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Male, 58, Single (“all my life”)

*This is from a fellow blogger; you can check out his blog here.*

What does romantic love mean to you?

Romantic love for me has been a tragic illusion. It usually has a lot more to do with yourself than the object of your love. She triggers something within yourself which literally transforms your experience of everything in your life. It is as close to magic as we ever get. But it isn’t real. The more you get caught up in it the more tragic the consequences. At some point, romantic love must give way to genuine love if these consequences are to be avoided. Genuine love has an entirely different character than romantic love.

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

Well, originally , platonic love referred to love between two men, but in it’s modern sense, platonic love is either somebody who is really romantically in love and doesn’t reveal this fact for fear of rejection and deceives himself into believing his love is platonic, or it is the real thing. Real platonic love has no agenda, neither party is waiting for anything to happen. Real platonic love tends to be more unconditional than romantic love which tends to be very conditional (although those involved in it would protest that they have undying love for each other which is totally unconditional, but they are insane and cannot be believed for a second). In fact, romantic love is quite fragile, whereas platonic love can weather the storm, it is based on a genuine regard for one another without those glorious intoxicating illusions associated with romantic love.

Why do we seek love?

Because we feel incomplete. There is an unbearable emptiness which drives us to make absolute fools of ourselves in pursuit of love. We seem to think love will solve all our problems, often when love is staring us in the face, we refuse to recognize it. The seeking is so much more poignant than the having.

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

You must be very young to be asking such a silly question. Relationships are as special as you make them, and if you can stop asking yourself if what you are feeling is in fact love, then you may be capable of selfless love. Selfless love happens when you least suspect it, and always escapes your notice. It just is, and the specialness is a special kind of ordinariness. A perfect person for you? That is a notion that is certain to destroy any relationship. Perfection is a foolish notion which should be discarded.

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

Of course they do, and usually without finesse. Men tend to make too big a deal out of it (and so do women) which gets in the way. People being interested in one another is the most natural thing in the world, but we always seem to manage to screw it up. Of course women should pursue men. I wish they would pursue me.

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?

If you are asking yourself if you are in love, you aren’t, you are infatuated, which is different. When you are in love, you are in such a state of bliss that it is unmistakable. It takes over your life, you will definitely notice it and it will play hell with all of your best laid plans. How did I know she was right for me? I didn’t, and that was why all my relationships generally die from neglect. The few times I thought she was the one for me, I was badly mistaken, and suffered accordingly.

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

Stop asking yourself that dumb question and it may last a very long time.

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

I love their bodies, their faces, that magical something that cannot be defined, their compassion, and the depth to which they care when they do. I dislike the casual cruelty, the way in which a woman can shut you out so completely you feel like shooting yourself, I dislike the fickleness, the way women care about all the wrong things, but I am being unfair, men are much worse in all these respects, but then, you didn’t ask that question, did you?

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

Let it be what it is, stop trying to figure out your next move, and just relax and if at all possible enjoy yourself! You might want to also check to see if your fly is open, before engaging in your charm offensive.

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Female, early 20s, single

What does romantic love mean to you?

Romantic love, as opposed to platonic love, involves sexual interest and pertains to one’s spouse or potential spouse.

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

Platonic love is not sexual. Platonic love is, I think, often sexualized and/or mistaken for romantic love (e.g.: when someone has a genuine respect, affection, and concern for the well-being of another but is not sexually attracted to them), but they are not the same thing. Platonic love can turn into romantic love, especially among women, who tend to take more time to warm up to the idea of being with someone than our male counterparts.

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

We are unbreakably social creatures. We can be twisted, abused, or tormented, but at some level we will still want relationship with others. We are made that way.

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

I think that the concept of having a “soul mate” is silly. We’re too selfish as people to love (read: enjoy and want be be around) one person for the rest of forever, even when they annoy the crap out of us, wound us deeply, or become less attractive in some way. There are certain deep sorts of bonds, though, which can feel timeless and which are refined, fortified, and preserved, I think, by loving (read: selflessly serving, communicating with, being in honest relationship with) the other person(s)–spouse, friend, family member, or otherwise.

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

This is an area of some cognitive dissonance for me. On the one hand, I am an assertive, confident woman with a life to live. And I intend to live it, whether a godly man wants to come along for the ride or not. I don’t like playing head games with people, and I would prefer that we were all a bit more straightforward with one another, male or female, romantic subject matter or otherwise. I see these all as good qualities. However, on the other hand, while moral considerations in these matters are the same for men and women (honesty, selflessness, etc.), perhaps roles are not. So the complementarianism that surrounds me says. Men chase; women are chased. Men admire; women are admired. Men initiate; women respond. I feel trapped at the thought of having to just play dumb and wait it out while some great guy with potential remains totally oblivious to my interest in him; on the other hand, I really do feel genuinely… appreciated and protected when men whose character I trust act chivalrously toward me. Even something as simple as my classmate’s insistence on holding the door for all of us ladies I find touching.

