Male, late 20s, single

What does romantic love mean to you? (define it)

Romantic love is a term for the bond one person has with another whom they see as a potential mate or who is their mate (and I mean that in a very non-Australian way). Physical attraction plays a role in romantic love, but is not the whole thing. People also attach lots of ideas and expectations to romantic love and how it should play out, and this helps it to be even messier than it already on its own. But it feels sooo good…

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

I think platonic means that it’s not tied to physical or sexual attraction, but is based on spiritual things, or at least abstractions.

Why do you (or we, if you don’t) seek love?

Like Mumford and Sons said in “Sigh No More,” I was just designed that way.

There is a design, an alignment, a cry/ of my heart to see/ the beauty of love/ as it was made to be

Is there one perfect person out there for you, or can you, through selfless loving, have a great relationship with someone very special?

If this question is about soul mates, then, no, I don’t think that there is one perfect person for me out there whom I need to somehow locate. Partly I want to say that because I already met a girl who would’ve been a great match with me, and she’s married and living in a different state… Really, though, I’m not sure where this idea of trying to find “the one” came from, because it didn’t exist for most of history, from what I can tell. People couldn’t browse the internet for hundreds of matches, so they just found someone (or someone was found for them) who was available and got together if it made sense and was feasible. I’m not saying romantic love didn’t exist, but I do think we’ve romanticized it, if that makes sense. We have so many options, and we’re told that we have a right to make ourselves happy, so we run around searching for ideal situations that we’ve imagined in our own heads.

Anyway, I think that, realistically, there are a lot of awesome ladies out there with whom I could get together and have a great relationship. The human potential to grow, learn, and adapt makes for a plethora of possibilities, and even some of the people you disregard now might be obviously solid options down the road. Whether or not it actually lasts is another thing, but again I see that as less a matter of compatibility than it is a function of both parties’ willingness to make it work (and by “make it work” I mean thriving in that relationship, not suffering through it). I’m also not saying we should aim low or “settle” for someone, but I do think there’s this idea that love will bring perfection, or near-perfection, in a world that presents not perfection but difficulties, misunderstandings, and broken people. So I think it’s mostly erroneous to look for someone who suddenly completes you, but it seems like that’s what a lot of people are at least subconsciously doing.

Should, and do, men pursue women that they are interested in?  Should women pursue?

I suppose, but I’m not clear on what exactly constitutes pursuit. I don’t think women should be completely passive about relationships, but in my experience it’s pretty uncomfortable when they’re aggressive. I guess I would look less at specific actions and more at a woman’s manner of approaching situations and guys.

If you are in a relationship (especially if you are married), how did you know that was the person for you?  If not, have you ever been in love, and how did you know?

Thoughts: 1) Christ followers are commanded to love everyone. Even if I don’t do it nearly as well as I should, there are lots of people whom I love. This complicates things because 2) we also use “love” as a stronger form of “like.” You date someone and like them, but at some point it gets strong enough that you say it’s love. I don’t know, but I suppose that it’s usually the point at which you’re willing to make some kind of commitment, because as soon as you say you “love” the other person, they start assuming and expecting all sorts of things that didn’t arise from you simply “liking” them. 3) On top of this, sometimes all this liking and loving can be directed toward an idea rather than the actual person; an idealized version of that person, the idea of having a boyfriend/girlfriend, the idea of your potential future with that person, etc. Have I ever been in love? Sure, but only if you take a soft definition of being in love. How did I know? I didn’t.

 How do you stay in love, or make it last?

The thing about love is, it’s complicated. It is a feeling, but it’s also a choice. And the choices you make can affect the feeling, as well as affecting how the other person feels and behaves, which comes back and affects you. So, to an extent, I think it depends on how both parties continue to willfully interact with each other. But it’s more complex than that. Basically, I don’t know how to answer the question.

What do you love best about the opposite sex, and what do you dislike the most about them?

The answer to both of these questions is the same: girls are weird.

What advice would you give?  Love related, but anything at all to anyone at all.

Be aware of your past and how it affects you; don’t let fear direct you; evaluate your reasons–selfishness will not work; seek the good; be honest; think about how your words affect others; do the opposite of anything you see on Arrested Development; if you’re a Christian, think of your relationship(s) in the context of your relationship with God, and realize that only he can totally fulfill you; learn to forgive; be open to the possibility that you might be, at any given moment, taking yourself way too seriously.


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