😘🥰💖Is Love From Another Unsustainable? We grow, we change, we age, we die. (no shade please...)

I am so excited to post this thread!! @2dogmom has a thread about holding space for people and also @hugonehugall has a thread about your definition of platonic. I just mentioned it over there and I’ve also talked about it with a few other members. I started getting messages before I even posted this! DISCLAIMER…. I know that this isn’t a dating site but I believe this thought provoking article is beneficial for EVERY relationship in our lives not just within the constraints of marriage/romantic relationships. I’ve even found myself referring to it with family members and friendship relationships as well.

We have been seeing things in the forums about love languages, cuddle styles, different types of love and attraction, even accidental emotions happening with platonic cuddle connections. What I find so fascinating is even with all of the differences in our backgrounds, history, our past experiences, and hopes for future relationships, we all still have a desire to find “love” (in its many different forms) from people that are in our lives (even if that’s just in the form of acceptance of self).

Whether you are hopeful for something in the future with a significant other, in a relationship that is non-romantic, open, polyamorous, imagining your first walk down the aisle in front of friends and family to recite vows of matrimony, perfectly lonely, or single and loving it, I think this article is worth the read and CERTAINLY worth the discussion that will ensue.
I’m not asking anyone to say whether there is one right way to think about love but instead I would like to know whether or not you can relate aspects in the article. PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY before you post… it’s a pretty short read. I’ve also included the web address for reference.

I know that this kind of topic will set off emotional bells and whistles so please remember to hold space for other people to voice their opinions and ideas without crazy argumentative bashing. Hence the NO SHADE PLEASE… 😊
I’m going to post the whole article on here but hide it so it won’t take up so much space. I’m also going to write what I think at the end of the article because I don’t want it to influence anything before you read it all. Forge ahead if you are up to the challenge!!!! :)

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Comments

  • https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/09/love-is-unsustainable-we-change-we-lie-we-age-we-die-galina-singer/

