Is love real or is it a vistigial artifact of human pair bonding that is no longer relevant

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Nice to hear your comments...
 

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  • #2
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An artifact of human pair bonding that is both real and relevant.
 
  • #3
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An artifact of human pair bonding that is both real and relevant.

What is real about it? I think we can all agree on the relevancy of it. Maybe if I were in a different forum, I would restate the question, should you follow your head or follow your heart...
 
  • #4
Matterwave
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I think some animals can love...I mean don't elephants mourn their dead?
 
  • #5
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Well, I guess I may ( and you have) have answered my own question. I really do want to believe in love. But I like that "love" fails at may levels, infidelity, financial concerns, family pressures, life cycle changes, etc. etc. etc. I'm just asking, in light of these "qualifications" of what love is or what it means, should we just retire the concept altogether?
 
  • #6
256bits
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Are you unsure if there are such things as romantic love, platonic love, infatuation ( love) , and marriage? All four exist, quite possibly in the same interaction with another individual, and possibly not. Marriage, ( and a new family, both of which you did not mention even though that is the usual desired outcome of pair bonding ) is a cultural institution and you and your partner have certain expectations of the other imposed by society and by your upbringing, outside of the realm of love. The same can be said for the pursuit of the other three, although, since they do not entail a binding contract, the ramifications of straying from accepted practices are different, but still could involve legal challanges, and termination of interaction with the other individual depending upon the severity of the infraction, however perceived, either real or imaginatory.

You mentioned that, "love" fails at may levels, infidelity, financial concerns, family pressures, life cycle changes, etc. etc. etc., and that is certainly true inside and outside of marriage. Searching for, finding, and acquiring a "soul mate" is a type of idealistic romantism, and as such can be frought with disapointment, thus the subject of poems, literature, art, and movies. The movie Gone With the Wind, and the Shakesperian Romeo and Juliet are two of the best of this theme, both playing on the pitfalls and barriers in pursuit of romance.

This probably hasn't answered your question, but I felt like writing something.
 
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Searching for, finding, and acquiring a "soul mate" is a type of idealistic romantism, and as such can be frought with disapointment, thus the subject of poems, literature, art, and movies. The movie Gone With the Wind, and the Shakesperian Romeo and Juliet are two of the best of this theme, both playing on the pitfalls and barriers in pursuit of romance.

This probably hasn't answered your question, but I felt like writing something.

Well, maybe not answered it, but addresses it, and in an instructive manner this post was designed to solicit, so thanks.
 
  • #8
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I would restate the question, should you follow your head or follow your heart...
Follow your nose.
 
  • #9
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Follow your nose.

Thanks for the advise, but that's got me in a lot of trouble in the past. So I'll proceed cautiously.
 
  • #10
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Love is still relevant, it's just a matter of perspective and definition. For instance, there is a growing polyamory community that doesn't hold traditional values (that were probably spawned from the Abrahamic religions) and see love as non-exclusive.
 
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  • #11
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So, in that spirit, I'm declaring love dead, as silly an artifact of the human condition as winking and lip biting (and twerking).
Love is still relevant, it's just a matter of perspective and definition. For instance, there is a growing polyamory community that doesn't hold traditional values (that were probably spawned from the Abrahamic religions) and see love as non-exclusive.

What does that mean, non-exclusive? I've just been thinking about this recently, is love a liberation of sorts, or is it a trap, a wolf in sheep's clothing?
 
  • #12
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Well, I guess I may ( and you have) have answered my own question. I really do want to believe in love. But I like that "love" fails at may levels, infidelity, financial concerns, family pressures, life cycle changes, etc. etc. etc. I'm just asking, in light of these "qualifications" of what love is or what it means, should we just retire the concept altogether?
Gravity fails to provide a "floor direction" if you are on the ISS. This does not mean we should doubt the existence of gravity. Actually, gravity still acts on the astronauts there, they just cannot rely on it in the same way we can do on earth.

Love exists and is relevant, even if it might not be as eternal as you would like.
 
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  • #13
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By non-exclusive I mean it's not just a dyad like abrahamic religions have promoted (the marriage celebration with vows - two people promising themselves to each other forever). Though many polyamors do have a dyad - a central relationship (often codified in the traditional marriage) and boundaries of the dyad trump other desires. I find the polyamorous community to be very respectful and honest. Being able to overcome your ego and insecurities and allow your partner to fulfill their fantasies takes a lot of strength, so there are some very admirable people within the community.
 
