Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Wrong Way?

Foolish dreams lead me down a twisting road
The sun sets and shadows darken the way
Clouds hide the nighttime sparkle
And my steps falter

No lightness in the future path
Dragging feet through a tunnel without end
My eyes adjust to the dimness of my world

And tears pour down onto a gray life
Of unfulfilled love.


Passionate Life said...

Welcome to the club! Does anyone still believe in real love?

Irving Nebenthal, Forensic Psychologist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Passionate Life said...

The following is my response to a comment that was deleted. The main points are valid even without reading the previous comment.

Okay, its true that I am a bit cynical these days, so take my words with a grain of salt. My question is, how does one know what "true love" is? I don't know the particulars of this relationship but a relationship that is a few months old and is long distance may have potential, but I highly doubt it could possibly qualify for "true love".

I think the term "true love" is misplaced here. If you want to talk about opening oneself up to the possibility of love - then I completely agree with you and a lot of what you said. We are talking about very different things. Being open, making effort, letting go of pride and ego - all to make room for a partnership and love - I 100% agree with you.

The topic of "true love" is a different story.

I can't think of something that could be a barometer of that. The fact that some couples stay together for 50 years is not necessarily indicative of true love. They could be together out of comfort, convenience, or fear of being alone. I have seen too many old couples where I don't detect any real warmth or love but rather convenience.

If you take all the relationships that don't last, they certainly can't be true love. I love you like crazy today - but in three months or 2 years from now - I don't really care that much? What kind of love was that?

I have known couples that were madly in love, caring, giving, and loving for 15 years. Then one day things go downhill and now they are divorced. Was that true love?

We disguise all kinds of self serving needs as true love. We need much healing and finding our true selves before we can be truly in love.

Maybe its just me - but I believe there are very high standards for "true love". Maybe its not for everyone. For some people the best they can achieve is some type of semblance of love, maybe that's good enough.

But I wouldn't call that "true love."

Irving said...

Plife, let's make a distinction.

You used the phrase "real love". "True love" is not the same thing. True love is felt by two people for each other once 'real love' is mutually felt. All real loves have the potential to become true loves.

Passionate Life said...


I need a better definition. What exactly is the distinction between real love and true love? "Real" and "true" would seem to be the same thing.

Irving said...

Real love is something that has the potential to become true love when two people feel real love for each other, AND this mutually felt real love rises to a threshold that is exceptionally high. It's different for everyone, but those who have felt it, know it.

A person can feel love that is real, even when it's not reciprocated, or when it's reciprocated but not to the same degree or with the same level of full commitment.

Perhaps you didn't mean it that way - I should have been more clear when I said what i said that that is what I meant.

Passionate Life said...


You wrote:

"Real love is something that has the potential to become true love when two people feel real love for each other"

How does one know when they are feeling "real love" for each other? Maybe they are infatuated, maybe they want to feel "in love"? How does one know when they really love someone?

Particularly when you just met someone and have not spent a lot of time in person - I would be pretty skeptical that its love at all. We all hunger for love. We want desperately to have it. So we are very quick to designate any positive feelings we are having as love. Very rarely is it really love. When its a year later and you still feel that way - then we can talk about love.

Irving said...

OK, I'll fire back at ya, PL. How do you know G-d exists? How do you know that feeling you feel, that He does exist, is not just some sort of cover up for the anxiety you'd feel if He didn't? Do you think in a year you'll know any better? I don't think so. How will you know in a year whether or not real love was real? Would you know a year from now if a severe pain you feel today was less severe than it actually was?

Let's get back to the G-d example, so that I can round out my explanation. We feel an existential emptiness that life forces us to confront. That emptiness causes us to feel a void, and it forces us to search for meaning and purposefulness in life as a means of justifying the effort we expend just in surviving day to day. When a lifestyle and belief that we've learned before we even had complex feelings turns out to be an efficient tool for filling this void, and when resorting to belief in G-d gets us positive strokes from our society, we're quick to use it (either because it's "real" or because it's "utilitarian") and unless we're confronted by evidence to the contrary that the solution doesn't work anymore, we'll have very few questions about whether G-d is real.

In this scenario, all we can say with certainty is that the void as been filled with "something", until it's filled with something else. We know about the void - we've "felt" it.

But, is G-d really there? If G-d was there and we didn't sense it, would that change anything (here' I'm referring to one person being in love and the other isn't - does it make the love less real?)? No.

Nobody standing outside can determine for someone else if the love they felt was "real". Only they can.

There are those who will be forever agnostic, and will never feel "real love" for fear of having discovered in love something that lacks sufficient permanence to be considered "real". But when we compare it to other things in life (like religion, belief in education, loyalty, patriotism, etc.), it seems to me that such a belief places the bar impossibily high on love in ways that we don't behave for other important things.

If you are proposing that we ought to look for guarantees, I'd assert in response that it's a fools game - even true love can fail. If there was ever anything so priceless that I'd risk almost anything to have it, it's love. I'd even risk being made a fool of in my own eyes, which I may be doing with this post. :-)

What we do with this advice depends on our level of risk aversion, and our assessment of how much of all this we're in control of anyway.

My own belief is that the ONLY way to discover love is to put ALL of ourselves on the line. It occurs in stages, and too much too soon is not very constructive - no need to be rediculous about it - but I don't think there is a relationship worth having that isn't worth risking feeling foolish or even worse on. This is the only way to achieve the potential for "true love" that rests at the foundation of "real love".

BTW - what the heck do I know? This is just my instinct. I could be completely wrong, and that's OK. I'm going to try my hand at in anyway, but I'm pretty certain that the law of averages works in my favor on this one.

come running said...

PL and Irv,

You guys have me turned around and upside down. How 'bout we just call it love.

IRV said...

Yeah, you're probably right, PL. Infatuation.

CR - ;-p