School Talk 46 - Question and Answer (Loving)
Today we’re going to continue with questions. Today we’ll probably only have one. It is a question that will take all the time we can afford with it today.
The question is:
(I have been “in love” several times. I have formed relationships with four different persons. All these relationships have ended with more or less hurts and pains to both parties. I’m past 30 and would like to have a lasting relationship. Could you shed any light on this mater for me?)
We’ll do our best to shed some light on it. Number one, we’ll take the phrase, “in love.” Now being “in love” is a very poor thing to form a relationship on unless one intends for that relationship to be very temporary. Being “in love” is a matter of emotions and hormones mixed up together. So somebody comes along that appeals to you in appearance, or in manner, or Lord knows what—something about that person appeals to something within you; and you have a passionate feeling for the person; and you desire to possess that person.
Now this is a very poor thing to form the long relationship on. It demands gratification, and that is about the end of it. So once the being “in love” is gratified, consummated, I believe is a pretty word for it; it lasts only a short length of time--then the urge of the passion begins to diminish in no uncertain terms. Inasmuch as that was all it was based on, there wasn’t any real friendship. There wasn’t any mutual concern or anything—it was a desire to own, to possess, to have; and when that is well gratified, . . .it’s gone. It may take six hours. It may take six days. It may take six weeks. It may take six months, but not too much longer than that is the usual situation. Then the whole thing begins to be on a much less passionate basis. Then each person that is involved in it—that was “in love” is beginning to try to see what the other has done wrong, is missing or has changed because now it doesn’t produce all this delight that it did before. So pretty soon one finds something to blame. Whenever you’re looking for something to blame, you can find it.
So then the answer comes to the person: “He doesn’t love me.” “She doesn’t love me” as the case may be—probably both on each side. When they get this going, why there is really no basis for a relationship anymore unless it’s just habit. So here goes the blaming and “He doesn’t like to take me places anymore as much as he did.” “He doesn’t do this thing or that thing.” So the lady feels she’s been let down. The man is doing the same thing over on his side thinking or saying that she isn’t doing this--she isn’t as loving as she was. She is not as interested in me as she was. She wants to do things by herself sometimes or she wants to go somewhere without me and disappointment turns into hurt which then becomes blaming.
Now as long as there’s blaming going on, there isn’t going to be much of a relationship except antagonism, and this goes on and on. Now frequently people will say that they’re going to do this on a 50/50 basis. That’s usually after they have been involved for a while; and of course, when you try a 50/50 basis, you need an attorney with you at all times. You also need a judge to determine whether the other person has done the 50/50 or not. So number one, we’ll say to put any light on this subject of the boy/girl relationship, that being “in love” is an absolute no basis for having a relationship. So we can put that off to the side right away and say that we will eliminate being “in love” if we want a long term relationship.
Now you may be '”in love” many, many times in your life, but the real question to put to oneself is do I really love a person—any person. Am I capable of really loving? Many cases you’ll find you are not really capable of really being loving—that you really love an individual. Now when you love another person, it has nothing to do with all these emotions and stuff. It is that you care for the person as a person. You care for them, you enjoy being with them. It is not based upon gratification or anything else. It is based upon something that is not too well understood, and it is probably more intellectual and spiritual than it is emotional and certainly it is not based on a hormone—which doesn’t imply quickly before somebody says, “Well, if it can’t have sex involved with it, I don’t want the relationship.” I’ll assure you it will have sex involved with it, probably in a far greater manner than you have ever conceived possible.
So we will start with the first question, am I capable—we will find within ourselves am I capable of love. Am I capable of really loving another individual? Love is the creative power of the universe, and not what most people call being “in love” which is purely Eros--the mating instinct. Now we have looked at the fact that four Greed words were all translated into the one word LOVE in English. So let’s go back to those four again.
Now Pia is the care for a child or a relative. If we want to go a little further, we could say that if we really love someone, we have Pia for them—even though they’re not a child or a relative. We are thinking of making them the closest relative you can have which is a wife or a husband. So if we’re thinking in terms of that kind of love, it is the desire to care and protect, and to look after the other regardless of the person’s condition at that moment. You look after a child whether it is sick or whether it’s well, whether it’s entertaining or playing or whether it is uncomfortable. Their condition has nothing to do with it, you are going to be concerned with that child and it becomes very important. So now a mate would have to be in the same category. We would have Pia for the person which is a desire to protect, care for, provide for.
The next one is Eros which is the mating instinct. Now certainly we would not love in this manner someone who didn’t appeal to us in some way or another, and was beautiful to us in one form or another. So we would say that the person must appear beautiful to you as well as that you have this deep caring to provide or see about. Eros has a form of taking care of itself—we call it “Let nature take its course.” If you are with a person that is beautiful to you, and that you care for and want to look after and want to provide for and share about everything that you could possibly have with that person, then certainly that’s going to include sex, and it’s going to be at a much higher level than it is when it’s seen, unconsciously, here’s something I must possess, looks good to me, I’m going to have it.
