The truth about love is that its less romantic than we like to think. Sexual attraction is not love. It is a biological desire and it is innate. The two tend to be lumped together because they are so often experienced together. But the sensation of love is nothing more than attachment, much like we attached ourselves to our mothers in infancy. We see them as a provider and protector, or whatever it is we believe love will give us.
Society has assisted in constructing our minds so we associate love with activating and stimulating reward and pleasure centers of our brains. This experience is subjective for each individual, but really, the sensation of love is nothing more than our own desire to be rewarded and pleasured and “doing what’s right” for our species and society.
What happens when we fall out of love is we detach ourselves. And what happens when we are left is that we’re attached and believe that we’ll never be able to get by on our own. So we obsess and cling to someone as though they are a drug, when really we don’t actually need them to survive.
It’s why we’re taught that we have to “love ourselves first,” because that way, our attachment to someone else doesn’t derive from a need for validation or survival, but simply because we really do love them and enjoy their presence.
I know it seems trivializing for something as grandiose and life-long as love, but its the reality behind it, and its something I think we need to consider whilst we’re all amid heartbreak and loss: realizing why we’re broken is half of the solution.
In the grand scale of things, I think these facts put love into a different perspective: maybe relationships aren’t supposed to necessarily make us happy forever. Maybe they’re just supposed to help us grow and learn and provide us comfort and warmth. The physical emotions that come along with love are mostly physically-induced, and therefore they can ebb and flow. We must attach ourselves to something deeper than the high that people can provide us. We have to be best friends and lovers at the same time.
Relationships, as we’ve seen time and time again, do something incredible, and that’s that without fail, whether they’re good or bad, they always seem to bring us closer to who we are, familiarize us with happiness and goodness, further us along our spiritual paths, open new realizations, and help us grow. Your intimate relationships show you every unloving part of yourself. They reach inside you and lift up everything you are and once knew. So this, my friends, is what we should be looking for. Happiness will not be steady, but growth can be. Find someone who makes you better, and who challenges what you think and feel. Be with the person who truly makes you better, not just makes you feel good. Realize the triviality of the latter and the depth of the former. Let it make you someone who is ready to love and give back.