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?

I have been almost-engaged twice, but I don’t know that I would call either of those “in love” because I’m not sure I know what being “in love” really is to me. I cared about both guys, but I came to believe that the first was an unwise choice for a spouse at that time, and the second came to believe that I was an unwise choice for a spouse at that time. I did feel totally comfortable with the second guy in every way: I trusted his character; I trusted his leadership; I appreciated his conversation and the ways that he appreciated and protected me; and for all of those reasons, I would have said “yes” without hesitation if he had come to a different decision for himself. C’est la vie.

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

Heat two years of attraction and friendship in a set of lasting memories; stir in several spoonfuls each of affection, compassion, honesty, and trustworthiness; top with a HEAPING dose of unending forgiveness; garnish with some finely ground humility. Voila! Serve warm.

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

I don’t like to admit to many things that make me feel terribly girly, but I will say that it makes me feel like a woman (in the best sense) when men are protective of me and concerned for my safety and general well-being. While my trust issues might want to say, “I can do it myself” (Read: “Feeling dependent upon you is a little too vulnerable for where I’m at right now”), inside I go “AWWWWW” when a guy I trust insists on giving me a ride home rather than letting me take the bus at night, or sits me down and makes me cough up what’s wrong emotionally when I feel overwhelmed but don’t want to admit it.

I think what I least appreciate about the men I have been around, generally, is the unwillingness to commit. I am coming to a fuller appreciation for those who take their time out of genuine carefulness and desire to make good choices, but there is a certain level of “if I stay single, I can do what I want and not think about future responsibilities” that leaves a lot of girls feeling “on the shelf” for a long time. (Not to say that there aren’t any women with this attitude, I’ve just seen it more in men in the circles that I run in.)

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

The standards that we have for mates/potential mates tend to be qualities that we admire in people, generally, and that we want to see in ourselves. Strive to emulate the person that you want to marry, whether you have met them and/or married them yet or not, and, if you haven’t, you will attract that kind of person. Also, hold on to the good memories, especially the early ones. Create an oral tradition for yourselves. I think that this fuels a lot of life.

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Been a little busy so I don’t have new stuff…but I need more interviews!! All the instructions are on this post 🙂

Reflections on Love

Ok everyone!! I have interview questions. I am going to ask random people (that I know) to answer these for me, but I would like as many people as possible to do it, so if you would like to, just send me your answers in an email or something… lysbleudesigns@gmail.com. I don’t know how to allow you to make your answers anonymous to me, but if you want to do that and can figure out how, go for it. However, please include (whether or not you send it to me anonymously), so that I can post it anonymously but help people figure out where your expertise is coming from: Your sex, age (you can do range if you’d like, such as 40s, early 20s, etc), and relationship status (and time period if you are willing, such as married 5 years, in a relationship 1 month, etc. No need to put…

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Female, 28, Married 1 1/2 years

What does romantic love mean to you?

I think the word “romance” probably means a lot of different things to different people. To me, romance is that sweet golden lining that has the power to stop time and make you completely oblivious to the rest of the world. I do not think romance is essential to life, but I do think it’s essential to any sort of relationship based on marriage or long-term commitment. Because without romance, you’re just acting as business partners.

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

I think there’s more of an obsession (in a healthy way) and desire to partner in romantic love than there is in platonic relationships.

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

I think it’s how we’re wired. We were created to be in relationship with other people, and even though we can be selfish, I believe God also created us to care deeply about people and have the desire to partner with another person.

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

I don’t think there’s only one mate for each person. I think as we go through life, we meet many people who would make great partners to us. I think having a view of there just being one person out there for you causes problems when life gets difficult. Love is a choice each day.

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

I don’t think there’s an absolute rule on this because we all have different personalities and expectations of life. I know many men who do pursue women in an honorable way, but I also know many men who are terrified to pursue women. I personally am a bit old fashioned and knew that I wanted to be pursued because I believe it says a lot about a man’s character to be able to see a woman he likes and admires and to purposefully get to know her.

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?

I knew my husband was right for me because we aligned on so many important aspects of how we wanted to live our lives, especially in the aspect of our faith. I also really respect and admire who he is as a person, which I think is an important element to a healthy marriage. But even more than that, we have so much fun together, and once I met him, I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it.

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

I think it’s so important to make each other a priority. If you bought a plant but never watered it, would you expect it to stay alive? In the same way, a relationship (whether romantic or even just friendship) requires some amount of care for it to thrive.

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

The men in my life are so different that I really can’t think of one overarching characteristic (whether positive or negative) that is true for each of them.

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

Don’t live your life looking for love. Instead, love your life, and love will follow.

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Female, 25, single

What does romantic love mean to you?

It means having someone you can count on to be there for you. It means giving someone the power to hurt you, and trusting that they won’t. It’s caring so deeply for someone that you would sacrifice so much to make them happy and keep them safe and they would do the same for you. At least, that’s what I like to think it is.