I have sat in coffee shops with men who have looked at about every female that comes by and said, “You see that?” “Did you see that?” Well what did you see? I saw a girl go by. “Well, did you see her so and so?” That is not anything that one can have any relationship based on any more than a few minutes at the utmost; and, thank goodness, the girl appears usually totally uninterested and somewhat insulted by it—if she happens to overhear it.
Now the next Greek word that was translated into English is Phelia. It means I like. So I like this person regardless of their sex appeal. I like them regardless of anything else. I like the person, and we might say this gets down to what’s called friendship. Now a friend—I have read the definition somewhere; and it seems to fit pretty well—is a person who accepts you just as you are, warts and all. So if I can accept the person as they are, I like them, they’re lovely, and I like them very much, want to spend time with them, enjoy the time—not just in bed—but anywhere that you might be, whether you’re working, whether you’re traveling, or whether you’re sitting quietly watching TV or reading a book or whatever it is—you’re very thankful that person is there. That is simply called Phelia. I like—and we will say very, very much if we’re going to have a permanent relationship and we could say the mate is a friend--the closest friend you can possibly have. Now if sex is there fine, it’s wonderful. If sex is not there today, there is still that joy and that friendship, and that pleasurable being with each other—of having the person around. If I’m just going to the grocery store, I’d like that person to go along because I enjoy their company. I enjoy them being near; and Phelia is a very worthwhile, a very valued part of love and relationships.
Now when this thing is based on being “in love” they never think of that. They never think of what it would be like to be with this person day in and day out, wherever. It sounds wonderful for a little while; but before they got home from their honeymoon, they’re fighting. So this has nothing to do with the sexual attraction. It’s just I like the person, I enjoy them and like to be with the person. So we’d look to see if that person could be a friend before we would embark on a long term commitment.
You know a long time ago they used to have a more or less of an activity called courtship. That went out of style with the sexual revolution. With courtship, the people went together for quite a long time, theoretically without sex, to find if they could be friends. If they enjoyed each other, if they enjoyed picnics on a rainy day, and any number of other things that came along—they were involved with the other person, with their interests, with their values, and they found out whether they could just enjoy being with that person.
Now, of course, with the sexual revolution there is supposed to be sex the first time you go out with the person or else you know, they must have a problem—they got a “hang-up” or something or other. So that, of course, in itself has resulted in much what the original question was concerned with—that we fall “in love” at the drop of a hat. Get a sexual relationship going the first day or second at the utmost, and then it wears out right quick—so you see this happen again and again. So then we see that there’s an awful lot of pain and a lot of disappointments, and a lot of breakups, and a lot of chaos about in the boy/girl relationship whereas if it were based on love with friendship, there would be much less of any of that. So that is friendship.
So the last one comes along is agape. Now without agape, no relationship could last very long. In agape, it is fairly easily stated in it’s simplest terms that I understand that whatever you’re doing, ever have done, or ever will do that at the moment of doing it, you felt it was right, proper or justifiable; and that something seems right or proper or justifiable is the only criteria I’ve ever had, have now or probably ever will have for my activities.
So when we begin to have agape involved in a situation instead of looking for blame and so forth, we’re looking for understanding. We understand that people have different kinds of things going on. They have been touched by different things today, and we’re not just talking about students of integration and students of life—we’re talking about everybody.
Maybe at work today there was a lot of unpleasant stuff and the person may bring it home with them, who knows. Maybe they don’t feel top of the world. They don’t feel too swift today. So they’re a little on the edgy side. Maybe they’ve just had a call from the IRS to bring down the last five years records, and they don’t even know where they are. So they can be a little touchy and they may not be purely romantic or anything else that comes along today; and if the person has agape, they understand that. They can see, well, the person doesn’t feel too swift today, so whatever they say and do, I’ve not going to say they don’t love me anymore or anything else.
This is where love for another person comes in. We could understand the condition they’re in; and therefore, not build accounts against them. Now you know what we mean by building accounts? You treated me so and so on a certain day, or you forgot it was my birthday, or you forgot some other occasion that we commemorated at one time or another. So, I have an account against the person. You get one account against a person and it’s awful easy to build two and three and four and five and six and ten. So pretty soon, one has a big old list of accounts that the other person should be obligated to reimburse me some way or other for, and there’s no way for them to do it—maybe they don’t even know what your accounts are against them anyway.
So now if we have all these forms of love, and we first want to recognize and find out if we are capable of them before we try to involve ourselves in another relationship. A relationship is close to cohabitation, marriage, or whatever name you care to put on it today—that means sharing everything including sex, finances, living quarters, food, whatever else—then there needs to be all forms of love—all these different aspects of love has to be clear, concise and that I know within myself that I am capable of it—all four of them.
Now I would probably never use the term that I am “in love” whoever is talking. The person probably could not say I am “in love” with so and so. You might say I love that person, but this being “in love” bit has probably been the thing that has caused the most difficulty in people because they are lead to expect that if you have this wonderful titillating feeling that it is a firm basis for a relationship, and it is going to last forever. When, if you know anything about it, you would be pretty certain that it wouldn’t last more than a few weeks under a close relationship. It, possibly, if denied contact quite often would keep up for a little while longer, but if they’re together constantly, it soon withers away.
