Illusive Infatuation Growing up I did not believe in the concept of love and long term relationships. My family members consisted of mainly single women. All of which were bitter and unable to maintain healthy relationships with men. Divorce seemed to be second nature to me. My mother along with several other close female members have all been married three or more times. This made me want to stray away from relationships and love in general. As I got older I realized that most of the time they seemed to rush into love based off early infatuation, lust, and their biological clocks ticking.
I have learned from all of their situations. I realized that many people, not just in my family, marry quickly based off “love at first sight. ” It seems many don’t seem to take the time to know the person they are committing to. It makes me wonder what the rush is all about. I have decided to put a three year waiting period on any relationships I enter. I want to make sure I know someone and that I am marrying for more than love and infatuation. I do not want to fall in the deception of confusing “puppy love” with the real thing. I have based my realizations off of my personal experiences.
I do wonder if there have been accounts of people marrying in short periods of time and actually staying together for 20 or more years. I have heard of instances of arranged marriages working out in that manner but most were kept for political or family reasons. I have yet to see a genuine story of a couple marrying during the fascination phase of early relationships and actually staying together. I would like to explore more into the depths of how and why we fall in love. Is it possible for someone such as myself to find happiness even when I have only seen the negative outcomes in relationships?
Is loneliness the better option? As a child of a divorcee, it led me to feel hopeless and apprehensive towards commitment. In Eve LaPlante’s article entitled “Breakfast” she states that: “Like many offspring of divorce, I grew up with a poignant sense of loss. Besides the trauma of the breakup and its aftermath, there’s the prolonged pain of missing one parent and the security of an intact family. During my teens, I dreamed of a future happy family, but believed my chances of ever attaining one were in? nitesimal. I felt inadequate as a potential marital partner; my parents’ divorce served as a scar. (LaPlante, 476 ) This excerpt was comforting. This was exactly how I felt through most of my younger years all the way up until adulthood. I felt hopeless and considered any relationships that I pursued to be temporary. LaPlante, however, isn’t discouraged for long. She ends up falling in love. This article is actually written fifteen years after marrying her soulmate. She says her success is based off of “the ability to be grateful for comparative happiness (LaPlante,476 ). ” I took this to mean that even though marriage is not perfect, if they compared their happiness to others they would be satisfied.
This article definitely made me feel as if there is still hope for my own romantic future. The fact that her outlook went from a bitter young woman that dreaded the idea of marriage and was “almost turned off marriage forever” (LaPlante,476) to a charismatic happily married woman is astounding. She states that “Marriage is good for my body as well as my soul. I like my physical self more than I did before. David ? nds me beautiful, which helps me feel beautiful. To be known by him is part of the pleasure: we have nothing to hide. I ? d every human detail of him delightful, no less so as we age (LaPlante,477). ” It gives me the feeling that my past does not have to determine my future. My outlook can change. Even with the success shown in LaPlante’s article I do realize that those results are not always typical. Is loneliness the better solution? It would allow me to skip over the failures, heartbreaks, and all the awkwardness in between. In the article “Loneliness and Isolation” by Jean M. Twenge she states that: “Isolation and loneliness readily lead to anxiety and depression. A mountain of scienti? evidence links loneliness (and being alone) with negative mental health outcomes. Single and divorced people are signi? cantly more likely to become depressed or suffer other mental health problems. Even people in unhappy marriages are happier than those who divorce. ” (Twenge, 456) This leads me to believe that even an unhappy marriage is better than going through life alone. I am not sure I entirely believe that. I understand that loneliness can account for severe depression but I think there are many other things we can focus on throughout life that make us happy.
The reference to her friend “Peter” is very saddening. He spends his time being rejected via personal ads and spends his weekends alone. I honestly think he could take up another hobby, make friends, and enjoy life in other ways rather than just searching for a mate. A very good example of why spending all your time searching for love and maintaining relationships does not always work is displayed in the author’s story of Leslie: “The cycle of meeting someone, falling in love and breaking up is a formula for anxiety and depression. . . In college, many people ? nd that their romantic relationships are a lifeline in an otherwise lonely place—until the relationship ends. Leslie, 20, went through a breakup a month ago. “He was basically my whole life besides school and family,” she says. “Now I am very lonely and depressed because I don’t have many friends and the friends I do have are all away at their colleges. ”(Twenge,455) If Leslie did not devote all her time to her relationship and her quest for love then she would not have lost as much as she did. It seems as if it works both ways.
Breakups and divorces can lead to depression just as fast as loneliness. It seems that either way you end up taking a risk. The fact that divorce rates for first marriages are at 41% (DivorceRate. org ) is even more a deterrent from marriage. I still believe I would rather take my chances with loneliness. I believe I would end up losing far less and involving less people. What exactly is love? I know that I cannot possibly keep up this idea of romanticism for a lifetime. There must be much more to real love outside of the idea of love based off romance and lust.
In the article “Grown up love” by Joan Konner she states that: “In America we live in a culture that glori? es passionate, romantic love. Our friends are in love, dreaming or daydreaming of it, waiting and dating to fall into it. Women and men begin new lives in love. Romantic love is our inspiration, our motivation—our reason to be. Romance is a cultural obsession, an imperial ideal. We believe that love can be found, here and now and forever, in an instant, across a crowded room—or tomorrow, just around the corner. It can—but rarely. In reality, romance is more ? eting and more dangerous than we are told, more complicated than we could have imagined, more elusive than we’ve been led to believe. Love is a promise made every day only to be broken tomorrow. ”( Konner, 485) This goes deeper into the psyche that most of us have as we grow older. Our culture glorifies romantic love, lust, and passion rather than the actual hardships of maintaining real love. It makes us to believe that we cannot live a fulfilled life without it. We are fed fairytales of lifelong love, princes with magic kisses, and images of happy families in the media.
We never truly learn the difference between infatuation, romance, and real love. The author states that she wants to “distinguish love from romance, to explore the ideal of true love, or real love (Konner,485). ” We often cannot determine the difference between temporary infatuation and “puppy love. ” This could be another main focus in the causes of divorce and breakups. The author goes on to say that “The fact that we say ‘romance’ when we mean ‘love’ shows us that underneath our language there is a psychological muddle. . . We are con- fusing two great psychological systems within us, and this has a devastating effect on our lives and our relationships (Konner,485) . ” This inability to separate romance from real life could be the reason why many tend to marry so quickly based off those initial feelings rather than taking the time to actually fall in love with someone completely. I have learned that no matter what lifestyle I choose whether it is being a wife or a happily single woman that it will come with hardships. If I am ever able to find someone that I am truly compatible with then I should take more time to get to know them.
I should develop a foundation and wait for the initial infatuation and romance phase to subside so that I can make a clear decision on a lifelong commitment. I no longer believe that I am prey to the past of my family members when it comes to romance. I just need to make better decisions in choosing a mate and if I can’t find one then I can lead a happy life regardless. I should find fulfillment within myself rather than completely confiding in a mate for it. Works Cited Konner, Joan. “Grown Up Love. ” The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. By Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell. 7th ed.
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 485-87. Print. LePlante, Eve. “Breakfasts. ” The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. By Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 475-78. Print. “Marriage and Divorce. ” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 05 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. <http://www. cdc. gov/nchs/fastats/divorce. htm>. Twenge, Jean M. “Loneliness and Isolation. ” The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. By Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 454-57. Print.
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