    After decades of being married, I realized only recently that I had based my relationship on completely unrealistic expectations around love. I believed that love is something that we get from other people, special people with specific qualities, who fall in love with us and make us feel good. I’d been in love before and the only thing I’ve learned from it is that it did not last because it was not with the right person. Many of us expend much effort on finding that perfect partner, as we focus on the qualities we’d like them to have, so that they can become perfect deliverers of our bliss.
    Meanwhile, few of us take time for self-study which would provide a clue as to what could actually make us happy, and in what capacity this other person could help us get there.
    We chase love as if it will come from the outside, delivered by the person who fits our long list of requirements. These requirements are a bizarre composite of our unconscious childhood dreams, urges, advertising images, and all sorts of other conditioned demands that become completely irrelevant a few years later—when the reality of daily life sinks in. Many of us then spend years in wonder and self-blame, trying to understand what compelled us to choose that person as our life-long partner in the first place.
    What we are all seeking is the euphoria of being in love, that feeling of fearlessness, security, invincibility, and hope. We come to associate these feelings with the person with whom we are in relationship, anointing them responsible for the way we feel. What many of us do not realize is that when we fall in love, no one actually gives us anything. This intoxicating and blissful feeling we crave is actually our own energy rising as a result of our own internal psycho-emotional process. The other person merely acts as a catalyst of this process, temporarily allowing us access to the inherent sense of fullness and abundance within us, which is actually our natural state: capable, lovable, and worthy.
    Since we are so mistakenly tethered to the behavior of the other for our emotional well-being and self-appraisal, we think that when they turn their interest elsewhere that it means that something is now wrong with us and we proceed to wilt from neglect. What causes us to hurt so much when our partner withdraws their attention is simply our misguided suspicion that we are no longer worthy. What we need to understand is that behavior of the other is a reflection of their own internal process, one of continuous change and evolution. Because we take it personally, it returns us to a state of lack and “not-enoughness,” reactivating our own suspicions of unworthiness and inadequacy.
    Not only do we expect love to be delivered to us by another, we want it to be delivered in a very specific way, in our preferred love language. We are only really satisfied if love is offered in a particular setting, with a particular word combination, and an accompanying theme song. Any detail that does not fit our conjured teenage-worthy dreams and the whole episode feels disappointing. That causes great frustration and inexplicable longing that never seems to be quenched.
    As long as we rely on others for that feeling of love and abundance, it is unsustainable. We become playthings of fate, because human beings are notoriously unpredictable and therefore unreliable: they fall in and out of love, they change, they lie, they age, they die. We expect “forever” from a promise given years ago, when both of us were completely different people. We associate stability with a signed piece of paper, completely ignoring reality where everything is in a constant state of flux and nothing ever stays the same.
    The only way to sustain this feeling of abundant, invigorating energy that we call love is to know how to access it without relying on anyone or anything from outside of ourselves. For that, we need to know who we are well enough to know what actually brings us joy, what sparks our curiosity, and wakes up our passion—and then commit to making space for that in our lives.
    From what I observe in my work, very few of us actually know who we are underneath our conditioned responses. Most of us go through life on autopilot, at the whim of our unconscious urges and culturally prescribed expectations. Yet, we expect the other to be the deliverer of that unknown ingredient—the magic—becoming not only upset but outright aggressive when they “fail.”
    The actual purpose of relationships is to learn about who we are. It is not to make us happy or feel good. It is to stimulate growth, evolution, change, and to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves.
    And growth rarely occurs without a degree of discomfort. Growth is possible when we learn to communicate honestly and nonviolently, because we have created safe space in our partnership where we can speak our truth. We feel safe to self-express when we know that our partner will not blame us or hold us responsible for their own emotional reactions to our words. In such relationships, the attraction to the other person is not based on them making us feel good, or fulfilling our needs, or on an ulterior agenda—but on mental synergy, on emotional connection, gratitude, compassion, and inspiration. That is the definition of conscious relationships.
    Of course, this goes against everything we have been taught about relationships. We measure success by longevity. We want stability, safety, predictability. For that, we are prepared to stay in relationships that block our personal progress way past their expiration date and readily tolerate toxicity. We become upset and blame for our discomfort when people, on whose stability we rely, change and evolve beyond the version of them we fell in love with many years before. Meanwhile, when people do not change over time, their lives become tragic, as they become stagnant, somnolent, and usually lose their inner fire.
    The ultimate challenge in a relationship is to learn to form unions with people who support our development and to release those who handicap our growth. For that to be possible, we need to learn that everything we need to fulfill our needs exists within us. And instead of holding on to our partners as need fulfillers and parent substitutes, we should strive to be in a partnership of two self-responsible adults who remain together because they want to, not because of fear or need. Once we get to that level of self-confidence and completeness, our sense of value will no longer fluctuate with the changes in people or circumstances in our lives. No other person can save us, heal our inner child, or make us so happy that they will take away our pain. That is our own job.
    We are the gatekeepers to our inner well-being. We own the power to remove obstacles to love, which is our own natural state of being. We are the only owner and key holder of our love supply and freedom.
    Self-love is the secret ingredient to sustained sense of fulfillment and the cornerstone of all the other relationships in our lives.

  • Lastly!!! My thoughts.... :3

    I LOVE THIS!!!! I’m not anti-marriage or relationships or any of that, but I no longer buy into the idea that someone has the ability to MAKE ME HAPPY. The idea that I grew up with in Hallmark movies and Disney fairy-tales, even Jerry McGuire with the “you complete me”, gave me the perspective that I would always struggle if I couldn’t find someone to “Complete” me and therefore be granted happiness forever.

    THIS COMMUNITY of people is helping me realize that I can SUPPLEMENT my happiness with all these beautiful connections and cuddles, but at the end of the day I alone hold the power to provide my happiness with whatever circumstances I have. My heart is full. I can’t wait to hear what ya’all think!!!!

