“It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
Human relationships can be romantic, platonic, filial, fraternal, sororal, corporate and so on so forth and all of them are capable of flourishing as much as failing. In all the cases, emotions are involved and the aftermaths of broken relationships can be painful and in some cases even devastating. There are some inexplicable broken relationships with dirty linen washed in public, which too cause a lot of problems for individuals and families like this one for instance. There are others which go through turmoil too due to no fault of the individuals concerned like this one for instance.
It is the presence of a number of young people in my life now with broken romantic/marriage relationships that prompted me to suggest this topic. I just wanted to see if other LBC members too observe this phenomenon which I think is a modern development as in my youth while one did come across broken relationships, the numbers were low. Many broken marriages were kept alive for the sake of children and societal expectations and the hurt was not brought out in the open for public awareness and scrutiny like one can see often now. There were non marriage break ups too and I personally experienced two big ones, but these too were rare as romantic relationships themselves were rare in our society where arranged marriages and segregation of the sexes was the norm.
In all these cases the relationship is based on some kind of love and that is a word that needs a lot of understanding to be able to figure out what can be done to avoid breaking up of relationships. Since, much to the dismay of my betrothed, I still prefer not to reinvent the wheel, I will simply leave an expert to talk about this very confusing word.
“I am an adherent of the Ancient Greek way of thinking about love – that we need to become more sophisticated by thinking about and nurturing the many different varieties of love.
Today we have one word for love. We use that same word to sign an email – “lots of love” – yet we whisper “I love you” over a romantic meal. The Ancient Greeks were much more complex in the art of loving. They had one word, eros, for sexual love and sexual passion. They had another word, philia, for deep comradely friendship. Another word, pragma, was about the mature love between long-married couples – about giving love as well as receiving it, and compromise. There was agape, their concept of selfless love, which is where we got our word “charity”, from caritas which was the Latin translation of agape. And there was philautia, which is self-love – the idea that we need to nurture a healthy self-love. And the sixth kind is ludos, playful love.
I think that nurturing these varieties of love is the way to lead a much more complex and deep emotional life. The idea of “all we need is love” – whether it’s Frankl or the Beatles or [psychiatrist] M Scott Peck – it’s not enough, it’s too simplistic an analysis. We need to be much more sophisticated in the art of loving, and that’s why we need to look to the past. I love this quote from Goethe: “He who cannot draw on 3,000 years is living from hand to mouth.”
Having read the book by Roman Krznaric, I am now able to understand what goes wrong in relationships but am no closer to come up with solutions to repair or prevent breakages in troubled relationships. If ways can be found to articulate somewhere right at the beginning as to what kind of expectations both parties to the relationship have for it to flourish and both agree to work at meeting those expectations, perhaps relationships can flourish. Which then brings us to the question of why one or both are not able to articulate that. And that will take us into a completely different study of the problem. On the other hand, illness of one partner well into the relationship can cause problems which too demands different approaches and character to adapt and change.
Suffice it to say that this is a complex problem which is almost endemic to human beings now and it does not help that other problems like like gender inequalities, societal values, patriarchy etc add fuel to the fire.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by yours truly. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!