relationships and said they loved all their partners; but till now, based on my own experience, I find that impossible to believe, at least in the sense that I understand love (as distinct from like or like a lot or even many kinds of other love). But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that approach to life is better--to cultivate as many relationships as you can, as long as they provide some value. Or also maybe they are just excellent at meeting many people? I think if I could line up a particular demographic of the whole country every morning and spend 5 minutes chatting to 12 people I'd very likely meet the love of my life within a few months or less. (please do not talk about online dating.) This'll eventually bring me to my next post (more like open-ended question) on friendships.