    The actual purpose of relationships is to learn about who we are. It is not to make us happy or feel good. It is to stimulate growth, evolution, change, and to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves.

    We are the gatekeepers to our inner well-being. We own the power to remove obstacles to love, which is our own natural state of being. We are the only owner and key holder of our love supply and freedom.

  • I hope life isn't quite that fatalistic. If I focus on inevitable age and death, I am mentally fast-forwarding though all of the amazing and beautiful things to experience on the way - THOSE are what life is about.

    People say "no one else can make you happy." While that is true on the face of it (there is no magic wand someone else can wave and POOF, happiness!) some people, by their caring and presence and even unique chemical balance can set the stage for me to feel incredibly happy in their presence. I may feel content when I am alone, or even celebratory by some life victory along the way - but without people to share it with, without love from another which CAN be sustainable and through reciprocity CAN be self-sustaining, I don't know what would be the point of going through the steps alone.

  • edited January 14

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  • @sillysassy , I hadn't thought of threading those topics of love, holding space (thanks, @2dogmom) , and platonic (thanks, too, @hugonehugall. Here we go...

    Is love sustainable? No, because nothing stays the same. We are born, we grow, we die, and change is the one constant element in our lives. Love is no different - love will also change. What we feel today about ourselves, about others, will change. I'm not putting judgement statements of "for good" or changing "for the worst/bad" here, only pointing out that change and the rate of change (the flow) varies. I've lived many decades and had many loves, and goddess willing, I'll have more decades and more loves: some romantic, some platonic, and some somewhere in between. Friends and loves have commented through the years that they appreciate me for seeing and accepting them as they are, which has been true for all my relationships except one, wherein I fell in love with the idea of who they are: I don't recommend that path for anyone. I don't consider this overall perspective nihilistic or fatalistic. It's my observation from years of self-reflection, heart-ache, good times, and... a few adult beverages.

    Your article prompted me to find another piece i had seen a while back. Here's more food for thought, if you're so inclined.

    Article: Relationships are Mirrors for Ourselves

    For me, the bigger question is one of language and vocabulary. There seems to be a growing need to express those three topics (love, holding space, and the platonic) and how we navigate them with ourselves and each other. I can love someone and not be romantically involved. I can hold space and experience someone for who they are. I can care for someone and know that it doesn't extend romantically or sexually, and there are times when I can care for someone and hear the romantic or sexual call. I've loved improbably, and I've loved generously, but I've also been fierce about honoring my own space and accounting for myself before joining (in whatever aspect) with someone else. I realize some of my sentiments are contrary, and to most that I let get close to me, all I can do is borrow from a song because I don't have the words to express how I feel or see or feel:

    "...make your choice... I love you anyway." - Alphaville

  • Unfortunately all things have a beginning and an end. I dont think i will ever be married again. However i do love dearly all of the important people in my life, regardless of how i define our relationships.

  • Of course love is sustainable. Just direct your attention to the countless couples/friends/family who still love each other after many years and/or the ones who did so their whole lives.

    We grow, we change, we age, we die.

    Love grows, changes, and ages right along with us. And while love can die, it isn't a given. It depends on each individual how love ends, or if it ever does.

    • my 2 cents.
  • Yes love is sustainable

  • edited January 15

    @sillysassy this article is EVERYTHING. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. that I have been going through the 8 months.

    I do think love can be sustainable but to do so requires the people sharing that love to grow emotionally with each other. As the article notes though, many people make their choices based on who to love on rational, external reasons (he'd be a good provider, a good father, etc.) or how that person can aid them in some type of happiness or contentment. In particular, I love this quote:

    Many of us expend much effort on finding that perfect partner, as we focus on the qualities we’d like them to have, so that they can become perfect deliverers of our bliss. Meanwhile, few of us take time for self-study which would provide a clue as to what could actually make us happy, and in what capacity this other person could help us get there.

