“What about love?”
“Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate.”
—Al Pacino (The Devil’s Advocate)
Have you ever dreamed of the perfect partner, the ultimate romantic love in the perfect relationship?
A partner who is your missing part, the one that fulfills you and makes you complete? Who’s been waiting their whole life just to meet you, and by your bond, a door in heaven opens for you?
Welcome to the club. You are not alone.
Please read the following email from a dear reader:
Throughout my breakup, there’s a concept that’s been holding me back:
I’ve always believed it, but after this breakup, I’ve come to question it.
I was so sure my Ex was the one, and I was so sure she would never hurt me like this.
If I ever find love again, how will I know if that person really is the one?
I had no doubt in my mind that he was the one, in fact, part of me still believes it, but how can I ever be sure of anything in a relationship if I was so certain last time and so wrong?
I too suffered from the same disease: believing in an unrealistic picture of “Love.”
The Concept Of “The One”
Since I was little, I believed in the concept of finding “the one.”
I knew exactly how this whole thing was going to play out:
I would accidentally run into a beautiful and charming girl one fine day, (or maybe she would knock at my front door), look into her face and immediately realize that we were meant for each other.
She would be “the one”.
The following life together would be one of fulfillment and eternal love.
Heaven on earth in the arms of a woman.
Please take a look at the following little story from the ancient Greek about the origins of true love which I read a long time ago:
The Origin of Love
There was Aristophanes’ Androgyny, Plato’s anecdote on the origins of love and mankind. The story recounts the primordial androgyny, mythical creatures with four arms, four legs, and two heads. They epitomized completeness and were able to do almost anything. However, their pride in their abilities angered the gods and caused Zeus to cut them. Separated in two, they were destined to drift alone, empty and incomplete, longing for their former halves. For Plato, the androgyny is the symbol of wholeness, and the pursuit of it is what love is.
Isn’t this beautiful? This story always fascinated me.
The problem here was that I took the whole thing too much to heart. I was looking for my missing half.
Has it worked out that way for me? Do I still believe in it, and does it have to be a bad thing doing so?
I will tell you in a minute.
First, I have a question for you:What do YOU think is the definition of true love, and is there such thing as 'the one'?
Not so easy to answer, is it?
There is a scientific categorization from a renowned sociologist about the six types of love.
According to John Lee, there are six different types we can distinguish.
Six Types Of Love
Let’s list them all:
1. The sexual love called “Eros”
The focus here is a sexual one where looks are more important than anything else. It is based on aesthetic enjoyment.
2. The love of the players called “Ludis”
These people tend to change partners frequently and are never attached to anyone. They like the game and the conquest.
3. The companionate love, the “Storge”
The warm and affectionate love you feel for a sibling or a best friend.
4. The obsessive love, the “Mania”
It’s an extreme form of love where the lover possesses the other completely and wants their partner’s attention constantly. This is usually driven by low self-esteem.
5. The love called “Pragma”
This type of love is realistic, the lovers are looking for a match referring to personality and values.
6. The altruistic love, the “Agape”
Unselfish as it is, it accepts people as who they are and does not try to change them without asking anything in return.
By looking at the list, you can easily assign what types of love you have felt in the past.
Let me take a wild guess: Was it one of the first four?
As you can see, the “Agape” is considered as the ideal love, compassionate, egoless and self-giving. If you are experiencing this type of love, then you will ask nothing in return from your partner.
Think about it – in order to experience this kind of true love, you have to be at peace with the world and yourself and this is ONLY possible IF you love yourself in the same unconditional way.
If you do NOT, then you are taking advantage of your partner to upvalue yourself.
In other words, if you are not happy from within, then you desperately need your partner to feel valuable and happy. The same thing happened to me.
This is not true love. This would be “Mania”, and it often leads to extreme suffering when the partnership ends.
My Definition Of True Love
The definition of true love, therefore – if you consider true as “real” and “honest” without self-interest – is altruistic giving and unconditional acceptance.
But let’s be real, how many people in the world can truly say that they are experiencing such pure love?
Honestly, this sounds more like a philosophical kind of love to me, which most people will aspire to achieve their whole lives. This is the kind of love Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi practiced and taught.
So, keeping that in mind, what is my personal definition, and do I still have the same view of true love I used to have before my breakup happened?
In a nutshell: I’ve developed a realistic, not glorified view, of love and relationships, which helped me tremendously to concentrate on what I really want and what I don’t.
The definition of true love for me is loving yourself and thereby giving love without asking for anything in return.
Is there “the one”?
Honestly, I don’t think there is such thing as “the one”, I think there are “many”.
A relationship is good if both are compatible and willing to make an effort to make it work. This takes experience, inner balance, and daily commitment.
The concept of “the one” will not be of use, especially if the relationship should end one day.
ConclusionAbandon a glorified, unrealistic view of 'true love' and 'the one'.
The takeaway message from this article, therefore, is the following:
Abandon a glorified, unrealistic view of “true love” and “the one”, which love songs, poems, and chick flicks are propagating. Especially when you suffer from a breakup or divorce, you need a realistic view of your former relationship, and a down-to-earth outlook towards future ones.
The mindset that true love is something that starts within you – and that is something on which both have to work at constantly – will help you to find the kind of relationship you are looking for.
This has helped me to find a fulfilling relationship where both partners can thrive without restraining each other.
I’m not saying that love is not important in a relationship, it is. But we must constantly be aware of what our motives are, is it selfish or unselfish?
Only by knowing that we can aspire to the highest, purest form of true love.
What do you think is the definition of true love for you? Please share in the comments section below.