It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
Nietzsche was a wise old bugger, wasnt he? Ahead of his time, and suffered mightily to achieve his insights. I actually agree with this view of “marriage”. My parents have been married for nearly 60 years, they certainly love each other in the classic, romantic sense, but, more importantly, are both friends and companions to each other, despite their considerably different temperaments. ESFP (Mum) vs INFP. They are both Pisces Sun types, but Dad was born on 20 Feb, so has more Aquarian traits, while Mum was born 11 March eith a Cancer Sun, so is more “watery” in character.
When I was young and naive, I also believed for a while in the romantic myth. Our culture has fed us the myth that we all have a perfect “soulmate” out there and if we find him/her, our passionate feelings will never fade, our disagreements will be rare or nonexistent, we’ll both want to make love with each other constantly and every day in marriage will have fairy tale bliss. When we wake up one morning and don’t have those feelings, we start to assume we must have married the wrong person and need to get out and find our real “soulmate.”
I gave it my best shot for quite a few years in my 20’s. At first I met a couple of really nice guys who fell hard for me, but as much as I tried to return their feelings, after a while it became clear that I didn’t love them in the way they wanted. So I had to gently let them down, and felt truly awful for breaking their hearts.
Then one day I met a young, beautiful and intelligent Scottish doctor-in-training, and it was my turn to fall head over heels in love for the first time. For six months or so, we became constant companions and he seemed to feel as strongly as I did. Then one day he casually dropped the bombshell: he had taken a position as a junior doctor in a hospital in Edinburgh, and would be moving back there in a few short weeks. I was devasted and cried for days. I even offered to give up everything and move to Edinburgh with him, but he made it clear that our relationship was over and he did not want me to move to Scotland.
The next few weeks were awful, we said our goodbyes and off he went. I visited him in Edinburgh one time and he saw me again in London, but only as friends.
In hindsight, it was my fault for missing the obvious signs that, while he clearly enjoyed our time together, it was never going to amount to more than a passing affair. So now I finally understood how the guys I had previously broken up with must have felt. Six months of love and passion was followed by two or three years of grieving and heartbreak, until I finally got over myself and began to see that the cultural myth of “True Romance” and “Happily Ever After” was sadly lacking in anything remotely practical in the way of real-world advice on how hard it actually is to live with one person for many years, even if they were a good choice for your personality, or examples of how to recognise the narcissists, liars, bullies, philanderers or just plain bastards from the majority of ordinary people; by which I mean reasonably sane and kind, genuine but flawed, quirky and interesting, sometimes irritating and frustating, sometimes needing your support and caring love, and able to provide the same in return when you are down and struggling.
After a few more romantic adventures (this time with my eyes fully open!) I gradually began to recognise that my ideal for a life-partner needed to be more of a brother-in-arms and intellectual/philosophical companion than a romantic fairy-tale fantasy. Even though I’m gay, I have always been comfortable with my masculine gender, and wanted a friend and lover who was similar in that regard.
The stories of the crucial role that homosexuality contributed to the success of the militaries of Ancient Greece, such as the legendary Sacred Band of Thebes, or the Spartan warriors, provided a strong and positive role-model for what I was seeking in a relationship: two devoted and loyal true friends, bound to each other by mutual love and respect, but equally talented and capable in his own right, sharing similar ideals and values, but with skills and abilities that complemented the weaknesses and limitations of the other, making them stronger as a team than the sum of their individual virtues. Someone who would take a bullet if their partner was in deadly danger. Someone to share crazy adventures with and seek out fellow eccentric outcasts for friends. That is my ideal of love between two men. Plus the hot sex of course…
Is the romantic myth you speak of the soulmate “myth” you describe here? Are you saying the soulmate is a myth? Or are you saying perfection is a myth? Why do the two words - soulmate and perfect have to be associated with one another? [quote=“Stewart, post:2, topic:218”]
I gradually began to recognise that my ideal for a life-partner needed to be more of a brother-in-arms and intellectual/philosophical companion than a romantic fairy-tale fantasy.
See, and this is lovely. One size love doesn’t fit all.
THIS IS SPARTA! Okay, for realz, this pic made me laugh. Yesterday when Blake posted these two Nietzsche comments, I was like, “that is nice, let me soak that in.” And then you post this pic and it totally made me laugh. Not that anything is wrong at all about this pic, I don’t want to sound like that (it’s hot). It’s just the overall feeling I had and that maybe Blake was trying to convey was bombed with two dudes makin out. Haha. I love it.
I’m all for myths and stories! And art and music and philosophy and adventure and fairy tales and fantasies and legends. The stuff of life and our collective unconscious. All functions contribute to the human story and are equally valuable. But perfection, not so much. What is it anyway? When is anything ever perfect?