    I FINALLY realized this after 50 years of living which meant the ending of a prominent relationship in my life. I realized I was not happy because I was suppressing, for a very long time and at a very dear cost to myself, the needs and wants of my true self out of fear... fear of the unknown, fear of discomfort.

    I've spent the last several months doing a lot of "me" work, uncovering what does make me happy, what makes me fulfilled... basically figuring out how to love myself because I did not even remotely love me. What I now know, as I noted in my post about feelings for a cuddle partner, is love that makes me happy exists, but I also know I have to continue to focus on and build the love inside me FOR myself for any love with someone else to progress and thrive.

  • @sillysassy

    Thank you for posting that fine article. Here are some of my thoughts.

    The key phrase is “As long as we rely on others for that feeling of love and abundance, it is unsustainable.”

    If we carry love and happiness within ourselves, it can be sustainable. This is easier said than done. It requires accepting, loving, forgiving, and being at peace with yourself, and occasionally making hard decisions that may be quite painful.

    We have little control over what others say and do, but we have total control of our own thoughts and actions.

    I do agree that the unrealistic expectations that society tends to associate with love and marriage are flawed. Sustaining love requires great care, hard work, attention, patience, flexibility, compassion, and grit. Sometimes leaving is the best way to love.

    A phrase I often repeat is “Men marry women hoping they stay the same, and they change. Women marry men hoping they change, and they stay the same.”

    I think more truthful is everyone and everything changes over time. We can and should change, it is the only way to grow ourselves into our full potential.

    One important lesson I have learned is that everyone is truly different. Yes, many of us share common ways of thinking, likes and dislikes, but at our core, we are all on different paths in life. What is helpful to you, may be detrimental to another. That is something I keep in mind whenever I see leaders and self help experts promoting a way of life or path that they think can help everyone. It just isn’t true. Maybe some of the people some of the time. We are all not the same.

    All that being said, I do personality believe our purpose in life is to love ourselves and others. It is promising that a community founded on cuddling is evolving into something more. I feel it. ❤️

  • Looking at it purely statisticallly, the US divorce rate is between 40 and 50 percent. In India, where arranged marriages are still the custom, the divorce rate is under 1%. This would indicate that the choice of a marriage partner is probably better left to those who can disregard emotional factors.

  • People in long term love relationships are comfort seekers. They don't have to change who they are to accomdate their partner, they allow for social integration, they share a few basic interests, they have a shared understanding about sex, money and kids. The original idea of marriage has changed and serial monogamy is no longer the norm. It is now normal to have more than one long term committed love relatiionship over the course of one's life. At the core of these relationships is a state of comfort and contentment. Hopefully outgrowing each other is a responsible spontaneous effort.

    I prefer cuddling total strangers.

  • One of my favorite topics, thanks @sillysassy. I agree with many things the author says. A few of my own thoughts.

    The most lasting love I've experienced came out of my own spiritual journey. People can come, people can go, that love remains.

    However, on the way, the love of many people has had transformational impact on me - from partners to friends to therapists to spiritual teachers - from the simple kindness of someone holding me when I cried to the willingness to call bullshit on my bullshit - others have served my transformation in a myriad of ways. Forever grateful.

    I have some lifelong relationships with people where love has been a constant, though the nature of the relationships has changed as each of us has changed. I have had intense or short-lived loves where we contributed to each other's worlds and then moved apart never to relate again (so far anyway). I have a committed relationship with humanity.

    What even is love? It seems like there are so many forms of it. Fondness, devotion to the point of being the servant of someone's evolution (my child for example), shared experience, shared depth, shared perspective, shared interests. My favorite kind is the kind that blows open the heart in love and gratitude from nowhere and spills on anyone and anything that comes in its path.

