I have always had an ambivalent relationship to so called romantic love. One one hand, I am madly in love with love. I have been a sucker for the insanity of infatuation, from time to time losing myself in the highs and lows of falling in love. The butterflies in the belly can tickle softly but they can also shred the stomach lining. Falling in love can be the best and the worst feeling rolled up in one.
Then, when I emerge from the whirlwind of infatuation, and regain some clarity, I've always felt that there is something rotten at the core of romantic love. There is something very murky that lies at the bottom of it, if one starts to dig deeply. Something relating to patterns we've learned during childhood,and that often are unconscious, and something relating to existential anxiety (read: Fear of death) and then, of course, there's a purely biological component to it. We are mammals after all, primed to procreate (even though motherhood has never been my path), and a little mammal baby is quite vulnerable, so the infatuation feelings last for around three years (a time frame that seems to be scientifically proven, and that I see evidence of in my own and friends' love life) so the adults will stick together and protect the baby. But then, when the biologically generated hormones are gone, the infatuation fades and doubt, dissatisfaction, boredom or hard work sets in to keep the relationship going.
Another way to look at it is through the lens of yoga. Without craving and aversion there is no unhappiness and no suffering. We crave a new winter coat, a new bicycle, a new lover, and as soon as we get it, we crave something else. Because we can't crave something we already possess. And quite often the craving turns to aversion. The thing, the person we previously craved, we now hate, or despise, or at least, they irritate us.
And not only that, after years of studying and practicing yoga, meditation and buddhism, I know that so called romantic love, has very little to do with TRUE LOVE.
Romantic love is all about how the object of our desire makes us feel. It's very much conditional (on a side note so is the love between a parent and child, between friends).
True love, on the other hand, is a state of mind, a dimension one enters into. Sometimes romantic love can make us access that state momentarily, we are in love and we love the whole world. Sometimes a particularly spectacular sunset can make us feel love. A birth. A death. Nature.
For me, my first taste of true love, and probably also of spirituality happened the first time I took Ecstasy. And as the active ingredient took hold of me, I started brimming over with love. I loved every single human being that came in my way. I loved the pavement, the garbage cans, the icy rain and the wheel chair the goth-looking drug dealer conducted business in. I was content, happy, in love just sitting. I was content, happy, feeling love licking my little lollipop. I was content, happy dancing, walking. Every moment was magical. Every person incredibly beautiful.
I'm not encouraging anyone to do as many drugs (or any) that I have in the past, and ultimately, I don't think they are the right way. But they offered me a glimpse of something, that lead me onto the path I am now on. Like Alan Watts said: If you get the message hang up the phone!
In other words I should know better. Than to get tangled up in the mess of falling in love. But because I am still human and still on the path, and probably won't reach the goal in this life, I couldn't resist.
And now, broken-hearted and weepy, I feel blessed to at least have the practice of yoga and meditation to instantly elevate my mood, and help bring clarity.