Even if it could be defined or achieved, it implies a frozen state that will remain that way, forever unchanged. No room for growth or refinement or experimentation or evolution Beautiful to contemplate, maybe, but static and even a little dull and rigid. And also terribly vulnerable and fragile. Say one day the Louvre places on display the “perfect” statue or vase or sculpture, the culmination of the artist’s lifetime practising their craft. Then along comes a clumsy idiot like me, who skids on the perfectly polished marble floor, crashes into the perfect crystalline display case and catapults the perfect art piece into the perfectly temperature controlled air, before it hits the floor and smashes into a million perfect tiny little fragments, . Whoops!
I’ll settle for “good enough for now” or a “work in progress”, thank you very much!
I completely agree with you! But what I was suggesting is that maybe someone’s soulmate isn’t perfect. Soulmate and perfection seem to go hand in hand. But why can’t someone have a soulmate that isn’t perfect? A relationship that isn’t perfect. Because like you said, perfection is static. Perfect word for that (ha). No more growing, no more understanding. That’s all folks.
Blake said in one of our THS episodes something like, “If you had harmony, you would seek to disrupt that in some way.” And I agree - BUT that means it isn’t MY harmony. It’s someone else’s.
I think we like uniformity, that’s why we seek to understand one definition of something. But love and the term ‘soulmate’ isn’t as easily defined. Especially the consistency in the many definitions.
I guess what I’m trying to say is - people are opposed to the term ‘soulmate’ because they associate it with perfection or something that they’ll never have…BECAUSE they define it as perfect, and duh, nothing is perfect. No, I change my answer. Death is perfect. Anyways, if we all try to define something as complex as the term ‘soulmate’, we will all be disappointed.
And this whole thing is saucesome.
Death is perfect…yes. That is right Erika. Everything up leading to death is just a constant fit of adjusting. Lol. This resonates.
Yes, death is always SPOT ON!
“Many brief follies—that is what you call love. And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman’s love of man—oh, that it were compassion for suffering and shrouded gods! But, for the most part, two beasts find each other.”
He wasn’t much of a romantic, but he did love to dance.
The idea of a “soulmate” is only problematical when it is conflated with the word “perfect” is what I think I was trying to suggest. Or that there is only one soulmate for each soul born into the world. Given that the current world population is 7.5 billion and rising, that doesn’t make the odds of finding him or her very likely:
The word soulmate is a compound of two smaĺler words; soul and mate. In Britain, Australia and New Zealand, “mate” is slang for “friend”, as in G’day mate, or how’s it going, mate? If you believe in the concept of the soul, which I do in many ways, then a soulmate can be a much broader and more appealing myth than that being your one and only chance of finding true love amongst the teeming billions.
Let me tell you a story, my own version of the creation myth, if you like.
Scientific theory points to the origin of our universe as a single point of immense energy and potential, but with no form or measurable size or shape. And that this point comprises the sum total of all the unknowable universes that came before, gathered together once again in harmony and unity.
Once upon a time, The Artist gazed with pride upon the shining singularity of infinite energy he had crafted and was pleased with the ineffable symmetry of her work.
“This time I have got it right” she proclaimed. “It is flawless and perfect in every way!”
But soon the Artist became restless and unhappy. What was he to do now, having finally achieved her heart’s burning desire for utter perfection? As the countless milllenia slowly passed, the Artist fell deeper and deeper into a state of despondent apathy and inertia.
“I have made a terrible mistake” she realised. “Perfection is lifeless and stagnant and terribly, terribly dull. I hate it!”.
Her spirit soared with joy at this paradox, as the Artist knew that her growing contempt for her creation meant that his work was incomplete after all, and therefore still imperfect!
“Perhaps it could still do with a few little improvements” she mused, and began to tinker and meddle with the singularity.
“What if I break it up a liittle and create communities of linked soul-groups, with different ideas and specialised functions to perform, but all still part of the greater Unity”. I shall scatter them across a vast new realm; to explore and create and seek new adventures with their soul-companions".
And so the Artist uttered the magic and irreversible Words of Power: “Let there be Life!” and the Universe was reborn…
Yes! Finally a view on marriage that I agree with.
who is this guy? oh my goodness. what a way to put it!
i guess the modern term is ‘marry your best friend’
I hate that term - best friend. Who is best? There are levels of friendship? Maybe that’s why I don’t have very many friends…I place a high value in friendship.
Here’s another mind-expanding quote:
“Friendship never ends.” - Spice Girls
i believe. that marriage mate should be your bestfriend. and that’s it.
creating a new close friendship outside of marriage doesn’t support marital relationship that well.
hahahahaha i love it!
but that’s a complete bullshit. because that shit ends.
it ended many times for me.
either that. or it was never a friendship. according to spice girls.