dimanche, juillet 24, 2011
Limerence, love and the whole darned thing
An email from a friend tonight got me thinking about falling in love --and what that can look like in someone my age.
Yeah, I know I sound a bit clinical. I have issues with that -- too much time in the head, and not enough in the heart, when it comes to love.
More on the email later.
I was already, for a number of reasons, thinking about limerence. As I understood the term, it's that euphoric state that couples go through when they first fall for one another. It also, apparently, can become a psychological disorder -- well, so can eating too many cookies.
Actually, I'm not sure about the cookies, but I suspect they have a DSM code for that one.
I hate it when science takes the fun out of the activities we enjoy, don't you?
Limerence -- I don't know much about it. Did I ever encounter the beast? I'm not sure. I asked my daughter, and she says she's recognized it in sixteen-year-old boys. Which isn't very helpful in figuring out what love (the type that lasts) looks like among men and women long past their high school years.
If that "in-love" feeling, which is about identification with the beloved, walking on air, and daydreaming about the future is one end of spectrum, the "gotta work at love" philosophy is grittier, more practical, and, frankly, more boring.
Communication skills (yawn). Balance (give me a break). Figuring things out step by step (have I put ya to sleep yet?).
In that respect, I'm more conservative than Michele Bachmann.
I've come to realize that I'm probably too cautious -- and perhaps too closed off to the possibilities that come with being willing to take some risks.
There's a fine line between rational and scared.
I know that barren place better than I'm willing to admit -- except here, of course.
So back to that email. After a frustrating encounter with a jerk she met online (which she wouldn't have had if she wasn't willing to take the risk of actually going out with him!) a friend stumbled into a situation was that seems entirely, graciously, and incredibly serendipitous.
Out of an unplanned meeting ( I am blurring details to protect her privacy) came another meeting. And a dinner...and eventually, a real relationship -- one that continues to evolve.
To get to THAT place, however, she had to be willing to meet a number of guys -- and to work with a lower set of standards. Upon reflection, that seems to be a very good idea.
Her new love affair involves compromise, and change, and work.
Of it, she wrote: "It's good, Elizabeth. And real. And astonishing. And passionate. And hard."
I like her blend of engagement and realism. To me, she's hitting the right notes. And her story is both a warning and an inspiration to me.
A warning that standing in one place doesn't get you anywhere but where you are...
About the inspiration? It's possible that opening my mind, and my heart, may take me places I've never seen before -- only in the company of someone else. I'd like to know what that country looks like with someone who can push hard when I pull back. A guy who can get me laughing -- particularly at myself. A guy I want to see first thing when I get up, even if it's to argue about religion, or politics, or the best picnic venues in Chester County.
E with a crush. Gosh, I'd pay good money to see THAT.
All I can commit to is maybe...