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  • Often, our partner isn't necessarily

  • being terrible in any overt way

  • but we feel a growing sadness

  • about the character of our relationship.

  • The partner isn't as focused on us as we'd hoped.

  • There are often times when

  • they don't understand us properly.

  • They're often busy and preoccupied.

  • They can be a bit off-hand, or abrupt.

  • They're not hugely interested

  • in the details of our day.

  • They call their friends rather than talk with us.

  • We feel disenchanted and let down.

  • Love, was supposed to be lovely.

  • But without any one huge thing having gone wrong,

  • it doesn't feel much that way, day to day.

  • This sorrow has a paradoxical source.

  • We're upset now because

  • at some point in the past,

  • we were really rather fortunate.

  • We're sad, because we've been lucky.

  • To explain this seeming paradox,

  • we need to have a look at the intimate origins of love.

  • Our idea of what a good, loving relationship

  • should be like

  • and what it feels like to be loved,

  • doesn't ever come from what we've seen

  • in adulthood.

  • It arises from a stranger, more powerful source.

  • The idea of a happy couplehood

  • taps into a fundamental picture of

  • comfort, deep security, wordless communication,

  • and of our needs being effortlessly understood

  • that comes from early childhood.

  • At the best moments of childhood,

  • if things went reasonably well,

  • a loving parent offered us extraordinary satisfaction.

  • They knew when we were hungry or tired.

  • Even though we couldn't usually explain.

  • We didn't need to strive.

  • They made us feel completely safe.

  • We were held peacefully.

  • We were entertained, and indulged.

  • And even if we don't recall the explicit details,

  • the experience of being cherished

  • has made a profound impression on us.

  • It's planted itself in our deep minds

  • as the ideal template of what love should be.

  • As adults, without really noticing,

  • we continue to be enthralled to this notion

  • of being loved.

  • Projecting the best experience of our early years

  • into our present relationships.

  • And finding them sorely wanting as a result.

  • A comparison, that is profoundly corrosive,

  • and unfair.

  • The love we receive from a parent

  • can't ever be a workable model

  • for our later adult experience of love.

  • The reason is fundamental,

  • we were a baby then

  • we are an adult now.

  • A dichotomy with several key ramifications.

  • For a start, our needs were so much simpler.

  • Back then, we needed to be washed and amused,

  • put to bed..

  • But we didn't need someone to trawl

  • intelligently through the troubled corners of our minds.

  • We didn't need a caregiver to understand

  • why we prefer the first series of a television show

  • to the second.

  • Why its necessary to see our aunt on Sunday.

  • Or why it matters so much to us that the curtains

  • harmonize with the sofa covers.

  • Or that bread must be cut with a proper bread knife.

  • The parent knew absolutely what was required

  • in relation to certain basic physical and emotional

  • requirements.

  • Our partner on the other hand,

  • is stumbling in the dark

  • around needs that are immensely subtle,

  • far from obvious, and very complicated

  • to deliver upon.

  • Secondly, none of it was reciprocal back then.

  • The parent was intensely focused on caring for us

  • but they knew and totally accepted that we

  • wouldn't engage with their needs.

  • They didn't for a second imagine

  • that they could take their troubles to us,

  • or expect us to nurture them.

  • They didn't need us to ask them about their day.

  • Our responsibility was blissfully simple.

  • All we had to please them, was to exist.

  • Our most ordinary actions, rolling over on our tummy,

  • grasping a biscuit in our tiny hand,

  • enchanted them with ease.

  • We were loved, we didn't have, to love.

  • A distinction between kinds of love

  • which language normally artfully blurs,

  • shielding us in the difference between

  • being the privileged customer of love,

  • or its more exhausted and long suffering provider.

  • Futhermore, our parents were probably kind enough

  • to shield us from the burden

  • that looking after us imposed on them.

  • They maintained a reasonably sunny facade,

  • until they retired to their own bedroom.

  • At which, the true toll of their efforts could be witnessed

  • but, by then, we were asleep.

  • They did us the honor of not quite showing us

  • what looking after us cost them.

  • Which was immensely kind,

  • but did us one lasting disservice,

  • It may have unwittingly created an expectation

  • of what it could mean for someone to love us

  • which was never true in the first place.

  • We might in later life,

  • end up with lovers who are techy with us

  • who are too tired to talk at the end of the day,

  • who don't marvel at our every antic,

  • who can't even be bothered to listen to what we're saying

  • and we might feel, with some bitterness

  • that this is not how our parents were

  • The irony which has its redeeming side,

  • is that in truth, this is exactly how our parents were,

  • just up in their bedroom, when we were asleep,

  • and realize nothing.

  • The source of our present sorrow

  • is not, therefore, a special failing

  • on the part of our adult lovers.

  • They are not tragically inept nor uniquely selfish.

  • Its rather that we're judging our adult experiences

  • in the light of a very different kind of childhood love.

  • We are sorrowful not because

  • we have landed with the wrong person,

  • but because, we have sadly

  • been forced to grow up.

Often, our partner isn't necessarily

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B1 love parent adult childhood partner sorrow

Why Love Is Never As Nice As It Should Be

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    Caurora posted on 2017/04/29
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