It seems to me….
“Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.” ~ George Carlin.
The Latin word “amor” is commonly defined as love, affection, fondness, or desire. Classically, there are many recognized ways to express love and not all are consistent or consonant with our image of romantic love. “Eros” is sexual or passionate love and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. “Philia”, or friendship, is shared goodwill. “Storag”, or familial love, pertains to the love between parents and their children. “Agape” is universal love such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. “Ludus” is playful or uncommitted love. “Pragma” is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. “Philautia” is self-love which can have either worthwhile or negative connotations.
It is one of our primary motivating emotions but we use the comparable English word, “love”, in so many different ways that it sometimes is difficult to discern what is actually meant. Excluding the misperceived reference to lust, especially by the young, there still is considerable confusion. The word “love” can be misused and confusing. It can be such a powerful emotion it seems unfortunate it is so overused.
Love encompasses a variety of strong and positive emotional and mental states, ranging from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. But it also can refer to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment. Love can be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self, or animals.
Personal relationships are able to temporarily be either devastating or euphoric. Everyone has experienced the depths of despair when rejected by someone to whom they were very attracted. When experiencing those intense pangs of grief, it is difficult to believe we can ever once again be whole without that special person in our lives. While loss should not hold anyone back from once-again loving deeply, we need to grieve in order to move on. It is one of those experiences that all of us as humans share but can only undergo alone.
Actual love between individuals only develops over time following the subsiding of initial sexual attraction. Sex, for older couples might even become infrequent but love is stronger than when young. It seems rather obvious that so-called “love at first sight” cannot possibly be actual love as it precedes sufficient familiarity or compatibility of personalities, lifestyles, backgrounds, or aspirations. It more likely is based on an attraction inherited either from past or family relationships. It also is claimed that “love is blind” which can be very unfortunate when a couple realize their incompatibility following a lengthy association.
The contextual meaning of “love” when referring to inanimate objects is obviously quite different than that for individuals. Our love of a good book, restaurant, or entertainers is devoid of any sexual involvement. Love is just a synonym for strongly “like”.
Somewhere between these two uses are references to family or friends. We love our parents, children, or favorite aunt and would do anything for them but the relationship, as with non-person objects, is devoid of sexual context.
We “love” friends, acquaintances, and people with whom we work, know we can trust and depend on, but that relationship, while personal, does not imply any intent or desire for intimacy. The potential for discord can develop when a couple who work together, frequently spending more time and shared interests than with their actual marital partners, crosses the boundary of propriety frequently resulting in angst and heartache.
Many people love where they were born or grew up but this obviously is only based on familiarity and pleasant memories of when they were young.
Marriage remains prevalent with only about 7 percent of Americans 64 years old or older never having been married (with about 23 percent being married more than once). This might be changing however as fewer young people are getting married or are getting married later in life; about 20 percent of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9 percent in 1960.
Regardless of marriage, sex remains extremely popular – by age 44 only around 0.3 percent of adults report never having experienced any type of sex. And for those married, depending upon the study, as many as 75 percent of either one or both spouses at some point engage in extramarital sex. Most marriages understandably require considerable forgiveness and acceptance.
Married people have better health, wealth, sex lives, and probably die happier than singles. Those happily married are less likely to have strokes, heart disease, or depression, respond better to stress, and heal more quickly. This might partly be attributable to selection bias – those clinically depressed or addicts are less likely to get and stay married. Individuals who are financially secure are more likely to get married.
Cohabitation, once rare, has now become the norm. Trial cohabitation is a limited, conditional commitment which may be right for some people under some circumstances. A majority of young men and women of marriageable age will spend some time in a cohabiting relationship; more than half (54 percent) of all first marriages began with unmarried cohabitation. Prior to doing so, a couple should first consider why they want to cohabitate and what their expectations are for doing so. Living together is considered more stressful than being married and cohabiting relationships are less stable than marriages, couples who live together are at a greater risk for separation than non-cohabiting couples, and that instability appears to be increasing.
There are many factors which contribute to a successful marriage such as avoiding expressions of disrespect (e.g., derogatory statements about their partner’s desirability or earnings ability) constant interruption, dismissal of concerns, or withdrawal from conversation. Those who initially marry when older than 26, are college graduates, have never been pregnant or had children, are employed, are relatively secure financially, and share similar backgrounds, values, and religions are more likely to have a successful marriage. Initial physical attraction is rarely a sufficient foundation upon which to build a long-term relationship.
Occasionally, spouses experience differing personal growth rates or expectations. One partner might agree to work while the other continues their education frequently creating a divergence in backgrounds. This also can occur when one spouse is a homemaker while the other has a professional career. It can be all too easy to forget that a relationship, similar to all else in life, requires substantial time and effort by both partners to build and maintain.
In the past, and in many societies still today, selection of a marriage partner was the responsibility of a matchmaker, a person responsible for arranging relationships and marriages between others, either informally or, in certain cultural communities, as a formal occupation. At some point, marriages became the prerogative of the individuals involved based on mutual attractiveness.
There isn’t any one special person available solely destined just for someone. But just as there are many possible excellent matches available to everyone, there also are people whose personality type should preclude commitment to any permanent relationship.
Many people today are turning to the Internet as a tool for finding a partner with 2 out of 5 relationships now beginning online. On-line dating Websites boast of strong success in matching couples via personality tests and similarity of interests rather than on visual appeal. These Websites all have full time staff PhDs in the social sciences, anthropology, and psychology who are constantly polling and testing thousands of willing participants that will help people find their best possible match. Any improvement is better than dependence upon a chance encounter; physical attraction is fickle. Still, while the data can be very helpful, it never will be infallible.
Everyone, believing in its importance, is optimistic about love. Unfortunately, we have watched so many movies and read so many stories depicting an overly idealized version of love that the real thing seldom matches our expectations. Our feelings of being in love can overwhelm what we receive over what we give; selfishness hasn’t any role in a relationship. Any thought of fairness should never be a consideration; each partner should believe he/she is going 90 percent of the way in meeting the needs of the other. Only if both are able to do so will there be any possibility of meeting midway.
A study by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that one-third of new marriages among younger people will end in divorce within 10 years and 43 percent within 15 years though there are many factors, as previously stated, to be considered influencing anyone’s probability of a long marriage: age at time of marriage, educational level, financial stability….
Love is more than an attitude – it takes work; hard work. There are few things in life that begin with greater hope and expectations yet fail so regularly. It must be built upon emotional health and respect. Both partners need to enter the relationship without qualifications or expectations of how each will make the other happy. Every relationship must have the freedom to grow and change over time. With effort, understanding, and support, the relationship can develop greater depth and strength forming an unbreakable bond.
It is very obvious that everyone needs love. Health and love are the most important things in life. Without them all else; e.g., wealth, fame…; do not really matter. We, as humans, appear to have an innate quality of both giving and feeling love. Everyone needs someone in their life who they love just for who that person is. Someone they care for no matter what, who they would be there for regardless. Love is indeed one of the most important factors that we live life for.
W. S. Gilbert wrote in his operetta, The Sorcerer, in 1877 that “It’s love that makes the world go round.”. If so, it most likely is sex that provides the energy to do it.
That’s what I think, what about you?
 George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic.
 Bobrow, Emily. What’s Wrong With Infidelity?, The Economist, https://www.1843magazine.com/features/whats-wrong-with-infidelity, December/January 2017.
 Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet, and illustrator best known for his collaboration with composer Arthur Sullivan which produced fourteen comic operas.