To all of you (with or without that special someone), I hope you’re feeling loved and appreciated. Not just today, but today’s as good a reminder as any. I thought about writing something pithy about dating in the modern era (seriously, take all of the performative bullshit of modern society and crank it up to 11, since dating was already pretty performative), but instead I’ll just leave it here: love who you love.
I laughed and said, Life is easy. What I meant was, Life is easy with you here, and when you leave it will be hard again. Miranda July, “Ten True Things” (via Palain VII)
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other. Osho, Being In Love (via [an errant gallifreyan]).
It’s an astute observation, though some of the context of his examples is lost without the rest of the book.
We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories to the kind of look we wish to live under.
The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words for the look of the public. That is the case with the German singer, the American actress, and even the tall, stooped editor with the big chin. He was accustomed to his readers, and when one day the Russians banned his newspaper, he had the feeling that that atmosphere was suddenly a hundred times thinner. Nothing could replace the look of unknown eyes. He thought he would suffocate. Then one day he realized that he was constantly being followed, bugged, and surreptitiously photographed in the street. Suddenly he had anonymous eyes on him and he could breathe again! He began making theatrical speeches to the microphones in his wall. In the police, he had found his lost public.
The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. They are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. They are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. This happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. People in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. Marie-Claude and her daughter belong in the second category.
Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. Tereza and Tomas belong in the third category.
And finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers. Franz, for example. He traveled to the borders of Cambodia only for Sabina. As the bus bumped along the Thai road, he could feel her eyes fixed on him in a long stare. — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
But, sure. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt by my own doing. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve opened up at the wrong times, to the wrong people, under the wrong circumstances, and I’ve been involved with the emotionally distant and the scary obsessed. I’ve been unable to reciprocate someone else’s love, and I’ve loved without reciprocation, and both situations have been crushing. I’m okay with that. (Pussy, By Debauchette.)
How To Be Friends With Your Ex is a good read, kind of relevant to me personally. There’s a lot to the whole notion of staying friends with an ex. My own personal philosophy stems from the idea that just because a relationship is ending, it doesn’t mean you suddenly stop loving someone. I still love all my exes, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. My opinion is that it’s a heck of a lot easier to process the loss of the relationship if you’re not trying to also suddenly “un-love” someone. Acknowledge that you still love them, and that they still love you, but that the relationship wasn’t working out. Something to consider is that you started dating this person because you felt they were good people. I won’t say that there aren’t some wolves masquerading as sheep so to speak, but generally, if you trust your judge of character elsewhere, you should trust it in this as well. If you trust your judge of character and believe that they’re good people, then why should that abruptly change because they’ve decided the relationship wasn’t working out? If you can accept that they’re still good people, but simply couldn’t remain in the relationship (for any number of reasons), then it becomes a LOT easier to become friends again a hell of a lot sooner. It’s a lot better in the long run, in my opinion, to change the nature of your love (from more eros to an agape-centric love), than to try and kill all feelings for someone and then maybe become friends at some distant future point.
There’s a lot more to all that than I’m really writing down, but for now that will have to do. It’s already a kind of cluttered explanation, but until I sit down and let it percolate for a while, I don’t think I’m going to do better.