Ability To Love Is Not Equal

candy-heartsRecently I was asked if I believe in the transforming power of love. It’s a romantic notion that has survived the ages, this idea that love conquers all. No matter what the issue may be, love can make it work. My response is that while I believe this is a lovely concept, reality shows us that it rarely work out this way. There are basic personality differences that love can not overcome. Some people have a great desire and capacity for love, while others neither have the desire nor the ability to love in the way that it is described in fairy tales.

This isn’t something I’ve known forever. I had to learn the hard way that everyone is not capable of loving with the same intensity. And even if they have the ability to love, it doesn’t mean that they will love to this depth. For some people, deep love is not the goal of a relationship or marriage. Understanding these ultimate truths will save you a great deal of confusion and possible heartache, and help you realize the best love for you when you have it.

Love can transform, but it doesn’t have to

Finding true love can tame a free spirit and change a perpetual bachelor into a devoted partner. But this is the ideal result and life is rarely ideal. Often that overly flirtatious guy you’re dating will continue to flirt, or at least desire to, no matter how much love and understanding you show him. Love can not overrule inborn personality traits.

differences-in-loveRelationships are not the be-all and end-all for everyone

Many people have the goal of finding a life partner. But everyone does not have this dream — they prefer to be alone or see romantic relationships as less important than other aspects of life. Their views are not likely to change once in a relationship, if they ever settle into a long-term commitment.

Goals for relationships differ

Not only is the desire for a relationship not the same for everyone, but the goals for a relationship are different depending on the person. Some people enter relationships purely for love and intimacy. Others begin relationships as a means to another goal — social success, financial gain, physical support. For these people love is not the goal; their maximum ability to love will probably never be realized.

Being aware that people have varying degrees and requirements for love can help you to gain better results in dating and marriage. Instead of thinking “S/he’ll change in time” or “Maybe if I do this, s/he’ll love me the way I want”, you’ll accept their abilities and reach a compromise or find another person.

What do think? Do you believe in the transforming power of love? Or do you think that the capacity for love differs?

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8 thoughts on “Ability To Love Is Not Equal

  1. I think love CAN be transforming, but it is romanticized in an unrealistic way.

    And so, we think, “If I just love him or her enough, they can change,” when that’s an exception more than the rule. As a little girl, I was all about the Disney movies, and true love (Ariel was my girl!). Imagine my surprise….and dismay to discover, during my teenage and college years, it was not quite like that in reality.

    I’m a steely-eyed pragmatist now, and when people show me who they are, I believe them and when applicable, ACCEPT them as they are. If they change, fantastic! But I’m not making an emotional investment in something as nuanced and complex as the human condition. When I made that decision a few years ago, I found all of my relationships (friends, family, romantic) easier.

  2. Daphne,

    “As a little girl, I was all about the Disney movies, and true love (Ariel was my girl!).”

    Same. Ariel and Jasmine were the best. 🙂

    “I’m a steely-eyed pragmatist now, and when people show me who they are, I believe them and when applicable, ACCEPT them as they are. “

    I’m more of a practical idealist. There is potential within the boundaries. But yes, when people show me who they are, I don’t think that’s not really who they are or that they could be something completely different.

    “When I made that decision a few years ago, I found all of my relationships (friends, family, romantic) easier.”

    Indeed. Much easier.

  3. I tend to be more practical idealist with younger people. When you talk about people in the their 30s and beyond (maybe even late 20s)……..it seems they are more likely to be who they are, for better or worse.

    For example, I have a niece who’s 20. My mom and sister are frustrated with her because she’s in college, kind of floundering. She’s not like I was in college – focused and determined to never return to my podunk small town, lol. Additional background: my family was working class, and college wasn’t a priority. I’m the youngest of 9, and was the first college graduate in the family. But I’m not as hard on her because:

    1) I was still figuring things out at that age, even though there were some things I knew I wanted.
    2) She’s her own person. My niece and I are somewhat similar, but also different.
    3) She’s her mother’s daughter: very laid-back.

    She’s only 20. She has time to find her way. Plus, some of that is on my sister – she coddled her a lot, IMO.. So it’s funny to for her to think a proverbial flip would switch, and ta-da! Independent, resourceful young lady! Doesn’t really work that way.

  4. Daphne,

    “When you talk about people in the their 30s and beyond (maybe even late 20s)…it seems they are more likely to be who they are, for better or worse.”

    True. And when they are 40+… definitely not going to happen.

    “I’m the youngest of 9, and was the first college graduate in the family.”

    What a large family! Congrats on being the first to graduate.

    Yup, I give her a little more time. Lots of college students take some time to adjust and she’s only halfway (?) done. Is her dating/love style as laid-back? 🙂

  5. D’oh! I did get off-topic with my example! My apologies.

    My niece is laid-back about dating as well – I don’t think she’s restricted herself, which is good.

  6. Daphne, no, I just really wanted to know. A person’s general personality is usually a lot like their romantic personality.

  7. Great article. We are all brainwashed to believe that the sort of fairytale romantic love is a one size fit all deal for all to strive for.

  8. Thanks, ricky. There is a popular storyline for love that people look to as a guideline, but of course love is individual and not equal.

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