Tuesday, March 01, 2005

True love and other silly notions

I don't buy into the whole contrived nature of Valentine's Day and I've been known to forget my wedding anniversary more than once, but in all, I consider myself a romantic. Love, as they say, truly does make the world go round. Love - in all its forms - is what keeps most of us going. Me included. I loved my husband when I married him, but I absolutely adore him now.

What I don't believe in, however, is the whole argument that there is one true love for everyone in the world. Much like alcoholism, I think love is part genetic chemistry, and part environment. I would wager that there are hundreds, possibly thousands of people that a person could be compatible with. I might have a better chance at happiness with some over others, but it's all about your attitude, your environment, your personality, and the roll of the dice.

Could I have married someone other than Arthur and have been just as happy? Chances are, yes, I could have. It's quite possible that I could have made a go of it with Zaphod and led a different, but altogether equally satisfying life. Having been married to Arthur for nearly a decade, I'm thrilled with our life together - more so every day - and can't imagine any other life.

I think that's where the idea of one true love came from. Two people land in a great relationship, grow together as individuals and as a couple, and become so in tune with one another that they think that it must have been fate that brought them together, and assume that this was the one true love that they were meant to be with.

It's sweet and romantic, but it's a little too fatalistic for me. It doesn't take into account all the hard work, all the effort, and the good judgment of the two individuals. I think true love is more a matter of strong will and chance than some destiny marked in the stars. Fate sounds a little too Old Testament for my liking. I don't believe that anything on the planet is that well orchestrated that some cosmic energy could pre-ordain my one chance at true love.

So, while I am very grateful that I love, and am in return loved, by what I consider to be one of the greatest men in the world (yes, Arthur, I mean you), I'm going to give Arthur and I credit for that, rather than the gods.

What about you? Do you believe that there is only one true love for everyone?


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Arthur said...

Nope, don't believe in fate or TL. It's all me!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Mark A. Rayner said...

You're probably too young to remember Richard Bach (famous for writing Jonathan Livingston Seagull), but I (and some of my friends) blame him for our dysfunctional love lives.

Anything less than the perfect match was not someone I was "destined" to be with. Therefore, unsuitable.

I finally got over the psychosis, which we shall call Bachitis, but it took at least 14 years.

The best comment I ever saw about the concept of soulmates was from Garrison Keillor, when he was writing an advice column on Salon as "Mr. Blue":

"It is a lovely conceit, the notion that fate and the forces of the universe conspired to bring the happy pair together, but experience shows that love is a bond that is built by two people of harmonic temperaments. There are many perfect mates for you, probably three or four within a five-mile radius."

At 7:39 PM, Blogger ana_be_good said...

Nope, don't believe in there being ONE true love. Neither do I believe in soul mates. Being in a comitted relationship is hard work. The comedian Chris Tucker once said that in every marriage, at one point or another you would have thought of killing your spose. Literally thinking and planning it! So then, I think it's all a matter of trade offs. People stay in relationships for all the good times there are and will be, in exchange for having to suffer through the bad times. If there are more good times than bad, or if the good times are worth the bad then people stay together.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Dean said...

I don't know where the idea of one perfect partner came from. Maybe it arose at a time when the average person's world encompassed far fewer people. Or it may have arisen with the European ideal of romantic love, which often involved pining for your one true love, who was somehow unattainable, being married or celibate or above your station.

As you say, a good relationship requires work. Constant work. It's a good relationship if the work is relatively easy most of the time. But even in the best relationship, there are times when the slogging gets tough. Good relationships are usually a matter of labour, not destiny.

Although there are times when I feel that Chris and I must have been destined for each other, I know that isn't true.

In fact, believing that is actually counterproductive, because it can make you lazy. If you believe that you were destined to be together, and that you are fated to be together always, you're less likely to do the stuff that needs doing to maintain the relationship.

'One true love' is like 'love at first sight'. A crock, IMO.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Jennie said...

I think the idea of "one true love" is depressing. When there are six billion people in the world, how the hell are you supposed to find THE ONE, especially if you can't afford to travel all over the world.

And what if you think you've found THE ONE, but they die or cheat on you or it just doesn't work out. Is your love life supposed to be over?

See? Depressing.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Paula said...

I don't believe in OTL, or fate, or anything of the sort. It's all coincidence plus biology.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Diva said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Trillian said...

My friend N. sent this to me today via email. (I guess I need to change my settings...) I like what he's got to say.