    I'm not looking for "that feeling of fearlessness, security, invincibility, and hope" -- I am happy being a human in an unknown moment, fallible as all get out, with light shining through the holes. I don't need to be secure or invincible.
    I've spent 43 years doing "relationship as path" and really giving it my all, using every relationship to devote and learn and share, and to fail, get snarled, fall down, get up, or not. Now my own heart's mission is on my altar instead of any primarily relationship, and I don't have the cultural template of happily ever after via soulmate anywhere in my world anymore. I replaced it with life-as-it-is, falling in love with that. As @sillysassy says, not knocking relationship, have had some serious fruits from it, have friends with committed relationships that are alive and thriving, wouldn't fight it off if it rolled in, but no longer seeing that as my road to bliss.

    I disagree that no one gives us anything when we fall in love, or when we love. People give us their time, their kindness, their reflection, their appreciation -- that's all super good stuff, and especially potent if you haven't had that in your younger life - reliable kindness, warmth, appreciation and company can be a major healing factor for many of us. I've grown up in the arms of my loves, both my lovers and my friends, both women and men. Gratitude for that. Though I will agree that the falling in love thingie can give us a glimpse into our own natural state and it's prolly wise to not confuse their presence with our natural state.

    I'm all for self exploration and growth and growing sturdy and waking up and all that good stuff that allows us to be strong in our own sense of joy and enjoyment. I also enjoy the hell out of exchanging with people and feel we can be partners in each other's evolution and helpmates along the way.

    The actual purpose of relationships is to learn about who we are. It is not to make us happy or feel good. It is to stimulate growth, evolution, change, and to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves.

    I think the author's primary purpose of relationship is to learn about who SHE is. I think there as many purposes for relationship as there are relationships and who are we to dictate to anyone else what their relational purposes should be? So I found a few things in there a bit judgy - not gonna pass judgment on other people's relationships. A certain style isn't for me, but it might just be super healing for someone to just have another person stay by their side for a lifetime. I know some of those. We can also consciously help each other fill needs and even do a bit of mutual reparenting, because hey, we're not all fully developed superstars.

    And for sure giggling with my best friend about our weird ways of seeing things evokes feelings of joy. Of course my daughter cooking me a nice dinner feels good. And, yah, those evolutionary relationships certainly kick serious hiney for those of us who are bent that way But I'm not looking to my best friend or my daughter or a lover or a partner to help me resolve the fundamental existential relationship I have with life so I feel good being here -- that's my job.

  • @StoryDoctor1138 I hope life isn't quite that fatalistic Oh man....I didn't even read fatalistic into it. Thank you for your insight! I AGREE let's not fast forward to the dying part.... Let's be present and appreciate every little moment. I think you and I can definitely agree, (especially as an extrovert) I love to share life with people. :)
    @calineur And while love can die, it isn't a given. It depends on each individual how love ends, or if it ever does. This is true as well. Depending on each person in the exchange is functioning. It doesn't have to die between people.... Its a choice to love no matter.
    @pmvines I hear you. I don't have the same reasons for marriage as I did in my youth. The best part about loving people in my life is I get to love them right where they are as opposed to what they are giving/not giving to me.
    @adorable48 :) <3 :3
    @UKGuy you are right... statistics about divorce are staggering. I think that is one of the biggest reasons why this article piqued my interest. While I think there is something beautiful in a culture that has respect for a relationship and the commitment and loyalty it takes to make it more than just a binding contract, I do feel like I would rather be in a culture that cultivates deeper connections. I'm not trying to say that we Americans have it figured out because we are sorely lacking in some areas. What I do love about meeting someone and CHOOSING to love them for everything they are as opposed to only loving the convenient parts, is that we act like a mirror and people start feeling loved unconditionally and they start loving others for who they are as well.
    @2dogmom <3 <3 <3 you sweet beautiful woman. You are on the road.... We are all rooting for your success in your self discovery. Thank you for letting us be a part of your path. :)
    @MrPaul Awwww Thank you for your kind words. This.... If we carry love and happiness within ourselves, it can be sustainable. This is easier said than done. It requires accepting, loving, forgiving, and being at peace with yourself, and occasionally making hard decisions that may be quite painful. We have little control over what others say and do, but we have total control of our own thoughts and actions. I really appreciate this reminder. I think that's one of the things that I got from the article. We can only control our own stuff. Other people choosing to hurt isn't because we are inherently bad its just their action. Other people loving us doesn't make us lovable.
    @PeopleLikeUs They don't have to change who they are to accommodate their partner I like this. It feels like we're not asking people to be something other than what we are. We're not trying to mold them as opposed to appreciate them. I feel (in my experiences) that this is also more possible when we're not looking for ONE person to fulfill all of our needs. Even in the cuddle world. I have people who are thoughtful and introspective, music lovers, foodies, club hoppers, active cuddlers and soulful sorts.... I get to love every different aspect of each individual because I'm not anticipating that they are going to be able to "make or break" my happiness. I wasn't sure what you meant by this statement... Maybe you can expound a little? Hopefully outgrowing each other is a responsible spontaneous effort.
    @littermate I have a committed relationship with humanity. What a beautiful word picture. This is fabulous... using every relationship to devote and learn and share, and to fail, get snarled, fall down, get up, or not.... I don't have the cultural template of happily ever after via soulmate anywhere in my world anymore. I replaced it with life-as-it-is, falling in love with that

