Some of my friends (and soon-to-be friends once I meet them) at NYU Local have been sharing their thoughts on love over at their personal blogs. Here’s what they’re thinking.
The result is that we let ourselves get sucked into a “hookup culture,” pretend that we’re okay with being “friends with benefits,” act like sex without love is not just something that we’re okay with, but something that we’d prefer. Some women actually are this way, but many are not. I am not. And so we end up getting hurt and confused, and our love lives turn into this messy jumble of pseudo relationships, where “dates” are just big parties that you attend together, and “love” is what you feel just before you climax. To be vulnerable is to be weak, and no modern woman wants to be seen as weak.
Down with the barriers we’ve installed in the name of self-preservation, even if it means that the men who cross them might sometimes make us feel ashamed, or devastated, or just plain awful. You have to choose to be open to let love in, even if it might mean that hurt seeps through too.Even after all of the breakups I’ve endured, I now realize this: I’d rather feel heartache than nothing at all.
…a lot of girls my age want relationships, but they also don’t want to seem needy. What results is a lot of cold quasi-relationships, and they forget that maybe there is something to be said, something strong, about a life-long project that isn’t entirely self-centered. I constantly have to remind myself that it is absolutely a normal thing to want someone who is going to love me back more than anything or anyone else in the world (and have a career, cultivate a social life, and take care of myself).
Paradoxically, to love someone is also to wish for that person’s freedom. That’s because it is only the freedom of the object of your love that gives the project of love meaning. Only a free consciousness can freely reciprocate that love, and only a free consciousness can forever elude the possession towards which love projects but never reaches.
I’m a serial monogamist. I take on the qualities of the people I love: their humor, their gestures, their goals. It is maddening…None of these things are me, and yet they do not feel wrong.
But there are times when I suspect I do not know myself. At one point I found I had descended so far into a pit of Otherness that I became crippled at the mere thought of being alone, and I realized I had to change. Since then I’ve tried to rebulid myself, to create a picture of who I am outside the relationship I’ve carefully cultivated. But it’s been hard. I spent so long defining myself by my romantic life that for a long time, I felt stripped of any identity without it.
I don’t think that it matters whether you are a man or a woman, there is something to be admired in people who are in love. This is why the thought of “cold quasi-relationships,” as Annie calls them, is so off-putting. There is a place for loveless sex, and I’m definitely not here to say that you’re a horrible person if you have that type of relationship with sex (that would make me a pretty big hypocrite, among other things). The problem is that some people, myself included, fall into these quasi-relationships because they don’t want to reveal their weaknesses, especially to another person, much less to themselves.
I’ll add my thoughts when I have time.
Love is about completing yourself as a person. The expression “better-half” is cheesy and horrendous and isn’t what I mean. Love is not about finding someone who brings out the best in you- it’s about finding someone who fills in those gaps that your previous life (before them) has left missing.