Being hopelessly romantic isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
It comes with a down side, and we all have a certain image of what that looks like. An image of a young man, running down the street perhaps, sweating profusely with a glazed and disassociated look in his eyes as he scrambles for his beloved.
Or perhaps a woman, crying her eyes out in her bed with a tub of Häagen-Dazs and a stuffed kitty named Jeremiah, after her partner showed signs of neglect.
Desperate love has been both glorified and demonized in modern culture, and I’d like to see if we can harness a deeper understanding of this much popularized aspect of human life.
Is there a time and a place for desperate love?
I have certainly had my fair share of eccentric and volatile attractions. What I am wondering is if there are any practical benefits to going through these experiences where all sense is lost in the name of youthful romanticism.
Desperate love is not a sustainable mode of being. That much is obvious, but what perhaps is not so obvious is whether or not desperate love can be helpful in initiating deeper forms of connection. Is it impossible that being erratic and impulsive at the beginning of relationship might give us the incentive to understand the other person more deeply—leading to a broader and more dynamic connection?
I am careful about giving out any kind of relationship advice, mostly because I feel it is a slightly different experience for everyone, but I think it might be worth giving desperate love a second chance as long as it is used as a vehicle to something more sustainable, rather than an end in itself.
I understand the resistance to this idea. If we are desperate and all over the place at the beginning of a relationship, won’t it be more likely to crash and burn? It’s very possible, yes, but it also might lend itself to the more intense elements of the relationship, and with a little bit of conscientiousness, perhaps we can build a structure around that visceral intensity and passion in a way that allows us to grow together.
Ultimately, human beings are quite needy. We have deep-seated desires that stem from our early childhood experiences that need to be actualized in some form or another in our adult lives. I would say intimate relationships most closely resemble the meeting of these needs, or are the place where these needs are the most prevalent.
What I mean is, some elements of our intimate relationships are going to be grounded in our needs—in our desperate longings and desires—and it might be useful to understand them.
Desperate love is an expression of these needs.
So, how do we transform desperate love and hopeless romanticism into profound and abiding relationships?
Well, we can start by recognizing that our needs alone won’t bring us to the dance. Of course it is fun and exhilarating to be driven by our deepest longings, but that alone will not allow our connections to flourish.
If we understand that we are a little crazy and have deeply-rooted desires that are not always reasonable, it will make things much easier moving forward with our partner.
Desperate love is a powerful way to initiate a relationship, but it needs to be tapered off for the connection to survive. Relationships survive through constant inquiry, communication, and brutal honesty, which requires much more than a fleeting whim.
To build a relationship structure, we need to really batten down the hatches and get our act together. We need to talk to each other. We need to learn together. We must be dynamic, earnest, and always open to the possibility that we may grow apart.
In essence, there is a time and a place for desperate love, but it is quite a narrow space.
Of course, the experiential side of desperate love should not be neglected—that stark immediacy of youthful exuberance and romantic excitement—but ultimately it seems as though this cannot bring about healthy relationships by itself.
Romanticism might bring us to the door, but conscientiousness and integrity is what allows us to walk through it.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Natalia Drepina/DeviantArt
Editor: Danielle Beutell
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