What are the five things you’ve always wanted to know about love – whether it’s true, long-lasting or short-lived? The innumerable poems, films and songs are yet to unravel the mysteries of love. When two people meet, fall in love, one proposes marriage and they live happily ever after. Does it really happen in real life? We ask a few people on what ‘true love’ means to them and whether it is a reality or just a chimera of our thoughts.
Here are five questions we’ve asked various people about love and here are the responses we’ve received.
1. Does true love really exist?
Baisakhi Roy Tandon, a Toronto based writer says, “I believe in love. I believe that people are capable of feeling intense emotions for each other. Some take it further and invest time and effort in it which translates into a solid relationship. Because I have experienced the love of that kind from my mate, my husband (Umang), I do believe love exists.” To second that, Neha Rajadhyaksha, a Mumbai based food blogger adds, “I completely believe in true love and in the power of love. Yes, it certainly does exist. There are many forms of true love, we just haven’t learnt how to differentiate it well.”
2. Is there a litmus test for love?
For those of you who’re wondering how to figure out whether love is true or not, Baisakhi explains, “As I mentioned, I don’t say “true” because that is qualifying love. I believe people change. People fall out of love, people feel less love at sometimes and more at other times-the intensity of love increases and decreases. I think more than love, people get attached to each other and that never goes away.”
As for Neha, she puts it beautifully, “For me, the purest form of love is the one an animal gives you. They expect nothing from you, don’t care about how you look, all they want is to shower you with love every second of the day. In the case of humans, well… that’s like a math problem. The perfect test for love, if you ask me, is time. No bigger eye-opener than that.”
There are times we wonder that if true love did exist, then why do couples go through a divorce or separation? Or why do people never find their other half and remain single all their lives? We ask some more.
3. Why do people fall out of love, break up, separate/ divorce or never find love?
Baisakhi adds, “Let me try to answer the ‘never finding love part’ – there could be a number of reasons. I have friends who had very rigid criteria about the person they wanted to fall in love with and that really does not work out. Personally, I found love when I wasn’t looking for it! It also depends on what stage or circumstance you are in, in your life. Sometimes our priorities are different (our careers, education, etc.) and sometimes it’s just timing. Why do people divorce? So many reasons…I’ve heard people just fall out of love or find someone else who at that point of time fulfils a particular need that a person might have. Some people are just not the ones to commit. Some people want to live that fantasy of “being in love” or “being married”…but everyday life is tougher and when that truth hits home, people generally go their separate ways. I also think that we have been fed these fantasies about how life should be that we need to find that perfect life-partner, that we need to experience earth-shattering romance, that we need to feel undying love for someone (and get that kind of love from someone else too). As humans, I think we just give it too much importance -love, marriage, relationships, etc.”
People are in love with the idea of being in love. The moment we feel a strong connection of inclination towards someone we begin to think ‘what if’ and that’s where it goes downhill from. Instead of looking around at our parents, or family to understand what true love actually is; we like the idea of it being the whole violins in the background like in Mein Hoon Na.
“A friend of mine is currently searching for love and has agreed to go with the arranged marriage ordeal to find it. She has gone through a number of meetings and more but despite some great matches and really nice guys, all she says is… she hasn’t felt that feeling love gives you yet. It’s been about 4 years now… we are still waiting for cupid to strike her,” giggles Neha.
She further adds, “She has watched too many sitcoms and movies which has made her believe her Dr Derek/ Mc Dreamy is sitting around the corner waiting for her on a white horse. On the other hand, I had a love marriage. We didn’t go out on dates, there was no proposal, there were no violins, no impromptu dance, no hearts in the air… nothing. But we are completely in love. It worked for us because we decided to get to know each other better and we fell in love. I am not denying that there is a possibility of love at first sight but the point is you should go out there with an opened mind and not preconceived notions of how you want your love to be.”
As Prachi S Vaish, a Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist puts it, “We humans want stability, security and above all to belong. Biologically, we are programmed to seek to procreate which again leads us to marry and procreate in a socially acceptable manner. These are the two simplest reasons/motivations that make people fall in love and get married. The break-up/divorce is a slightly tricky part. Sometimes it happens because our partner stops fulfilling the needs they initially did, or we start wanting more than what was sufficient earlier. Sometimes in the process of growing together as individuals as well as couples both start wanting different things from life (this especially happens to those who get together at early ages) and that pushes couples apart. It all boils down to needs and wants.”
4. In the present generation of young couples, is their love & relationships not built to last?
“I don’t think we can generalize like that. But I’ll come back to the fact that people change over the course of any relationship and people change in general. Sometimes one partner changes at a different pace than the other and that’s when the rift begins. Maybe the new generation has more to experience and explore and it becomes overwhelming and difficult to just commit to one person for a long time. Maybe lives are busier-people just don’t have the time to work at a relationship and commitment is not that exciting a concept. Humans, I believe are carnal by nature-we seek pleasure, validation, praise, love and jump at the first person who gives it to us. That’s why people break up and move on to the next person,” explains Baisakhi.
Prachi is of the view that it is unfair to say that only ‘young couples‘ relationships are not built to last. It’s just that among older couples since they spend a long time together (even if in a toxic or decaying relationship) they start feeling that lots more is at stake if they walk away so they ‘appear’ to last longer together. On the other hand, the current younger lot is not lacking for choices and they grow up low on tolerance threshold right from the beginning. They KNOW that if something is not working, they can change it and they are strong enough to bear the consequences. So they prefer to switch rather than stick around.
5. How sustainable is love?
Love is a natural emotion, a feeling of attachment that all of us experience but it’s also ingrained in us that there is something missing in our lives if we don’t find that “one true love”.
According to Baisakhi, she feels that’s a lot of pressure and that is wrong. Love happens for some and for some it doesn’t which is a hard fact and difficult as it may seem, we all need to accept that.
Relationships, especially romantic ones, require constant work and ‘upgradation’, much like software and apps which if you don’t update they become obsolete. What happens instead is, that when problems crop up, a couple gets scared and enters a default escape and avoidance mode rather than a fighting mode. “We would work twice as hard for a promotion at work if we see it slipping, but we’ll go into shut-down mode if it’s our relationship that slips. That’s the fundamental issue with relationships that don’t last long term,” explains Prachi.
Love itself is not over-rated; the idea of how love should LOOK LIKE is over-rated. Books, magazines, movies, all sell us the idea of ‘happily ever after’ where partners read minds, where each act of their gets one’s heart racing, where everything is idyllic and every problem can be solved with a kiss.
Even though this is true for the initial phase of a relationship, gradually when the hormone surge fades, that’s when the true test of a relationship and of a person’s resilience comes into play. The important thing is not how to fit your relationship into the oversold model of love, but instead to see how YOUR unique relationship is evolving and make your own model of love.
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