Hey T,

Was just reading your blog as I sometimes do when I feel my work/procrastination ratio is all out of whack. Anyways, I liked your post about true love. I would have liked to post an anecdote relating to my grandfather’s views on the matter, but apparently you’ve set your blog up so that you have to be a Blogger member to post (very snobby of you ; ) Anyways, I can’t be bothered to set up an account, so I will relate the story in e-mail form.

My 92-year old Pakistani grandfather who was married, by arrangement, to my grandmother (an uneducated woman from a small village in Pakistan):

“Love. What is this Love? You see Naumi, there is no true love in marriage. Marriage is in fact a matter of convenience. Maybe in the beginning there is some romance – for one year, maybe two, but that is all. Now Naumi, let us say that you are looking for ten qualities in a woman – if you are lucky; maybe you will get three. Look at me; me with all my degrees, educated at Oxford, the principal of a school, and my wife of 60 years – imagine 60 years! – who cannot add two and three. Now you tell me, what kind of life is this?”

Personally, I agree with what you’re saying, but at the same time, if you are in a happy relationship I think you also have to consider yourself very fortunate because there is definitely some element of fate to it. Coming from a Pakistani background, my parents would naturally have liked me to marry a Pakistani girl. Living in a multinational country like Canada you might think that this would be easy (hundreds within a five mile radius right?), but in reality it is very difficult to find someone who you really mesh with. Now L. is by no means perfect (better than three out of ten though ; ) but the fact of the matter is we have wicked chemistry, and that, I don’t think is something you can take for granted.


At 12:40 PM, Blogger sxKitten said...

I'm a little bit on the fence on this one. While I agree that the concept of one true love is unrealistic, I also think people sometimes underestimate how hard it can be to find someone with whom you are truly compatible. I spent 9 years married to someone who was probably a 6 out of 10, compatibility-wise, and thought that was a solid relationship, worth working for and at. I thought I was in love, thought it was the real thing, and was reasonably happy. When that fell apart (one of us - who wasn't me - stopped working at it), and I met my 10/10, the difference was overwhelming, like seeing in colour for the first time. Six years later, I'm still surprised by the depth and intensity of my feelings.

Would I have been happy spending the rest of my life with someone who was a 7, or an 8? Yes, in all liklihood I would have been perfectly content in such a relationship. Am I very lucky to have found a 10? Most definitely.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Ken Kaniff said...

I'm happy for you. It's not a good time, though, to read this post.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Steve said...

If the OTL hypothesis were true, a wise person would learn Chinese and Hindi, realizing that statistically speaking, the odds were pretty good they'd find their one true love in China or India.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Morah Mommy said...

There's a Yiddish word, Bashert, that loosely translates as fated one, or, simply, one's fate. When you say so-and-so is your Bashert, you're implying that this person is the one who was meant to be.

I like the richness of that sentiment, yet I often wonder where I would have ended up had my parents decided to truck the family a few hundred kilometers down the highway when I was a kid. They didn't, which put me on a path to meet the woman who would become my wife. Who's to say how my life would have turned out if any other combination of decisions - mine and others - had been made.

Like another Yiddish saying goes: If my Bubbeh (grandmother) had balls, she'd be my Zaideh (grandfather).

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Carmi said...

I have GOT to stop posting under my wife's name. For the record, I (Carmi) wrote the previous post. Morah Mommy is my wife. On a few occasions as I comment on other people's blogs, I fail to notice that it's HER info that's prepopulated into the name/e-mail/URL fields of the comment box.

So, my apologies to my wife for stealing her identity. Some techie I turned out to be :)

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Trillian said...

Arthur: Yes, clearly I didn't marry you for your bashfulness.

Mark: I LOVE the quote.

Ana: I completely agree.

Dean: Of course the nice thing about being with someone that really fits is that it doesn't really seem like work most of the time.

Jennie: OK, now you've really depressed me! ;)

Paula: You go girl! (and nice cat!)

Ken: Sorry to hear that. One of the things I've learned is that you can't catch everyone at the same "place" at the same time - everyone goes through their peaks and valleys at different times, so my posts can't "speak" to everyone, unfortunately.

Diva: :)

SxKitten: Yeah, the romantic in me would love to believe in fate and all that, but the cynic says No Way!

Steve: And my Hindi just sucks!

Carmi: You make me smile, my techno-peasant friend!


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