The sad thing about love is that it is ultimately impossible. First, you can fall in love with each other. You can feel the excitement every time you meet. You can promise each other, yes, yes, yes, for ever only you. You can marry and, at this stage, feel as if you want to embrace the whole world. Honeymoon can be sheer bliss. You can found a family and feel sure of each other. For how long? Sooner or later you will be at a crossroads. Either of the following can happen. One of the two partners is attracted to an outsider and gives in to the attraction; if this will become known to the other, it will cause a lot of pain, and finally kill the emotion of love; if it doesn’t become known the first time, it will at the second or third. Or, if neither of the two gives in to the sexual attraction of an outsider, and doesn’t even admit it, boredom and indifference will set in.
The one sure thing is, it won’t last on and on. Even if the relationship will be continued for decades, because this is dictated by the conventions of a place, or because other options just don’t seem feasible, it will, after a while, no longer be based on love.
Procreation is a biological necessity. We all are wired to fall in love during our youth. To fall in love raises the appetite to copulate, and to copulate is necessary in order to procreate. There is also a biological necessity for feelings of love and care. Where there is only appetite to copulate, offspring may not be attended to sufficiently.
In my view, nature is terribly efficient. What’s not needed is not provided for. Old age is created by man, not by nature. Nature’s interest probably is a turnover rate of the species of 30 years. We are equipped comparatively well to go on with a partner for a few years, probably a maximum of the famous seven. It’s about an age when the first-born children could follow a herd independently.
I don’t think mankind is equipped emotionally to last in love relationships for more than a few years, certainly less than ten. When we fall in love, we just see all the good sites of a partner or prospective partner. Kind attitudes and good looks… loving, caring, a serious personality… industrious and orderly, or admirable for other qualities.
What’s wrong, we will only see as time goes by: bad temper, lack of reliability, not caring any longer about one’s appearance. And we ask ourselves: were we just blind when we fell in love, or has this person really changed so much. If a relationship proceeds to this point, and beyond, it’s just fading down. Life can be so depressing, day in, day out. There is nothing left to talk about. And then it’s time to die.
Each of the two partners will contemplate what went wrong. If they lack understanding of life itself, they may ultimately think that it all comes down to the wrong choice of partner. They’ll remember the other options they had in life, those that they bypassed because they decided for the one they’re with. But it wouldn’t have been better with the other option, just different, and finally, just as depressing. Make no mistake… the deficiency is in nature. Basically, it’s the impossibility of love.
If I see a Western mid-age couple and the husband pays a lot of attention to his wife, as if they were newlyweds, I usually know what has happened. She had another man and he is hurting. My prognosis: it won’t last.
It also just looks like love. In reality, it’s pain. He feels deeply hurt and plays romantic. He feels a stone in his stomach and desire in his balls. He copulates with her, but in reality, he’d rather strangulate her. Just everything’s wrong. He’s so nice to her, attending to every of her wishes, as if they were on a honeymoon trip. But if you look more closely you can see the bitterness in the corners of his mouth.
And she? She may feel that by a little business on the side, she has regained a romantic, charming husband. She likes to be in public with him, as if she wants to present him as the sample of a husband who, yes, is still so attentive after all these years. Don’t believe it. When he’s beyond the worst of his pain, he’ll be looking for a way out. And it’s not he that will be her final concern, but a good share of the conjugal property.
We know it. One way or the other, it won’t go well.
1 Harlow, Harry F., The nature of love., American Psychologist, Vol 13(12), Dec 1958, 673,685.
2 Acevedo, Bianca P.; Aron, Arthur, Does a long-term relationship kill romantic love?, Review of General Psychology, Vol 13(1), Mar 2009, 59,65.
3 Sam R. Hamburg, Will Our Love Last?: A Couple’s Road Map, Simon and Schuster. Copyright.
4 John Gottman, Nan Silver, What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal, Simon and Schuster. Copyright.
5 Gary Smalley, Making Love Last Forever, Thomas Nelson Inc. Copyright.