Seven-year-itch

I want to take one more shot at the idea of how difficult it is for humans to be in a lenghty committed relationship.  The vast majority of us have experienced several times falling-in-love: the pseudo-love phenomenon. The majority of  us have experienced a few times growing-in-love: the basic-love of belonging. Pseudo-love can  die quickly. Basic-love can die too.  Are we now at a 50%  divorce rate in Western societies? And, I ask how strong are the 50% of marriages and relationships that remain? Do basic-love relationships burn out after 7 years, 10 years,  or maybe 15 years? Is Shirley Maclaine right when she says, “the basis for a long-lasting marriage, is an open relationship?” For Frank Tallis, “evolutionary theory explains the puzzling feature of love — its relative brevity,” and  “thus intense,  passionate love might only be  sustainable for a  few years.”  (2004)  Sustainability requires the ongoing development,  reinforcement,  and ever refinement of the basic-love conditions of —> acceptance,  mutuality, attention,  nurturance, and action. With the development, reinforcement, and refinement maybe a rare number of  couples can experience the human phenomenon I prefer to address as the deeper-love conditions of intimacy, union, devotion, respect, and commitment.  Thus, I ask “Does the Seven-year-itch have any validity?”

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Is Commitment an Illusion?

In previous posts, I spent time discussing Deeper-Love and how it required intimacy, union, devotion, respect, and commitment.  Now I introduce some controversy and ask, “Is it possible for the average human being to be in a lifelong committed relationship with another human being?” Robert Wright gives extensive anthropological evidence that of 1154 societies and cultures researched, 980 allow men to have more than one wife. (1994) Wright considers human males to be polygamous by nature. Einstein is reported to have said that, “monogamy is not natural.”

It appears that humans are a variety-seeking species for many things, and sex is one area many of us desire variation.  How does sexual variety-seeking hinder the building of committed relationships?  It appears that the majority of males are promiscuous, if not in reality than maybe in fantasy.  The discrepancy between males or females having many partners may not be as great as it once was but big picture males seek more sex partners. Like it or not, agree with it or not, but males will be males. Doesn’t matter time in history, religious upbringing, geographical location, or culture —–> males are males. One of the reasons for males seeking multiple partners is genetically based: “human males have biological reasons to seek multiple partners – the better to spread their genes around and thus leave relatively more of them to the next generation.” (Eldredge, 2004) Promiscuity and cheating have always been part of our sexual experience, and I can assure at this point in human evolution that will not change.

Colman and Colman suggest that, “as a culture, our profound deficiency is in long-term interpersonal relationships.” (1975) Is it true that human males (maybe females too) are polygamous by nature? If males are polygamous by nature what does that mean for  relationship commitments? Is it possible for humans to be in two or more basic-love relationships, or two or more deeper-love relationships at the same time? Is there such a thing as Triadic Love?  Is monogamy a myth for the vast majority of humans? Is being in a committed relationship a myth for the vast majority of humans? Is it true that nothing lasts forever? Interesting and scary questions that each one of us should contemplate and find reasonable answers to.  If someone wants to attempt answering some of these questions, please share your ideas with the rest of us.

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Deeper-Love: Commitment

The Theory of Balanceology states that the final condition for deeper-love has something to do with commitment.  It appears to me that the depth-of-love (intimacy, union, devotion, respect) depends on the depth-of-commitment. Commitment has something to do with loving on purpose, because it is my purpose to love another and to commit to another. Commitment is making a statement, “I will stand by you.” Commitment is a lasting foundation that makes for a lasting relationship. Committed relationships are revealing relationships where I reveal to you and you reveal to me our true intentions, emotions, thoughts, feelings, goals, secrets, and promises. Commitment has something to do with a lasting love. It is an unbreakable chain that verifies the magic is not about getting married to another person, but staying married to another. It is being a lifelong counterpart and a lifelong companion. I highly recommend that if you have found that lifelong companion, cherish that irreplaceable love, and let your love prevail. For you have truly found something that is rare (more to come in later posts). I have asked, “Can committed love become an endless love?” For Emanuel Rosen, “the more committed the relationship, the more intense the therapeutic value. People go through a series of uncommitted relationships, revealing more or less the same level of emotion every time. It is when they push, or are pushed, into binding arrangements the exploration of their psyche deepens.” (2001)

