Now, some may look at the theory of the Love Bug as pessimistic. Perhaps thinking that with the "magic" gone from how we bond with one another, the entire pursuit of love becomes a meaningless gesture. Obviously, I disagree. What I am trying to accomplish with this theory is to release some of the anxiety caused by what I see as an intense pressure to seek out a feeling that seems rather hard to find, and even harder still to keep. And these are not just social pressures. The chemicals that cause the feeling of love act very much like a drug, complete with addiction and withdrawals. And much like anything else, moderation and mindfulness of the effects can greatly diminish the negative aspects.

So what can we do? What causes the frustration and pain oft associated with love or lack there of? For me, the main accomplice is the nature of how our society defines our relationships. Everyone's life is full of relationships, be they minor acquaintances or life long friends. What I have never understood is the need to compartmentalize these relationships, to separate out certain types of relationships into specific catagories. All relationships involve bonding, sharing, interaction. Some are obviously closer than others; you are going to have more bond with an old friend than a stranger. But the area that I don't quite get is when it comes time to separate out someone to "love."

What I feel has happened in modern society is that we tend to reserve ourselves when dealing with many of these feelings and emotions associated with love because we think should be only exchanged with certain people. Because of the way love has been packaged, idealized, we assume that those deep feelings of connection only belong to certain people. What we are doing is ignoring these very powerful feelings when they manifest with others out of some notion of respect for the paradigm of love. We actively lie to ourselves to block out emotions because of some idealized vision of what we think relationships should be. Because we consider one possible set of emotions somehow sacred, we interact with these feelings as if they were in some way unique or different.

And that's just it. We base our actions on the idea of what we think ought to be. We change what we do and how we interact with others to strive for some goal that is essentially arbitrary. Throughout history, we have constantly changed and adjusted how we deal with these feelings, though the actually, chemical emotions themselves I doubt have changed at all in the last hundred thousand years. Marriage in it's current form didn't even exist until 400 years ago. There are arranged marriages, group marriage, forced marriage. For a long time, marriage didn't even have religious sacrament, it was just a private agreement between two people.

I feel as if relationships are on a continuum, with some people being very close, and some not. And every one of those relationships is different. No two are alike. What you share in common with some friends may be lost on others. You can talk football with an old college buddy, then discuss politics with a coworker. But even if two friends are so different they cannot hold a conversation, you still share a bond with both. You care about both. These bonds are the essence of our humanity.

What I further propose is a reevaluation of love. It is not a sacred thing, to be put away or viewed from a distance as a lofty neigh impossible goal. It is our essence. Why would you withhold feelings that draw you closer to your friends? This may come off as incredible hippie-sounding, but seriously, why can't we love everyone? The only thing stopping us is a culturally created idea that one should only exchange these feelings, or open up emotionally, or share moments of intimacy with only one person. I'm not specifically advocating polyamory, as that is just picking two people to share love with instead of one. You still end up drawing a line of difference, saying that some are worthy of this feeling and some aren't, when we are all looking for someone, anyone, who thinks we are worthy. I'd rather have many people consider me worthy, just as I would never want to just give those feelings to one, or three, people. The closer you look at the lines between friendship and love, the blurrier they become. Loving your friends never seems hard, so why do we fight tooth and nail to change that into something that more or less doesn't exist?

To take a note from the Wu Wei of Taoism, the harder you press against the flow of nature, the more strife you take on. We as humans are meant to interact, to bond, to love. The more rigid the definition, the harder it is to achieve what you think to be love.

Ok, so maybe I'm just a crazy hippie.

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Comment by A Former Member on December 4, 2008 at 6:07pm
I don't think the goal is essentially arbitrary, and I don't think it is purposefully selective or consciously withheld from anyone. I have had many good friends whom I loved, but didn't want a physical relationship with, no matter how close I was to them.

I think a lot of straight people are under pressure to fit a stereotype: get married early, have kids, etc. And I think that demonstrating that one is in love is a part of that pressure. Often, people fake this part.

Not sure that gay people are under the same social pressure, though many want to mimic that which they see around them.

I think love is basically really nothing more than profound need. Once people stop feeding that need, we stop loving them. It is really a very selfish emotion. Few, if any, of us can love selflessly.

However, it is a really complicated emotion. I am deeply in love with a man right now who does not love me back. My love and desire for him is rooted in my own needs for attention, acceptance, recognition, pleasure, etc., but I still love him even though he is not going to give me those things to the degree I want or need. However, they are also deeply rooted in who he is as a person. Everything about his guy is loveable to me: his body, his voice, his mannerisms, his intelligence, his smell, his smile, his goodness, his personhood. There is something in him which others do not possess, and something in me responds to that with what I believe to be love.

It is deeply and profoundly depressing that I cannot be what he needs me to be in order to have him love me.

However, I do not have those feelings with other men I meet, or even my friends. The intensity of feeling that I have for him is somehow separate from the others. And yet, I did not choose for it to be that way. I did not arbitrarily choose to feel this way for him and not others.

Of course, my feelings for him do not stop me from noticing other men on a physical level, but by that same token, noticing them does not diminish the feelings I have for him.

Does that answer your questions in some manner?
Comment by Krista on December 4, 2008 at 12:27pm
I think I get what you are saying. I've always been confused and frustrated with the way people approach love. It especially fascinates me that some people seem to see as a supernatural force. I wish more people would realize its ok to love more than one person. I also reeealy wish we had more than one word for love because it comes in so many forms and progresses through so many stages. Anyway, one example of this frustration I get with people is an ex girl of mine broke up with me because she felt she was still in love with someone else. Who cares! Why does that mean she can't love or just be with me? I didn't care if she still loved someone else especially if that person didn't want to be with her. People seem to think they have to get over the last person completely before they can allow themselves to be happy or loving with the next person.
I could go on and on with this subject so I'm going to shut up now lol :)

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