Why does love have to be perfect all the time?

We torment ourselves by chasing the so-called ideal of love

Raksha Bharadia | Posted on 14 Dec 2015
Why does love have to be perfect all the time?

To love is first of all to subtract a person from the human community, to depopulate the world, and to ignore everything that is not the beloved. The chosen one has to prove to every day that the lover was right to put him on the pedestal and disdain other potential suitors.

Think of how you behave/stay/work around your mother or other everyday members or close friends in the comfort of your house or in that zone of familiarity. You are you, the pleasant with the un-pleasant, the sweet with the sour, the charming with the annoying, et all. You are a package, a realistic one as are the others. Now, imagine the dinner you have been dying to get an invitation to. The one that your crush will be in. And you do. Suddenly the ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude is replaced with fixing everything that is less than perfect. You change a dozen times, work on your hair, your skin, even your attitude.

You polish and you refine, you control and you restrain, you rehearse dialogues in your head, even brush up on information data bank to be more informed, and you put your best foot forward as you enter that party. Your crush does that too! Cupid strikes and the two of you hit it off.

There is the two of you putting your best face forward and then there is cupid, making you see nothing else but the best in the other. And the stages of love that Stendhal talks about begins; from admiration of the ‘other’, you go to hope (what would it be like have the beloved in my arms) and then to love as the beloved returns the feelings of passion. For, what is more charming than to enjoy the pleasures of love, of seeing, sharing, touching, and to be loved in return.

You credit a thousand perfections to your beloved as he/she does to you. What about the package, the other side, the imperfect one? The not so pleasant, the annoying or the opposing, the mismatched part?

They don’t exist or are not noticeable or fade into irrelevance! As said Stendhal in his theory of crystallization, “one need only dream up perfections to find them in the beloved.”

And in their defense, we can say that they believe in this perfection with all their strength. She is not delusional when she tells him he is the most desirable, sensual man on the planet, even if all her friends think he is quite dull. He is not lying when he tells her she is brilliant and beautiful, even if no one else agrees.

And so you put him on a pedestal and he puts you on a pedestal Neither is allowed to climb down! Any attempt to climb down is seen as betrayal. ‘You have changed’, is something we have often accused our beloved with, or have been charged with by them.

When the intensity of love wanes, we stop idealizing and begin to see things we don't like in our lovers.

It's not so much that we don't like who they really are, it's just that it had seemed, in love's illusion, that they were everything we really liked. And so while we fight about sex, housekeeping, money, how many drinks per party or how many stag nights a month, we are actually negotiating the nitty-gritty of living together with the ‘real’ person that we actually meet every single day once the crystallization wears off.

Poet D.H. Laurence says, ‘We’ve made a great mess of love, Since we made an ideal of it’. Ideals’ which act as a barrier to instinct, passion, and an appreciation of human nature as it is.

We love as much as human beings can love, that is, imperfectly.

Love is imperfect and thus it is endlessly reformable.

Flexibility allows a relationship to survive through changing needs and desires.

Loving has two phases, loving the person because of who he/she is and Loving the person despite who he/she is not."

We have been sold this idea of ‘perfect eternal love’. And if it is less then perfect then we must fix it. 

And to fix it there is a have a billion dollar industry! From cards to lingerie to diamonds to vacations, to perfumes, to…

Think about it….

 

Raksha Bharadia

Raksha Bharadia is a writer and editor. She has authored three books published by Rupa & Co. She has put together 13 titles in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series for Westland. She has also worked as a scriptwriter with Star Plus. She has been a columnist for Femina, Ahmedabad Mirror, and DNA, Ahmedabad. Raksha has taught creative writing for a Master’s Program at CEPT, Ahmedabad. Bonobology.com is Raksha’s first significant foray in the digital space.

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Comments : 8

I am Krishna: We love as much as human beings can love, that is, imperfectly. So true.

Team Bonobology: Even though we theoretically and intellectually know that nobody in this world is perfect, we still chase after this idea of “perfection”. :)

Shruti Mathur: If you are in love, you will find it perfect for you, with all its imperfections...

Team Bonobology: In order to fall deeply in love, a man has to be able to relate to you. It’s hard to relate to someone when they’re stuck in their own head – when we try to be perfect, we really are stuck in our own head. So if you feel like you have to strive towards something, strive towards being imperfect.

Raj: 'LOVE with another human' has a short shelf life. Mostly infatuation is mistakenly understood as love. After some time it is just. One can be in Love with one's hobbies, profession, motorcycle, dresses, Mobile for relatively longer periods

Team Bonobology: When it comes to love and romance, the pursuit of perfection is perhaps your biggest enemy. That’s right… the pursuit of perfection kills love. Because for as long as you’re trying to be perfect, you can’t be fully engaged with a man. You can’t fully be present and “fall” into the moment. :)

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