Showing posts with label unrequited love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unrequited love. Show all posts


Anatomy of Falling Love Redux

The topic of love always turns even the most mundane of us into philosophers. I feel like I've written this post before, so forgive me if my ideas have overlapped.

How many times have you sat and pondered love?
     If you are anything like me, it is enough to make you into a veritable Plato when you are feeling romantic, or at the death knell of a failed relationship, a nauseous Jean-Paul Sartre. It is the high point of happiness to love someone and they in turn seem to love you, too.
     Maybe you have your moment of doubt that their love does not ring true, but inevitably, if it is true love, you receive a sign: like a note or a word or an affirmation. It is an entirely different matter, though, when you love someone, or you think you love someone, but they do not seem to love you in return.

This is quite a nasty affair. 
     Isn’t this what they called unrequited love? To me, it is like having the person you love next to you in the same room but separated by a wall of glass. You can see but you cannot touch it. Unfortunately, it is always the case of inequalities in this kind of love. Unrequited love seems to always spring from one person expecting too much (the lover) and the other person (the unrequited) not capable of offering what the lover needs. The end result is always sorrow for the lover because you cannot make someone love you the way you desire in your heart.
     Added to the torment of unrequited love is the obsession that incontrovertibly couples such a fated love. Even though you know they will never love you in the way you desire you pursue them nonetheless. Even though you know it is no fault of their own that they do not love you, you still harbor resentment which also fuels your lust and everything else. In your rational moments, you tell yourself that they simply cannot love you in the way that you love them. You attempt to console yourself with the law of inequalities. But then, you scan the heavens for a sign and you hopelessly translate their hellos as acts of devotion. Yes, they really love me, you say, foolishly.

This game repeats itself again and again in ever more torturous debacles. 
     The desire becomes so great you are convinced you can will this love into being, or to make the fates change their course. It is the sort of psychic energy that comes from the depth of a person and can also destroy us. When desire turns into fantasy you have the perfect cocktail for insanity. It is as if I have left my own self to pursue you. It is a harrowing feeling. The more you yearn for them the more you lose yourself in the process.

If you have ever experienced this then you know from whence I speak.


Modern Love Notes: Anatomy of Falling in Love

"Gauzy Love" Stained Glass Window
What exactly is falling in love?
I mean, I know what falling in love is, because it has happened to me before, but I am still at a loss to put together cohesively just what falling in love is.

It is perhaps the philosopher in me that wants to continue revising the question even though practically I should be satisfied with a simple answer: "it's when you get butterflies in your stomach" or "you just know."

What Is The Origin of the Spark?
Maybe my question has to do more now with not "how do you fall in love" or "what is love" but rather "what is the origin or spark that brings two otherwise separate bodies together in a dance of mind and emotion?"

What is at the heart of human interaction?
For instance, what brings us into the closeness that we call love?

What must be triggered?
If some of us, as we often hear, do not have the capacity to fall in love, what then, grants those of us who do, the ability to have these emotions?

Perhaps it is really a re-iteration of the mind/body problem, anyway. It is the problem of two coming together.

It is the paradox of one fantasy meeting another.
The fantasy leads to destruction when the other does not respond. We call this unrequited love. This love is one-sided. I can understand this kind of love because it is obviously built on a fantasy structure unable to hold weight in reality. We pity the unrequited lover but also identify with him.

But in the encounter where two come together and something sparks, what makes this happen?
And even in the spark, if I can be so facile to say this, there is still a reluctance to go forward with love's dance. Love begins as an emotion, an idea, but it eventually builds toward wanting to become one with someone else.

Love is Scary
Let us face it. This scares us. The frightening desire to become one with another is both a fantasy and a horrible rupture of order: it is the breaking through of the skin or lamella that separates the body from the ravages of an unconcerned earth.

Love promises oneness.
We are frightened by this oneness because it hearkens a destruction of self.

But, we circle back to love's promise, feeding on the hope that we can handle this self-annihilation.
In the end, we regress, falling away from the lover, only to cycle back into the promise of oneness again. This we call love's course that never did run smooth. Thank you, William Shakespeare.


Essay: On Feeling Unrequited Love

Keith Haring Love
So does this story ring true for you? So, he has not called in a week nor does he answer calls. Voicemail messages are never recorded (the phone rings and rings).
     Nor does he respond to text messages, e-mails, Myspace messages, or mental vibes sent through psychic airwaves. The last time we spoke was at a party, but even then the conversation was limited. He was drinking a beer and gave lots of non-verbal clues that he was not going to engage in conversation other than, "Hey, wassup?" When trying to establish a day or time to "hang out" his response is non-committal: a simple shrug of the shoulder. He says, looking everywhere except in your eyes, "We'll get together, yeah". When questioned why he had not answered any calls or responded to texts, he explains he always gets them too late to respond. Feeling the need to be annoyed, the words "Yeah, I don't think you're an asshole, though" spill out. At that moment there is a tension there that was not there in the past. When the truth emerges that he is not that important in your world, you think, "Move on" but it is hard to completely remove someone from your life. So you make adjustments. The relationship is akin to a liberated son promising his mom he will visit on weekends. Not likely to happen. Abandoning ship does seem to be the best option, but at the same time, you do not sense the relationship is going to suddenly take on wings and fly to new unexplored heights.
   It is a tough call to determine when a relationship has reached the end of its lifespan. When is it necessary to bail out or adjust the terms of engagement? Needs change and expectations dwindle. There may still be love but the need "to be together" has faded. Friendships have boundary lines. There are unsaid lines drawn in the sand. The desire to move a relationship forward could be negated by the other party's unwillingness to go with it. Perhaps they lose interest. Or they got a bad vibe. People are super sensitive. We process subtle messages and act accordingly. The pain of separation is equal to the amount of initial energy and time invested.
   If it is a friend you only met recently and oddly the relationship ends because she moves away, the pain of separation will probably not be as great as a friendship cultivated throughout many years that suddenly terminates.
   The lyric from the Sondheim song "every day a little death" makes sense when one considers the many times love is given only for it to eventually subside and cease to be. Every day there is a little death, not only in our bodies but in the course of our relationships.