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The Lightness of Love. The Heaviness of Possession.

(About a 4 minute read)

This is how I explain it to myself.  Suppose you meet someone who soon delights you, but who you do not in any way think of as “yours”.  She’s not (at least not yet) your friend, or your lover, or your colleague, or your boss, or your employee, or your client, or your teacher, or your neighbor,  or your — anything.  She delights you, but — as we sometimes say — she means nothing to you.

Let’s say you met her because she sat down at the table next to you in a coffee shop.  Glancing over you see her take a novel out of her purse.  “What a striking cover! I’ve never seen another like it. Is it a good read?”  A conversation starts.  A few minutes later, you are thinking she’s an easy-going, down to earth, and rather delightful person.

The conversation soon enough tapers off, and you go back to your screen while she opens her novel.

Presently, her bagel sandwich arrives.  As it happens, she’s a bit of lip smacker.  Nothing too much, of course.  Just enough to be very mildly annoying.   So mild in fact, when you later on that evening briefly think of the delightful woman you met earlier in the coffee shop, her lip smacking has been forgotten.

What you have experienced is emotionally somewhat similar to the lightness of non-possessive love.

But turn all of that on its head!  A year goes by, one thing has led to another, and the two of you have become a couple.  Moreover, a rather possessive couple.

Following the love advice printed on the backs of cereal boxes, sung in popular songs, spelled out in many romance novels, and even declared from your nation’s pulpits, you have nursed and cultivated a possessive love.  “I am yours, you are mine.” “You’re my one and only one.”  “Wow! You love music too? We must be soulmates!”

But what happens now with the lip-smacking?  Now that you “mean everything” to each other?  Now that you have become each other’s possession?

Have you noticed?  Things have gotten heavier.

You’re once again in the coffee shop, this time together.  She’s very mildly annoying you with her lip-smacking again.  You’re hardly noticing it.  But that’s when you become aware that the attractive couple at the table next to yours are busy hiding the fun they’re making of her!

You’re offended of course!  How dare they!  But you’re also embarrassed now.  A year ago, her lip-smacking did not embarrass you at all, but now you feel a bit humiliated by it.

A year ago, she was not yours.  Her lip-smacking had nothing to do with you personally.  But now she is yours, and now her lip-smacking reflects on who you feel you are as a person.

For awhile, you still accept her.  For awhile, you’re embarrassed, a bit humiliated, but your feelings haven’t affected how you feel towards her.  Then comes the fatal moment when you think, “This is all unnecessary.  My embarrassment is all unnecessary.  She could easily change things.  She could so very easily cease to smack her lips.”

When she fails to immediately reform herself, you are soon enough stirred by impatience and frustration to anger.   “I don’t see why it’s so hard for you to just stop smacking your lips.  Am I asking too much for some peace while we’re eating?  You never listen to me, do you?”

You don’t see it at first, but you’ve begun putting distances between yourself and the woman who “means everything” to you.  Someday, those distances might become too much to travel across, even in bed.

The lightness of love.  The heaviness of possession.

That’s how I see it.  Your mileage might vary.


This post was written as a follow up to an earlier, autobiographical post, Sharon’s Love for the Horny Misfit Boy.

 

16 thoughts on “The Lightness of Love. The Heaviness of Possession.”

  1. This is unfair, because lip smacking is my biggest pet peeve, and irritated the hell out of me. I mean, I won’t call you out on it, unless it’s disgustingly unbearable…or a part of my family, but it does bother me lol Certain noises just irk me.

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      1. I’m not much into changing people either. Although I seem to be less reluctant than you maybe to say something like “your nose picking annoys me, but you do what you want — I’m just telling you so you know.” Honestly, given that I used to be quite reluctant to say such things, I think that’s something that has changed in me.

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  2. Yes, good clarifications, Paul. To maintain the attachment without claiming ownership (and therefore responsibility for) a partner’s behavior is sometimes a great challenge. I never really thought about it the way you describe. Thanks for the great fodder.

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      1. According to my scientifically accurate calculations, Amanda, you are actually 67.93% of a muse to me and rapidly rising. I am beginning to admire your Muse skills. Next step, shamelessly bragging about your skills in the seedy bars I and other wannabe local artists frequent here in Colorado Springs. “Bet you don’t have muses like I have muses! My muses are ripped!”

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    1. Thank you, Terese. May I suggest that you always bear in mind Joseph Campbell’s notion that the powers within us we deny become demons? Possessiveness is a power within us, near as I can see. The task is not to deny it, but to tame it. And one tames it by seeing how absurd and impossible it really is to own someone without destroying them.

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    1. Thank you so much, Punam! I think it is so important for us to speak the truth as we see it, even when it dissents from the truth as someone else sees it. Not always an easy thing to do, but so important because no one can speak for us or tell us what to believe or disbelieve. You and I very much disagree on this, but I cannot say you are wrong and I am right. I can only say what I myself believe. Thank you again for speaking the truth as you see it!

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      1. Oh! I always try to speak the truth as I see it. I have seen a few relationships destroyed because of love turning into possessiveness. The urge to mould the other to their own beliefs and viewpoint is very strong in many.
        You are right, none of us is wrong. It is good to agree to disagree…after all we are not in love. (Sorry couldn’t resist it! Lol)

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