1 – There isn’t just one soul mate – One True Love, Mr or Mrs Right hovering around the next corner. There are dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people you could have a fabulous, loving time with. The soul mate theory of love may be seductive but it can also be deeply problematic. It seduces with the idea that love is about finding that one person in the world who is just like you. ‘I’ll know when my love comes along’; but what if you miss them or happen to be looking on the other side of the street?
2 – The other problem with the soul mate theory of love is that it seduces with the idea that ‘True Love’ should be easy. We will just fit together like the slipper on Cinderella’s foot and never have to do the real work of building a relationship. Real love tends to grow as we cement links over time and navigate the numerous and inevitable differences between us. Differences in background, opinions, attitudes to how we spend our time, our money, where we live. This is the nitty gritty of love.
3 – Sometimes when people say ‘I Love You’ they don’t necessarily mean it in the way you might want it to mean. You can love different people in different ways – romantically, passionately, fraternally, respectfully. These are all equally valuable, it’s just that we seem to value romantic love higher than any other.
4 – ‘Love at first sight’ is actually a deep and penetrating lust. It’s astonishing when it happens – eyes meet, the rest of the world falls away. You have no idea who this person is, but feel an overwhelming, magnetic attraction to them. It is a delicious feeling and for some people these electric moments deepen into something more permanent. But for most of us, falling in love happens a little slower, as we get to know someone and like them more and more.
5 – Don’t believe the clichés:
Love means never having to say you’re sorry – Fact – If you love someone you should treat them with all of the same courtesies and respect you would give to anybody else. That means apologising when you say or do something hurtful and learning how to forgive each other for being human, for making mistakes.
Love will keep us together – Fact – it is more likely to drive you apart. Relationships which last are built on a deep, respectful friendship where differences can be discussed and compromises reached.
If you really loved me you would change/know what I want without my having to say – Fact – the most successful loving relationships are not built on the fallacy that you hold a magical power to make someone change. You have to love them for who they are. And loving someone does not turn them or you into a mind-reader. Say what you want. Then you might just get it…..