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Deeper-Love: Respect

The Theory of Balanceology maintains that a fourth condition for Deeper-Love is the condition of respect.  Respect is a significant component for deeper-love to happen. “I respect the person I love.” I respect them as a person. I have regard, reverence, and some deference to that person. Respect is shown by having high esteem, high estimation, and giving high honor to the loved one. Respect is shown by high value –> “I value you.” I respect the one loved by being courteous to their opinions, beliefs, and values. I show respect through admiration of their abilities, capabilities, emotions, thoughts, and their morality. I show respect by not judging the one I love.  I respect that person by being truthful to that person –> deeper-love is not possible when lying is part of a relationship. Lying can involve the avoidance of critical issues and factors that end up tearing many relationships apart. Respect is given by acceptance, giving attention to, and spending time with that person. Included in respect is forgiveness —> having the ability to forgive the loved one who has offended me. What do you think?

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Deeper-Love: Devotion

The Theory of Balanceology designates devotion as the third condition for Deeper-Love.  In a deeper-love relationship two beings share intimacy and union that ultimately includes devotion —> a dedication to the one being loved. There is a devotion of time, concern, welfare, and purpose. A devotion of overcoming separateness, yet maintaining separate identities. Devotion is about fidelity, faithfulness, and passion. The two beings are passionate for the person they love. If I was pressed to give an example of devotional love it is my understanding of the love that Nancy and Ronald Reagan shared, and where Nancy said they “completed each other.” I appreciate Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saying, “to love is to discover and complete one’s self in someone other than oneself.” (1969)  Devotion is a cross-fertilization of partnering with another person;  i. e. together forming a partnership.   I do value Montaigne saying, if  press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I …. love alone is  capable of uniting living beings in  such a way as to complete them, for it alone takes them and joins them what is deepest in them.”  (16th Cent)

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Deeper-Love: Union

The Theory of Balanceology suggests that union is another possible condition of Deeper-Love. Union brings about a fusion, a coming together, and overcoming the separateness of two distinct individuals. Dyadic union is the ability for a couple to help manage and overcome the some of the distance  that exists between the Self and another person. That is, a dyadic union is the crossing of our dualistic separation tendencies, and opening up our a window that can lead to connections with another human being. Deeper-Love concerns an enduret’d union that forms an unbreakable chain between two individuals. It is a confirmation of the power that cometh from the dyad ––> the power of two. A dyadic union is a call for a hieros gamos (sacred marriage) of two individuals in love. In a union of deeper-love there is a spirit-to-spirit and being-to-being bonding where I belong with you and you belong with me —-> belong with, not to.  I so value the following quote by Erich Fromm where he says,  “mature love is  a union under the condition of preserving one’s integrity, one’s individuality. Love is an  active power in man;  a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his  fellow men, which unites him with others,  love makes him overcome  the sense of  isolation  and separation,  yet it permeates him to himself, to retain his integrity. In love the paradox occurs that  2 beings become one, and yet remain 2.”  (1956)

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Deeper-Love: Intimacy

In the previous post, I indicated that the Theory of Balanceology suggests that DeeperLove can have certain conditions:  i. e. intimacy, union, devotion, respect, and commitment.  This post addresses intimacy.  Intimacy comes from the Latin word intima meaning inner or innermost. Intimacy is sharing with another human being one’s inner nature. Intimacy is sharing one’s essential nature <—> one’s very essence. It is taking a risk of sharing my real self in order to draw closer to another person. I propose that intimacy a spirit-to-spirit connection and a being-to-being connection. Amit Goswami felt, “love is not a thing but an act of being.” (1995) In the depths of intimacy there exists a deep-eye glimpse into the very heart and spirit of another being. Intimacy involves the sharing of one’s “secret” knowledge about the Self, thus making intimacy a willingness to risk putting deep trust in the hands of another. Intimacy is difficult to happen without deeper levels of empathy taking place between two people. Intimacy includes being brave enough to risk an investment of emotional energy with another person.  The intimacy  of  deeper-love is surely one of the greatest gifts life has to offer. Dean Ornish said, “love and intimacy are the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well. I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise . . . not drugs, not surgery – that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death.” (1998) I attest that if a deeper-love intimacy has developed between two people, and for some reason there is a break in their having contact, that those lovers will surely find a way back to each other.

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