So the first thing we want to be suspect, if we want a permanent relationship that is--the first thing we would want to do is be very suspect of this idea of being “in love.” “In love” is the idea for high school kids and upper grade school or Jr. High to be involved with, but not to form any relationship on. Long years it was called “puppy love” and possibly that’s where it should be related again. It is a form of “puppy love.” If you’ve been around puppies, you know about what they do. So the puppy love part is a wonderful exciting, glorious feeling, but is not to be taken seriously. It’s like being a thousand other stimulations one may run into that gives one a wonderful sort of sensation, but sensations are never of lasting value to base anything like a lasting relationship between man/woman, boy/girl over forty years. It simply doesn’t work for that basis—wasn’t ever intended. It’s only a preliminary.
When you get down to asking yourself, “Do I love?” Am I even capable of love, you’ll find in all probability that you are not. In a case that you find you’re not, then the thing to do is to stick to one night stands. Don’t try to start relationships. When and if you discover that you are firmly convinced that you are capable of these four forms of love with someone, then one could talk about forming a relationship. A relationship that is ongoing would have all four of the aspects of love—pia, eros, phelia and most especially agape. Now I wouldn’t put one above the other in these. I would say they ought to come out about 25, 25, 25, 25, because they’re all very essential in a lasting relationship. Certainly there’s going to be the full understanding and desire to protect, care for, look after the individual whenever they’re having difficulty—regardless of whatever it may be. Number 2, there must be Eros, romance and loving. There never is quite enough of that if it is really considered as loving—that there is an expression of it. It is not the old saying that: “Look, I’m paying your rent and buying your groceries, you surely now know that I love you without me having to tell you every day.” But maybe if you told her ten times a day, it might be very well. So there are a number of ways that one could look at Eros to have an understanding of it—that it is as much tenderness and caressing and caring for and conversation and listening as it is actual physical contact.
Recently the very popular columnist, Ann Landers, set up a program that several women wrote and said that they would rather just be caressed and petted than they would be involved in sex. Well, this started a whole bunch of stuff, and so she ran a survey. Most of the women said they would rather have caressing and tenderness and not sex. Their main objection was that the man was totally inconsiderate of them in the sexual relationship. That it was more or less as the old saying goes, “Wham bam, thank you ma'am,” And go to sleep. That’s all. The women said that if they were going to be involved in it, it had to be a lasting affair that went on for a considerable length of time, and there had to be enough romantic interlude before this actual act so that they became really interested. Seemingly most men don’t realize that women are cyclic creatures; and are not always in the mood to be loved immediately or have sex immediately. They have to be romanced into that part which, incidentally, is a lot more fun than the actual act if it was carried on. They also said that the moment the sex act was over with, the man acted like she didn’t exist. And so a few women—a very few reported to Ann Landers that their husbands were very loving and that they loved them. The husbands romanced them and got them very much in the mood so that they were very anxious to have sex even as much as he was; and that when the sex act was over with, that he still petted them and caressed them until they were sound asleep instead of falling over and starting to snore immediately.
So possibly most people have never considered that Eros is anything except gratification. Eros in it’s total sense (if is a total sharing and only one means of expressing tenderness and closeness and togetherness) is more wonderful than anything they ever dreamed of rather than being purely a gratification.
By the same token, this includes agape. That means that the male of the partnership or the relationship would understand the nature of a woman. Having been involved with considerable number of women, and listening to them tell about their romances in life, and how they got along with it, and being involved in this type of work for forty years, I’ve probably heard it longer than Ann Landers has—that this is the greatest contention of women in relationships. That the man does not understand them.
Now agape in its fullest meaning means understanding. So I want to understand the other person. I want to understand not only their outward behavior, but I want to understand their inner feelings. I want to understand their nature, and the sex nature of a woman is quite different from the sex nature of a man. If a man understands the sex nature of a woman, he won’t be in too much of a need of having his sexual urges gratified and it will be far better than any he could conceive of in this being “in love” bit.
So if I can shed any light on the boy/girl relationship, I would say that it’s to know whether or not I am capable of love in all of it’s aspects; and that I am interested enough in my partner that I love her enough—or in the case of a woman, that she loves the man enough, that you would take the effort to understand the man. The man would take the effort to understand the physiology and psychology—the needs and desires of his partner.
So if the partners are loving and love each other rather than being “in love.” Being “in love” always ends up in gratification as quick as possible. But if there is really love, there is time for understanding. Now when there is understanding, I think you will find that the relationship can be as lasting as life because it is an expression of life and probably one of the greatest expressions of life. But the way it’s approached today with the “Wham Bam, thank you ma'am” quickie—get her in bed, get out; whatever the case may be, man or woman. The whole thing winds up in tremendous chaotic situations which has a terrible effect on the psyche, the emotions, the mentality and the physical well-being of man and woman.
So I think it’s a very worthwhile subject, and I feel that it’s well worth the time and effort that one could extend to understand their partner.
First of all to understand yourself—am I capable of love on all these levels or is the only thing I call love, the stimulation of the erotica feeling within myself. It think if you will follow this, you will find something very worthwhile.