Call me a stick in the mud, but part of my skepticism disagrees with the concept of True Love/Soul Mates. It is all a fantasy, a wish. I hope this discussion will either help me feel better about feeling this way, or change my mind. Go for it.

 

Tags: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IeZMIgheZro

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Divorce might cause you to revise your assessment of true love Annie... it brings out the worst in many people.  It certainly 'took away' even the faintest trace of romantic love I might have harbored in the past.  Is it possible for people to remain close (overall) throughout a long-term relationship?  Quite possibly.  Do I know many people that do?  Certainly not.

 

The "truest" love I know is that which I have for my children.  There is a genetic imperative, of course, but I'll define it as love.

Good point, Mark.  Since I've never experienced a divorce, I really don't have any way of knowing how I would deal with such a situation, so I can only guess.  A few years back, though, when my husband and I were separated, I did have to examine moving forward without him and I thought I had two choices.  I could let the experience make me bitter and angry, which would probably make me more afraid to try and love someone else, or I could think back on our past as a good time in my life, filled with many positive experiences and growth, that simply has come to an end.  Because I've never believed in the idea of soul mates, it made it easier for me to choose the latter.
I think that just because two people got divorced and aren't in love anymore doesn't mean that true love doesn't exist. It could mean that those two people either weren't really ever in love or it could mean that they were and they just aren't now. If I ever divorced my husband, I can't imagine that I would not think that we weren't in love at one time. I don't think it's magical or a supernatural force guiding it. I think that love is real, but in the sense that is is an emotion. It is family that you choose to create, not the ones that you have biologically. Yes, love for children is probably stronger than a romantic love. That doesn't mean, however, that romantic love is not real or not strong.

I also have had a best friend for over 20 years. He is like a brother to me. He is family that I created, not born with biologically. We are both "in love" with other people (he with his husband and me with mine) but I would say we love each other. Just not in a sexual sense. I think that the biggest differences between the type of love I have with my husband and my friend are that I am sexual with my husband and we have made a commitment.

But if I had a falling out with my friend or my husband, I would still say, at least for a time, I really did truly love that person. But yes, with kids, no falling out would make me stop loving my child. I don't know if it is the same with my friend or my husband. Fortunately, while we have all had arguments, even bad ones, I have never ended the relationship, nor have I ever wanted to.

While I can't imagine ever being with anyone else and I am glad I have my husband, I don't actually believe that there is only one person we could ever have loved. If you meet a compatible person and you are both mature and at good places in your lives, you can be happy. Had I not moved to VA and met him, we could be both happily married to other people right not. Although, I don't like to think about that. I only want to be with him and him with me.
True love: I do feel, at least in my life that, love is akin to religious faith. I choose to live as if I have total trust in my partner even though human nature doesn't seem to support that faith. People are semi-monogamous biologically and I don't think it is rational to give 100% trust to a human, but I do, or at least try to. Now, this does differ from a belief in God in that I have pretty good evidence that my wife exists. And I think living faithfully and having faith in her has positive effects on our interactions and my own psychological well being as well. Just like assuming that the rustling in the bushes is a tiger was helpful in keeping my ancestors alive even if it was not entirely justified, I feel this is beneficial for me.

Soul mates: I think this has been covered pretty well but I have a slightly different take on it. In the sense that there is only one person that one could find and have "true love" with or that one is "destined for" is just nonsense. But I do think that in some sense we are our relationships. So after getting close to someone in the way that tends to happen in a loving, committed relationship, two "souls" (metaphorically of course) can intermingle to varying degrees. Self identity becomes wrapped up with the relationship and you can really feel that they are part of you and vice versa. Wether this is healthy or not is debatable but it seems undeniable to me that people do connect on this level. I feel this all ties in to the idea of the self and even free will but I'm gonna stop myself before I go off the rails.

What we call love is simply a chemical addiction in the brain.  Little triggers (sights, sounds, scents) from people we meet can trigger that production of chemicals.  If it was strong enough, we then enter into a self-sustaining "love" mechanism.  Simple thoughts of the person will trigger more chemical production.  It explains why a woman could love a man that beats her, or how long-distance relationships can thrive.

 

Soul mates, OTOH, are probably inconsistent with a godless universe.  You would need to believe that a higher power arranged the pairing of you and another person.  It's also inconsistent with my understanding of love, because it's mostly self-fulfilled and can happen with almost anyone.

After submit my reply, I came across this article in my Facebook feed:

 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/assignment-impossible/2011/08/0...

 

It touches on some of the work scientists are performing to get a better understanding of how love relates to brain functionality.  This supports my own theories that love is more or less a dopamine addiction.  It's also fascinating information for anyone on anti-depressants, as I am.

I don't believe in true love and I think my search for love was greatly helped by it. Having a realistic view of your potential mate as a partner in life rather then the end all be all of your existence puts less pressure on them and you to be something you can't possibly be. Instead, understanding that there are just greater and lesser degrees of compatibility allows you to love someone and accept their flaws at the same time. And to me, that's way healthier then thinking of true love. I am head over hills in love with my husband. But I am not delusional enough to think he is the only person I could have ever felt this way for. It helps me appreciate what he offers the relationship every day, instead of taking him for granted. So, I feel like the realistic view of love is not only better, but produces better relationships over all.

i also don't get this "partner in life" stuff. it seems too similar to life after death in that people live their lives under the impression that this life is not the right one, there's a better and more worthwhile life waiting for them, in this case one in some vague sense merged with another person, and in this case one they have to work to seek, wasting the life they've got in the process.

 

your life is your own. no matter how close you are to someone else, your life is your own. you don't have an obligation to someone else unless you want to, except for your children, who you have an obligation to whether you like it or not.

terrific insight, Jennifer, thanks!
i was so happy when he came out with that book, because i've been saying that for years

My wife and I have a favorite love song that really sums up my feelings on the subject.  here it is:

I wish we could like comments on here.  But since we can't, this made me laugh.  Thanks.

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