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I don't know if anyone here has had to do this, but I've been dumped unceremoniously on several occasions, and I've had to myself end relationships for various reasons. And to be honest, as painful as it is to be dumped, it's worse to have to be the dumper. So I guess I'm twice bitten 4 times shy. I'm hoping my position will soften, I do want to be in love. See my best songs ever post.
 
  • #15
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My absolute worst experience was being dumped. Doing the dumping is hard, because you still have an attachment (usually) and you feel kind of like a jerk sometimes, but still - I was pretty broken up when I got dumped. I've been with my wife 10 years now. We've only been married for two!
 
  • #16
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Yeah, it really sucks to get dumped too. My first love dumped me in middle school by asking me for my best friend's phone number. That was great, I lost my best friend and my first love simultaneously. I was in a deep depression for a month after that, and when you're 13, that's a long time. The suffering when you're the one who is dumped is the lack of control, which hurts bad. When you're the dumper, though, you have to live with the guilt, and guilt can eat you alive on many levels, many that you're not even aware of consciously.
 
  • #17
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Jesus, that's harsh. Though, following my polyamory line, I think that that kind of possessiveness and exclusion (she liked him so she couldn't like you and you "lost" her) is something perpetuated by societies unrealistic expectations of what love should be.
 
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"MOM...I'm 14 already and I don't have a boyfriend, what the hell?"
 
  • #19
I think love does exist, in many different kinds of ways - romantic/sexual, affection for friends, or family bonding. I would very much like to have different words for them all, though. It's also still relevant in that being able to enjoy the company of other people, even if you don't necessarily want sex or romance, helps with social bonding. Yes, it's all just a lot of chemicals interacting with each other overlaid with ideas about the significance of said chemicals, but that doesn't make it any less real or rewarding. And no, love's not eternal (the idea that romantic/sexual love in particular should be this eternal thing really irks me), but that doesn't stop it from being real any more than a piece of paper stops being real when I burn it. It might not be around any more, but that doesn't stop it from having actually existed.

I also don't like generalising love; I find it very much depends on individual relationships. So some relationships might be liberating and healing, and some might be a "trap" (in OP's words).

OP, I understand your position a lot better now (I thought you were in that sort of situation to be honest) and I sympathise with you a lot. I have also been dumped unceremoniously on several occasions, had to dump people or reject them...and I also used to think like you. Quite frankly, what changed my mind was a spot of very good luck and the knowledge that romantic/sexual love is not all-important.
 
  • #20
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Jesus, that's harsh. Though, following my polyamory line, I think that that kind of possessiveness and exclusion (she liked him so she couldn't like you and you "lost" her) is something perpetuated by societies unrealistic expectations of what love should be.

Polyamory? I don't know about that, that's kind of my title here about love, shouldn't you just love one person? I'll tell you a little more about this girl, her name was Dawn (appropriate, huh), and she was a beautiful 14 year old blond surfer's fantasy. We lived in Ventura, CA, at the time. My best friend was insanely jealous of me hooking up with her and wanted to hear our conversations. So I indulged him by opening an extra reciever (this was the late 70's) and let him listen to me talk dirty to her (and vice versa). In any case, we all hung out as I guess good friends are supposed to, mostly at the beach. And then one day she calls me up and says the following, "I've got a crush on you and (my best friend)" Wtf are you supposed to make of that? I suppose I could have taken that as an invitation to "Polyamory," but I wasn't really thinking of that as an option at the time.
 
  • #21
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Jesus, that's harsh. Though, following my polyamory line, I think that that kind of possessiveness and exclusion (she liked him so she couldn't like you and you "lost" her) is something perpetuated by societies unrealistic expectations of what love should be.
Jealousy will still play a role whether in coupled relationships or in other grouped relationships. Either way, as I said in my first post, expectations from society, and in many cases, just from the grouping that you are within, would be imposed upon the individual(s), and accepted, or the whole thing falls apart, and that is applicable for all relationships, either coupled or poly. There is no way to get around that.
 
