Thoughts on love…

Have you ever seen two people fall in love and been baffled as to why?

What is most important in a relationship? Is it passion or compatibility? Or romance or stability?

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we grabbed some snippets from our Shakespeare Matters MOOC discussion forum. Our learners considered these questions, and shared their experiences and views on love.

Whether you’re a cynic, a hopeless romantic or are still undecided about this crazy little thing called love, some say there’s one thing that reigns true; love is what gives life purpose.  

Here are some snippets from our discussion forum:

I think the statement that love is a verb raises a very interesting point. Perhaps this is the reason why people fall out of love? That they stop treating love like a verb, and they stop doing the things needed to assure their partner that they do, indeed, love them? If you treat love like a noun, perhaps you are more likely to think that love will just stay what it is without needing to put in any effort. Love is not an end point, but a work in progress.

I guess the essential ingredient of every relationship is acceptance. I mean no person is a split image of another and couples are so, too. So the romantic spark isn’t guaranteed to last forever I feel like it is acceptance of your partner’s flaws and good points is all you need.

I’m seventy years old and wise enough to know that passion is a trickster. I’m a father and grandfather, so I am cautious, from my point of view, love is a dangerous source of sorrow. I fear for my children at each declaration of new love. Love is blind. It can produce wild delusions, even hallucinations. It is a dark shadow at each school dance, a suspicious guest at each wedding. Yet, without surrender to it, life is narrow and hollow.

The Yin and Yang of love… Do we protect ourselves from disappointment and die without passion or experience “love” and risk disaster? As the phrase states: it is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. My personal choice is to risk all and experience all that I can in life and love.

With maturity you have the wisdom to see that passion may lead one into a relationship but is short lived while compatibility is enduring. Romance never needs to die at the expense of stability. Look at cute old couple that still hold hands.

A serious breakup is one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through. Circumstances, people and customs vary immensely, and each case is different, and even each person is different at different ages. One thing is however pretty uniform: taking drastic actions soon after trauma is never a good idea. Plenty of time to be yourself, be comfortable, and be uninfluenced, can only be helpful. However a change of scene or a new hobby can blow some cobwebs and help forward movement. Shakespeare’s comedies are full of people who make mistakes or fall foul of Cupid, but the clever ones pick themselves back up. Good luck! 🙂

Falling in love, or at least being smitten, corresponds with some of the most embarrassing moments of my life: being tongue tied; using ridiculous strategies to see if the your feelings are being reciprocated without simply asking outright; trying to appear casual while the heart is beating 200 b.p.m. and, yes, hands are shaking and knees are weak. – all a bit cringy when age and cynicism kick in and medical science tell you it’s all just brain chemistry in any case??!!

Is it passion? Surely it is more than this, which could just be sexual attraction (notoriously troublesome), which may not last, however thrilling it may seem. Is it how you feel about someone? Perhaps this is just (selfish) projection.

May I offer a suggestion as to that which endures? That is, love finds its best expression when what you truly desire is that your partner prospers. This means that you care about your partner more than about yourself. If you both do this and remain true to it, you will give and receive love and happiness, with the consequential benefit that your lives and that of those around you will be enriched.

Personally, I think relationships are the most complicated thing in the world. There is never a standard or correct answer for it. For comparing which factor is more important in a relationship, it may be depend on the stage of the relationship and the couples’ demands. Basically, I think all of them are very important because life is moving, alive and diverse. 
For me, many factors won’t be a problem for two people fall in love, such as age gaps, different social class, different religions, or different ethnics. But I don’t think that two people will match or can have a long relationship when they have different values or take advantage of each other, in other words, getting together for a specific purpose like money or fame. In my view, love should be pure. 

My relationships were like romance genres: tragedy averted with comedy. My first boyfriend never had the approval from my parents and I would constantly fight with them. Our families and religions could not have been more different, and there is a massive 5 year scar across my heart from the pressure, stress, arguments, secrets, guilt, etc. Never mind that my parents never liked him – he was TOTALLY wrong for me. I narrowly averted the tragedy which would have been splitting my family, and was lucky enough to find the perfect guy for me – whom my parents love! Compatibility over passion any day. Passion was all my previous relationship had and he drove me nuts. My partner (soon-to-be fiancé) and I were friends first, we have things in common; our compatibility is paramount. And the romance comes so easily. 


Happy Valentine’s Day from AdelaideX!

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