    BECAUSE HEY WE'RE NOT ALL FULLY DEVELOPED SUPERSTARS! @littermate you crack me up. So true. We can give so much to others and appreciate others for helping us who we are and who we are going to become.

    @Sideon It's my observation from years of self-reflection, heart-ache, good times, and... a few adult beverages.
    😂😁🤣 For THIS reason I think we have a heart connection!!!! hahahahaha
    I really appreciate you and thank you for sharing your article as well. It was such an interesting read!! I really caught a phrase you used "love will also change". All of the relationships and all of the different parameters surrounding them.... Even if you are with one person (not even speaking romantically here) throughout the course of your life the "love" that is invoked tends to change. Older and Younger, experiences, new relationships as opposed to those that have succumbed to a certain amount of conflict and found resolution.

    An interesting thing happened this week with a close friend as I was writing this post. She has been married for 20 years. She got married when she was 20. Some of the vows she spoke were about her profession and how she and her mate would always have that in common. She is now struggling because she doesn't feel called to the same profession and her partner is feeling frustrated with her. It was extremely thought provoking for me because the thought of someone putting their future happiness in my hands makes me nervous. She said "I should never have made the promise that I would never change because its so unrealistic" I don't want my happiness (or someone elses) to be linked to something so tenuous. Reading through your responses has been extremely enjoyable and enlightening..... I'm sure there will be many more thoughts on the matter.

  • You are one generous human, @sillysassy. There's a picture of you in the dictionary beside "generosity. "

  • Awwwwww <3 @littermate you are the sweetest person ever. I think fabulous is your word today. You go around sprinkling pixie dust on everyone everywhere. :3

  • edited January 17

    https://media.giphy.com/media/3ohfFw6D2UMI6B2N7a/giphy.gif

    Help me @DonLonG ! I want to embed this and have tried 6 ways to Sunday!

  • You mean like this?

  • @StoryDoctor1138 How did you do that? Share your secrets, please! So impressed.

  • @littermate I followed your link, then downloaded the .gif onto my hard drive. Then I just selected the Add Images button and did the usual.

  • Ah. I tried but didn't see where to download the .gif. Where did you see that? Thanks for helping the handicapped.

  • Right click on the image. Choose "save image as..." Select a location on your computer that you can remember. Prosper!

  • @StoryDoctor1138 Duh. The one thing I didn't try. Thanks so much.

  • edited January 17

    @littermate when we are typing a new comment, there is an image icon above the comment box (the last one). Did you try that one? That is how I inserted a photo before, I think.

  • Hi @calineur - thank your for help. I did try that and 10 other things, but @StoryDoctor1138 gave me the clue I needed. Thanks!! <3

  • gosh I love this place!!! So much love spilling out all over!!! :) <3 :3

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