  • #22
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Polyamory? I don't know about that, that's kind of my title here about love, shouldn't you just love one person? I'll tell you a little more about this girl, her name was Dawn (appropriate, huh), and she was a beautiful 14 year old blond surfer's fantasy. We lived in Ventura, CA, at the time. My best friend was insanely jealous of me hooking up with her and wanted to hear our conversations. So I indulged him by opening an extra reciever (this was the late 70's) and let him listen to me talk dirty to her (and vice versa). In any case, we all hung out as I guess good friends are supposed to, mostly at the beach. And then one day she calls me up and says the following, "I've got a crush on you and (my best friend)" Wtf are you supposed to make of that? I suppose I could have taken that as an invitation to "Polyamory," but I wasn't really thinking of that as an option at the time.
Been there, done that. It's not as if you are the only person this has happened to. Wow - isn't that great advice!
Your best friend sounds like a leach, so something like that would have happened with whichever girl you went with. Maybe he's changed, maybe not. Experimental Dawn was doing her young thing at that stage in life - bait, catch, switch, unhook, throwback, cast - kinda like fishing, you try for a keeper, sometimes it takes a while, and if you don't get one, you go out the next day enjoying the water, boat ride, the fresh morning air.
 
  • #23
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Jealousy will still play a role whether in coupled relationships or in other grouped relationships. Either way, as I said in my first post, expectations from society, and in many cases, just from the grouping that you are within, would be imposed upon the individual(s), and accepted, or the whole thing falls apart, and that is applicable for all relationships, either coupled or poly. There is no way to get around that.

It's true, jealousy is always present; though in polyamory you are provided several opportunities to get extremely jealous in a short time and work through it, and your mindset and your perceptions dictate the degree of your suffering and with time, you become more fluid. Often times it's a matter of social expectations you've been trained on by society - particularly with males, for which machismo includes some degree of possession over women. It's not surprising there is a lot of zen and taoist types in the community. Most importantly though, communication develops strongly and you let your partner know your boundaries more clearly than traditional couples do - because you get a lot of practice declaring boundaries with other couples.

People who attempt polyamory, but cannot communicate with their partner about their feelings and calmly admit when they are jealous generally fail because they bottle up and explode.
 
  • #24
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It's true, jealousy is always present; though in polyamory you are provided several opportunities to get extremely jealous in a short time and work through it, and your mindset and your perceptions dictate the degree of your suffering and with time, you become more fluid. Often times it's a matter of social expectations you've been trained on by society - particularly with males, for which machismo includes some degree of possession over women. It's not surprising there is a lot of zen and taoist types in the community. Most importantly though, communication develops strongly and you let your partner know your boundaries more clearly than traditional couples do - because you get a lot of practice declaring boundaries with other couples.

People who attempt polyamory, but cannot communicate with their partner about their feelings and calmly admit when they are jealous generally fail because they bottle up and explode.

Didn't we learn something from the movie Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice? That ideal of free love in the 60's had it's complications. It's not that I'm not on board with some kind of sexual liberation, I know there's a community out there that's still striving for the free/love open marriage swinger ideal, I'm just not buying it, though. I think you lose more than you gain when you go against one on one love, there's something important there.
 
  • #25
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Been there, done that. It's not as if you are the only person this has happened to. Wow - isn't that great advice!
Your best friend sounds like a leach, so something like that would have happened with whichever girl you went with. Maybe he's changed, maybe not. Experimental Dawn was doing her young thing at that stage in life - bait, catch, switch, unhook, throwback, cast - kinda like fishing, you try for a keeper, sometimes it takes a while, and if you don't get one, you go out the next day enjoying the water, boat ride, the fresh morning air.

I think you're exactly right about Dawn. To the T. My (best friend) not so much. We were young. I just happened to luck out with this girl and he wanted to listen because he probably never even kissed a girl at the time. In fact, I'm pretty sure he never did. I may have even suggested he listen in. It was a long time ago. In any case, the end of the story is I think I told him what Dawn said and he chickened out. She was a freaky girl and we got freaky, and I told him about this. I think it was too much for him. Looking back on it now, if they would have actually hooked up, it might have been much worse for my psyche, maybe 3 months of deep depression or something.

Just as an additional note, at one point in my month long mourning over her, I remember her telling me about how she bumped into this cute guy she liked on the school bus or something like that. Like I was supposed to be happy for her or something. I was so love sick I think I played along with it like a chump.
 

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