“Living together has absolutely nothing to do with romantic love,” I said.
“I prefer love without the superfluous “baggage.'”
“You should qualify your first statement with: ‘for me,'” she replied.
“For some people, romantic love does include living together.”
“It’s a natural progression to wanting more closeness.”
And of course she was right, because as soon as you are “in love?” It is the most natural thing in the world for you to want to bottle it up forever. But just because wanting to live together feels natural to you, doesn’t mean that for romantic love itself, living together IS natural.
“You always talk about valuing the other, well…”
“…some people like to value the other up close and personal.”
“Sharing breakfast at the same table.”
“And smelling each other’s morning breath upon waking.”
Of course everything she described there you can experience with Romantic Friendships. The only difference is, she wants to experience that with one person 24/7. But that is the thing that always messes you up, because you fail to let absence make your love grow fonder.
“Sometimes you come across as proselytizing,” she said.
“As though you have discovered the one and only true way.”
“We are all wired differently.”
“Sharing experiences can also be sharing lives.”
“And our idea of what constitutes ‘baggage’ will vary.”
She continued, ” I just have never liked when people assert their opinion as objective fact, as you did with ‘living together has nothing to do with romantic love’. It actually does, for some people, and that goes beyond opinion.”
I replied, “I understand that people think it does.”
“I simply genuinely believe the opposite.”
“All the things we’ve become convinced we need to ‘add’ to love?”
“They are why we end up over and over with love ‘failing’ us.”
I said, “I don’t consider all relationship styles a matter of preference. There are objective differences in the results we experience, depending on how we personally see romantic love, and the relationship choices we make in light of this.”
“Each of us has the right to decide how we configure our love lives.”
“None of us is free from bearing the objective consequences.”
“I desire nothing more than to spare anyone I can.”
“To save them from the deeper ramifications of their preferences.”
As is usually the case, I didn’t really convince her at all, which to me is also completely understandable. Though you are always game to “tweak” specific details of your love life? You are rarely willing to question the “systemic” problems caused by your default cultural romantic paradigm.
So why is it then that I do what I do?
Because occasionally one of you does give me positive feedback.
You tell me I’ve given you the courage to challenge this in your own life.
That you’ve come to see a better way to enjoy relationships.
So what do you think now? Are you still convinced that your relationship style is really just a matter of your personal preferences, or are you better off applying logic to your love life so you have a better chance of it actually working out for you?
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