The Curious Case of Love

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



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“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
 Pablo Neruda

Preface: This post is dedicated to friends/readers who have been constantly asking me to do a post on love and relationships. I thought what could be better than to startup with the topic that digs out the way we view and feel love. This post is strictly about romantic love; I will do another on platonic sometime soon. Know that I am no expert. I must also confess that this has to be one of my most well researched posts so far. I had to go through extensive reading to get a hang of it. Therefore, any references to a study or a research are not made-up. However, I did not wish the blog post to read as an academic essay, thus, no clear references cited; only where required. What is coming up ahead is just a random take from the research.

Some people describe it as having a unique sensation at the pit of their stomach or skipping a heartbeat or having a restless feeling. You must have also come across expressions like anything is fair in love and war. Such is the intensity as to compare it with a war. What is all this hue and cry about? Is love about the heart, the mind, or the hormones? Does love at first sight has an existence or is it just Hollywood conjured-up? What does it mean when we say 'chemistry between the two people' or 'the spark' and 'the click' - is it existential? Or can we create it? Who are soul mates? Psychologists have given fascinating insights into the realm of love.

To get satisfactory answers to each of these questions will be impossible since these are the heart's deepest secrets and may vary from case to case. Matters of love have forever been the most highlighted theme in the works of sculpture, arts and literature, music, painting, poetry and dance. It has fascinated mankind since the beginning of times; be it the first ever homicide or the longest war in history; love has ever been a conquering subject. This 'magical' experience is a work of mixture of biology, upbringing and context, according to psychologists. So, it may not purely be the work of destiny.

It is said that love is a mystery, however, certain factors underlying at the sub-conscious level may trigger the feeling, and therefore the element of mystery seems predominant.

One of the most vital of all factors is the factor of 'similar being'. We often start friendships (that may later develop into love) through the understanding that the other person shares some or most of our beliefs, habits, and interests. Who are you most comfortable with? For me, the answer would be 'me'. I can tell myself anything I want; I don't have to be someone else when I am with me. This comfort of 'me' gives way to the urge to be with someone who is like 'me', so that I can be comfortable and be 'me'. It also links to self-obsession; our love for ourselves makes us fall only for those who are like us in a way or the other. So, the cliché that opposites attract is totally off. Sharing similarities make it easier for partners to understand each other and therefore, they are more likely to build up a bond.

When the chemistry of one personality meshes well with the chemistry of another, it would continually combust throughout the period of togetherness; keeping both bonded and satisfied even during dry spells when feelings of romance are low.

Another important factor in sweeping you off your feet could be 'reciprocal feelings' - we have the urge to feel wanted. We are more easily drawn toward people, who like us back - we find in it a significant opportunity for self-expansion and feel a surge of exhilaration. And there you go and lose yourself in the madness pool! Unrequited love is not what most of us wish for.

That X-factor is a vital ingredient in helping us have that bonding experience with someone. My friend often terms it as 'a kick' !!! We tend to be more attracted to those having special characteristics that we cannot even point out but just feel. So we often hear our love-drenched friend say, 'Ah ! I love him but I don't know why.' And we all go gaga thinking the friend is experiencing something truly magical.

Psychologists claim that readiness plays a crucial role in putting us under the romantic rapture. A perfect partner can be sitting right next to you at a party, but they might just go unnoticed - maybe because you are too busy at work, enmeshed in another relationship, or otherwise preoccupied. But if you’ve just moved to a new place, recovered from a failed love affair, are well settled in career, are suffering through a hard experience, or have a good deal of spare time, you are ripe to fall in love. Take a dip, my friend !!!

There was a rom-com I saw in which Anna Kendrick keeps a mental checklist of the kind of guy she wants to marry, and every time she meets a guy, she takes a quick mental note to see if he befits her checklist (sorry but I am not so good with remembering movies' names, otherwise would have mentioned). I believe we all have a checklist in our minds; a criteria that a person has to meet in order for us to fall in love with them. If somebody doesn't fulfill the criteria, they are subconsciously disqualified to be a potential love interest. People are usually unaware of their subconscious and that is why they describe love as a mystery following no rules. Turns out, love isn't really blind after all. The cupid is not blindfolded; he has eyes and the arrow is hit well planned!

On love at first sight, most psychologists state that it is a possible phenomenon. As soon as we see someone who fits our subconscious criteria, we fall for them at first sight. I have often heard people use the expression 'She/he had me at hello!' - Ah ! All under the love spell! If looks occupy the major portion of your criteria, then you are more prone to fall in love at first sight. Thus, the love-sick is mostly a gentleman here!!! 

Men are more likely to choose women who display signs of youth and beauty—Women are attracted to mates with money, status, and ambition. The feeling of falling head-over-heels gives most of us the comfort of attachment, feeling of security and settlement that we all crave for in our lives.

If love is such a mechanical and charted out thing, then why do some people never recover from breakups? Maybe some people tend to think that there is only one match that fits their criteria, and lose hope of meeting another. Or maybe it is just a part of the mystery. Maybe after all, it isn't as cooked-up as psychologists have made us believe. 

The topic of exploring love (and just the meaning itself) is very vast and cannot be squeezed in a nutshell. This is just an attempt to respond to my readers' request. May cupid hit you all !!

Yours truly, madly, deeply !!!

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10 comments

  1. Wah what a tremendous piece of writing.. Clappings

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  2. Such great research and amazing analysis. I'm so impressed.

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  3. Impressed and inspired by your prolific writing

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  4. Yet another great one. Amazing flow :)

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  5. I wish you had avoided research for the topic.
    The portions where you're showing in this blog are the best like the paragraph starting with "One of the most vital ...."
    Experience of love is unique to everyone.
    So if we share how WE feel about it would be more original I guess 😊
    In my view, love has to be unconditional, a total surrender may it even be unrequited.
    Keep up 👍👍

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    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion, sir :) I do agree with you..however, I was purposely looking to keep it a little subtle. So I thought some research wouldn't hurt but as you pointed out, I too like those portions best in the write up that portray my experience or observation. Thank you for reading !

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  6. Quite a rational approach towards love. The write up is simply immaculate. However, the views could be discussed and deliberated upon since the experience of 'Love' is relative to each individual. Enjoyed reading the piece!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. This was based largely on what I took from the research. I do agree with you on love having different meanings for everyone, based on their experiences and observations. I think I need to do a part 2 to this post to cover that. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

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  7. Love is quite an intriguing affair of both heart and mind carrying the baggage of ephemeral emotions . For me it is more a fantasy than a reality . Well fabricated . Bravo

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    Replies
    1. Yes, more of a fantasy than a reality and a little overrated LOL...thank you for reading and appreciating!

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Amna's Goodreads Bookshelf

To Kill a Mockingbird
Animal Farm
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Frankenstein
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Les Misérables
Eat, Pray, Love
The Poisonwood Bible
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Lolita
Under the Tuscan Sun


Amna Tariq Shah's favorite books »