People from all walks of life will tell you that they want to find love and happiness. But are these two necessarily compatible? What does it mean to have love? And what does it mean to be happy?
Well, the easiest one in my mind (to discuss, at least) is the one that I have been studying for years, happiness. Ayn Rand and almost every other philosopher in history talks about it. Put simply, happiness, I think, is getting what one desires. Ayn Rand talks all about how those desires should not conflict with reality so that they are attainable, but that’s not the point of today’s writing. So what do you desire? Think about this for awhile. What I desire is a great many things, freedom being one of them and achievement being another. Simply put, I’d love to travel the world and be free to talk about it online when I please and not really have much in the way of responsibilities. Some people want diamonds and rubies and life’s luxuries. I just want to leave all of that to them and have enough to be able to explore. I want to find my riches through knowledge of the world and other people. Its why I spend more time reading books than I do making blogs and trying to make more money. I thought I wanted riches for awhile and I really thought I wanted fame. It turned out, when I stopped considering what the world thinks I should want, I wanted neither. That’s my personal happiness.
But what about love. What IS LOVE? I did a whole series on this on the True Objective Podcast (link to listen to this series included if you click on the podcast name), and I found a few things. Everyone defines love differently, most people have no actual idea what they want (this is much like happiness, we just know we want it), but at the same time, everyone is very adamant about finding this elusive thing.
I’ve also, over the past several days found a few obstacles to love that I felt were worth pointing out.
IMPOSSIBILITY IN DESIRES
Doing a little research on the internet I realized that a lot of people want mind readers, they want someone who can reach inside their head and guess what they want even before they themselves know it (this goes back to what Ayn Rand said about wants and reality conflicting). For these people, happiness and love will never be synonymous until they redefine what they want in their relationships. In real life, you need to communicate what you want. So pick up an Non-Violent Communication book, please.
Some people want people who share everything in common with them, that want what they want. Now, if I’m an expert on anything, its this idea right here. I had a 5-year relationship going before I moved. I wanted to move to New Hampshire and the person that I still say I am more compatible with than anyone in the world, wanted to stay there and pursue his own dreams. What I loved most about him was his dreams and ambition, so I couldn’t be mad at him, only sad, when I said goodbye. He and I have all of it, we have a relationship that is enviable to many a married couple. He is my best friend and my confidant. There is nothing in the world we wouldn’t do for each other, except ask each other to give up our dreams. Mine was in New Hampshire and his was still in Indiana. So in our case, love and happiness didn’t seem to be compatible at the time, but I’ll come back to that.
Then there is the labelers. You know them. There was a brand new one I found just today on the internet. The ones that say, “I’m a romantic pansexual, atheistic, transexual nihilist looking for love. I created my own flag because there isn’t one to represent my own specific love/gender identity.” Now when I see this I am torn between two reactions (a) “Good for you putting yourself out there like that and knowing so much about yourself. I’m not sure I could tell you this much about the breakfast I just ate! Rock on and live long and prosper.” and (b) “I don’t think you’re going to need a flag for that. Normally flags are for groups (though I am an anarchist and could see the joy in having my own flag just for me). I don’t think you’re going to find love…… but I’m rooting for you.”
Maybe I’m just cynical, but the people above….. they’re probably going to die alone or decide to get more specific, or in some cases less. A lot of people see this period of their lives as settling. They finally put down their checklist and find the closest male that will consent to it and marry them.
Some people find that person that can read all their thoughts or falls into that very special category or as some put it in the romantic comedies, completes the checklist, and they have no problem with making it work for any reason whatsoever. But, I’ve come to find that is actually really rare. So for the rest of us, there is settling…. picking one person who completes a reasonable amount of our checklist or even just fills that box “living, breathing, person.” And then we marry them…. and we live… um (checks the divorce rate)… nevermind…
Or! What is the or, you ask?
Polyamory has been my solution to this complicated problem. Often I find people who complete part of my checklist or even most of it, as my boyfriend in Indiana does. The only box on my checklist that man doesn’t fill is…. well you get the picture, he’s in Indiana and I’m here. So I met, Ryan, the other guy that fills a lot of checkboxes, not all of them, but a lot.
But, I’ve still got this new checkbox I would like filled so I’ll keep looking, but I never ask Ryan to fill it. You know why I don’t? Because I don’t want to change him. I don’t want him to be any different. Not only because I fear that if he changes this one thing it will throw off his filling of all the other checkboxes or maybe just one, but also because I see the divorce rate. Do you know why those people fell in love and aren’t together? Because they set their love outside of reality. They made love and happiness a contest and most people, will pick happiness over love.
They either thought that person filled all their checkboxes and then later found some new things to add to the list, or they settled and then did the thing that men dread more than anything in the whole world, they tried to change the person.
I don’t try to change my boyfriends, EVER! It’s my #1 rule. I get a lot of comments from people about how my boyfriends are going to leave me or they’re just putting up with this right now, etc. But I’ll tell you, they both come from a monoamorous world, they have done monoamory over and over and upon being with me, they tried polyamory. I can tell you with absolute certainty (because they have told me unprompted many times), that their relationship with me makes them so happy that they have both talked about marriage with me (something they were both previously wary of). They love being with me because of my #1 rule. I don’t try to change anyone. Either, love people they way that they are or (a) leave them or (b) try polyamory. Those are your options.
And there will be women out there looking at this article saying, “No! I changed my man and so can you!” Maybe you did, but someone who doesn’t have enough sense of self to stand up for who they are to you, is not someone that I find desirable. If that’s for you, go for it.
And if you like this article and think, “Changing people is not really the way to go about life. Respecting and loving someone for who they are is much better.” You should consider becoming a voluntarist, they apply this principle to lovers and the whole human race.
Don’t make life a choice between love and happiness. You can have both. I promise.
Someday, I intend to write a book about all of this, because I have so much more to say, but I feel that covers my thoughts for the day.