Love is a trap. In the way we live it in today, it was invented by social networks. Fast, intense, highly addictive and fleeting, it seems like a crack doze, as soon as its intense effect passes, the emptiness and necessity returns.
But it was not always that way. From the middle ages, around the year 1200 to the early 1970s, love was seen as something almost sacred. The lid of the pot, the soul mates, the eternal love, the perfect encounter, were part of the romanticized images of love.
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The translation of romanticism was on average made by the meeting of two people of opposite sexes, who filled each other in their desires, fantasies, needs, goals, companionships, projects, values, models, ideas, submissions and kindnesses. And with that perfect combination, absolutely impossible in reality, they would live a full life, side by side, as long as life lasted and then they would meet in heaven to spend eternity together with God or in Valhalla with axes and swords.
Reinforced by chivalric literature in the first 300 years, it was gradually appropriated by the church and made the norm the law. What in practice happened and still happens is that marriages were arranged, the woman oppressed and subjected to the process and the sensational romanticism of love was marked for the imagination.
Occasionally the meeting was so intense that the couple forced a liberating process. But reality brought pails of clothes to be washed and children to be brought up. And men, weak as they always are, fled in search of new love, abandoning love and its fruits. So, it didn’t,t work quite good.
So both the contemporary view of love and the romantic view of love are a waste of life. The contemporary is absolutely frustrating and reinforces the feeling of loneliness.
The romantic / religious view turns love into a path to suffering: 1st- It is impossible to find someone who fulfills all the criteria of love; 2nd- If this person is found, look at the size of the burden of expectations that he (she) will have to carry for you and you for him (her); 3rd- In the end, this love is always suffering, if you do not find anyone, suffer. If you find yourself and the person does not correspond, suffer. You meet and the person leaves, again, suffers. And if all goes well, they will live 100 years together, and one will die first and the other will suffer, old and alone.
I particularly enjoy being married. I’m in the second marriage and very happy here. Anyone who knows Carine (my wife) knows that I was much luckier as she was on this meet. Much much luckier! But for now, it seems she did not realize it yet so, she is in, and we just smile together!! Today I remembered to take out the trash!!!!
Socrates, that Greek philosopher, had a more realistic view of love, he knew that it is impossible to deposit everything we need and want in a single relationship. He knew that this was a very heavy burden to be shared with one person.
He was not a polygamist, and he was open to homosexual love. But, he organized the understanding of love in 7 different types: Filia, Eros, Katiros, Complicity, Fraternal, Selfish and Agape. And so, in this conception, each relationship would have a specific responsibility.
Filia’s love would be the love of friendship and companionship. That love we have for the people with whom we share the good moments of life, the love with which we have things to laugh about and tell about the stories lived together.
The love of Eros, is literally erotic love, the horny. That love of skin chemistry, of the passion that has gone on fire! It fits well with the manifestation of love in contemporary times. But for Socrates, this love involved observation, the building of a desire on the timeline that would at some point explode with high flames like straw fire. And, not quite like today, where people become disposable receptacles of uncommitted sex catharsis.
The love of Karitós is the love of charity. That love we have for creatures, beings, and people who, at the moment of the encounter, are in a situation inferior to ours, and our care towards them can raise them to a better level of existence. It covers from the pity we feel from the poor to the pity we feel from the partner when he comes home tired from the work. It is the love of giving to the other.
The love of complicity is what I think is the most beautiful. This is the love we feel for people who have gone through difficult times together. Soldiers who have fought together in the war, couples who have overcome serious health problems together, long financial difficulties or raising complicated children. It is the indissoluble bond created between the people who together have overcome the difficulties of life and, even if they never see each other, the bond of the complicity of the experiences they had together remained.
Fraternal love is one that is present in family ties. It is the love of a father for his children, the love between brothers, the love of children for their parents. A love that implies the perception of investment of time, in the perception of gratitude for the other, in the perception of the passage of a time that leads to mutual growth. This love enriches both parties, and generosity and gratitude are the bonds that hold relationships. It remembers the past, perceives the present and imagines a future. This is what I like most to feel: to see the fruits of what I have invested and to be the investment fruit of people for whom I have great gratitude.
Selfish love is one that wants the love of all, the love of those who want to be loved and wants everything for themselves. It is love that engenders jealousy and envy (even though both are so different). It is the love that wants to seduce, it is the love that wants to control. And though it sounds like sick love, it’s the force that tries to move us to the center of our relational circles, like the penguins taking turns in their circle during the Arctic winter.
Lastly, the love of Agape, which is the love of the god (s) for all creatures. It is the creator’s love for creation and creature. It is the love of the artist for his work, it is the love of the one who visualized, planned, projected and sees his creation spreading and growing. It is not the love of a father for a son. Here the creator is in his creation, this love was exemplified by Socrates as the love of the gods for men and the fate they had drawn for them.
When we try to live a romantic/religious love, we try to put all these kinds of love into one person. We expect her (him) to lay on us all these kinds of love. And besides that being impossible, this is still a very heavy burden.
I think, particularly that, a good relationship should have at least three of those loves and build one more on the timeline. Eros, as a good Brazilian, I think it is fundamental, the horn must be present and the pleasure in bed needs to be mutual.
But it must be loaded with friendship. Need to be a pleasant and enjoyable, if possible, a fun that is a possibility only in a relationship of friendship. Life is very difficult and if the partnership cannot live the difficulties in light and good-humored way (not being silly or loony), complementing responsibility and commitment, life gets very heavy.
Fraternal love, the investment in mutual growth is fundamental. A family is not born in a tree, but as one, it needs to be sown and cared for. And the food is the investment of attention and care.
These three types of love, when present, need not be accompanied by others. Charity, or excessive giving, generates bitterness and submission and does not work in a daily relationship. Get it out of your marriage and take it away from your family, it’ll be good at the social aid center, go there and take it away from your house.
Selfishness is another crap, no one in your family should turn your back, you may not want to be the center of attention in a core of daily conviviality. A lot happens at a wedding for you to think you are the main actor in a collective play. Go do theater or build an executive career.
The love of agape, of adoration of creation is also a clutter in a family nucleus. Treating children as gods treats their creations is the same as feeling a god for having a child, that’s ridiculous. You are no longer, nor special because you are a mother and father, because you are husband or wife. Take your worship to the church or the forest and connect that love with your gods.
Finally, the love of complicity. It will be part of a two-way relationship as time goes by. Complicity will come with certainty. The difficulties of life will inevitably build up among the bonds of complicity along the time of conviviality.