Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Companion for Each Occasion

A French correspondent to whom I write about the nature of love and related matters assures me with feminine infallibility that "to be in love is passion."

Pour moi, la passion, c'est un amour très fort. La passion, c'est un amour déraisonné et un peu possessif.
(For me, passion is a very strong love. Passion is a love without reason and a little possessive.)

This unbridled feeling is focused on the one person, she says, whom one cannot stop thinking about, dreaming about, one cannot imagine life without this person.

So far, I imagine, my correspondent has plucked every heart in the house. I hear the sighs and ever the trickling of slow tears of recognition down the cheeks of some (predominantly female) readers.

Let me risk rotten tomatoes from the peanut gallery, if you'll excuse the mixed vegetable kingdom metaphor (and yes, purists, peanuts are legumes but legumes are still within the vegetable kingdom), and ask:
  • Must one person be the be-all and end-all of one's existence?
  • Is it realistic to expect one person to be the favorite conversation partner, the best dining companion, the most practical and helpful chore mate, the most leonine bed partner, the profoundest fellow philosopher of life and so on and so forth?
  • Aren't such combined, overblown and unliveable expectations or fantasies the cause of all our misfortunes in love?
Again, as I wrote in an earlier post (here), there doesn't seem to be any solid foundation for monogamy other than in the necessities of childrearing and patriarchal inheritance.

Why can't we opt for varied companions for different occasions, instead of single mates for every season who must perforce disappoint us?

We accept that certain friends bring certain gifts and others something quite different. Yet we can't, somehow, accept that there are men or women suitable for a night at the opera and different men or women suitable for a romp in the countryside.

Is there only one for each one? If so, why do at least 50% of those who choose ecclesiastical or legal means to express such a notion end up divorced?

These are just questions. I don't claim to have an answer. My experience just tells me that the conventional, sentimental answers don't work particularly well.

There's just got to be a better way.


Anonymous said...

In general, I agree with you. Perhaps the only difference is that I do believe we can have one primary mate, a soul mate, and the connection isn't based on interests or activities. That is why we have friends. I would have a problem with someone who was possessive and wanted to deny me the pleasure of time with friends who share interests or activities. I'd say a primary mate would go beyond that somehow. It's the trust, I guess. It's the sense that someone in the world has my back as he has mine ~ that there is a desire to be a team.

Just a few Sunday morning thoughts over tea :)



Anonymous said...

By definition, passion doesn't last : this strong feeling may last one night, a week, three months, more.. It doesn't mean monogamy for the whole existence.It doesn't prevent from other later passions. Not all at the same time, that's all.One person at a time. Period.
Otherwise, it is not passion, it is convenience : one is an artist in bed, while the other brings you the comfort of a family where you think you have a role to play, and the third one has the attraction of requiring kind of paternal attitude from your male protection , and the fourht is a good "converstation partner": none of them is passion.
Unless you find one ideal partner playing all the roles at the same time ( for a while, not for the whole life, of course, don't dream !) you don't know what passion really is.

Nikka S. said...

I think passion is some kind of mirage which highlights relevant aspects of our partner's personality, and hides others, on the basis of what we desperately need to find (as well as what the other person needs to show or to prove to him/herself).
That's just a beginning. You may be brave enough to discover the unexpected (in you and in the other), and decide if you like it or not (frustration may appear in any of both sides).
Deeper love is born when you make up your mind far beyond (or 'far within') 'what is supposed to be'(social, family, parental and peer expectations, moral, religion and your own preconceptions). Of course, you can always forge and sign a manufacturer's warranty to be able to trust.
However, these days I've found myself pretty aware of the fact that things in life do not tend to last, but to change and die. Perhaps the most difficult stuff is to identify the exact moment to let them go, and prevent rot and rust.