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

Sexual attraction/chemistry. I have friends and family that I love just as deeply, if not more so, as I have ever loved a romantic partner, the difference with the romantic partner was the sexual aspect of the relationship.

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

I need people in my life. I need to know that there are people I love and who love me in return. And as far as romantic love is concerned, it would be nice to have that love coupled with a sexual relationship.

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

I like to think there is more than one love for me or any person. No one is perfect, but you can find someone who is pretty close. The idea of there only being one perfect person for each individual is daunting. There are 8 billion people on this planet, finding just one when you don’t know who they are or where they may be is something I’d rather not think about. I think there are several people out there that would make a great match to someone, and finding them is difficult enough without making only one person the be all, end all.

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

I think everyone, men and women, should pursue someone they are interested in. At least as long as that someone is available and hasn’t already made it clear that they don’t return the interest.

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?

I have been in love several times in my life. I have a strange and morbid way of knowing for sure when I really love someone. I have nightmares about them killing me. For me, that’s my subconscious’ way of telling me that this person means so much to me that they are able to hurt me more than most.

I wrote a whole blog post about it, if you want to include the link, here it is http://dnici.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/how-do-you-know-when-you-love-someone/

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

I don’t have any experience here, but I like to think that being open and honest about how you feel, what you think, and what you need out of the relationship is key. Keeping the pathways of communication open is important. This is not just verbal, maintaining eye contact while talking, looking at each other and smiling are good things to keep in mind. Also, small touches during everyday life. I have watched couples that have been together for a long time, and they are always touching one another. Just a quick squeeze of the hand, a hug, a passing touch on the arm, or a hand on the back are little caresses that seem to make a big difference.

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

I love how men are always warm. I get cold a lot and I love to have someone warm to get close to. They also give the best hugs. I think what I most dislike about men is how they don’t pay much attention to detail. It’s upsetting when you do something that seems like it makes a big difference to you but he doesn’t even notice it.

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

No matter what kind of relationship it is, you should always get out of it what you put in. Whether it’s romantic, friendship, family, or even work colleagues, everyone involved should put forth the same amount of effort and energy to maintain the relationship. If you are the one doing everything, that is not a relationship you want to have, and you need to end it for your own sake. But there are many ways to put forth the effort. It’s not just emotional or financial. It could be shown by reliability, doing little things for the other person, or paying genuine compliments. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, then you need to cut ties with the person doing it and you should strive to not be that person in other people’s lives.

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Male, 25, Single

What does romantic love mean to you?

Girl makes sandwich for guy / Guy tells girl she made a great sandwich.

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

“Bromantic” without the letter B, Platonic sounds like the work mnemonic.

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

Because who doesn’t like a little bit of lovin’ if you know what I’m sayin’ 😉

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

No.

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

Guys need to man up and pursue women. End of story. Girls who pursue are creepy 😛

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?

I don’t know.

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

The woman needs to keep making sandwiches / the man needs to keep telling her she’s doing a great job.

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

They’re not a guy. When they don’t make sandwiches.

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

If you try and fail, move on.

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Female, 21. Fellow blogger, hopeless romantic, Single (officially) but in a relationship (unofficially)

What does romantic love mean to you?

Romantic love is that unconditional and uncontrollable feeling you have with one person. It’s like their very presence makes any day that much better or worse. They read you like a book, which you either have come to love and hate at the same time. It’s that person that you decide “hi, I want to grow old with you.”

What is the difference between platonic love and romantic love?

Sexual attraction. Seriously, that makes a difference regardless. But also, your devotion and commitment in a romantic relationship differs from a friend. You’re giving someone your heart and soul and hoping it works out.

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

I love to love. I’m a recovering hopeless romantic and someday, I want to spoil the one that I love with everything I have and hope to get that back as well. What good is it to just shower myself with love?

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

I think we’re able to form several relationships in our lives that help us for the next relationship or last. There is no perfect person out there, but someone who’s willing to accept you as you are. Some of the best things in life are unexpected, you just have to keep calm and carry on.

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

Men definitely pursue but there isn’t anything wrong with a woman showing a man some affection. It works both ways.

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?

I’m starting a relationship and while I don’t know if he’s the one, he certainly fits the mold. We laugh, we argue and he makes me happy. He’s willing to put up with my neurotic tendencies. I can’t ask for anything more at this point in my life. If he grows to love me, even better.

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

When you find out, let me know. That’s a scary thought, “making” something “last.”

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

I love the security that they provide. Not even from a physical standpoint, but just emotionally. What I dislike about the opposite sex is that dumb profound notion of the double standard. We both come from different places, doesn’t matter where, but at least we’ve met. Forget the stuff before.

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

Stay in love and keep loving. Somewhere, someone out there will appreciate the joy you’re going to give them.