Uninterested vs Losing Hope
I have reached the same point again that I am seemingly uninterested in romantic relationship. I don’t think it has anything to do with losing hope this time – how nice, I get to discern this time, that time, and all those times! – it has a lot to do with the people I am inclined to attract and meet. These people are still in the ‘sorting out’ what they want and entangled in all sorts of problems that they are not actively seeking to resolve efficiently.
I attract men who think they want what I can offer, but they know little about themselves authentically. Wanting something and having the capability and capacity to own that something makes a great deal of difference between being able to achieve and keep it, and achieve but incapable of sustaining it.
Does Love Die Naturally?
I contemplate this title “Love Never Dies a Natural Death” with ‘The Bystander Effect vs Natural Death of Love” and I decided that the latter is too long and not optimised for SEO.
In addition, I recalled a quote:
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
― Anaïs Nin
How did I associate the bystander effect (run a search, and you will see a prolific information on this topic) with death of love? It all stemmed from a conversation that consisted dilemmatic elements. It was conflicting when a person whose ideology about romantic love was built upon the fundamental belief of infinite affection, yet at the same time would have accepted that love could ‘just die’.
It had been swirling in my mind for the longest time, as the two beliefs clearly contradict each other. A pursuit for infinite romantic relationship directly opposes the allowance for such love to just die overtime. There is just no middle point for these two. This explains the dilemma of the person.
Love cannot be infinite and capable of natural death at the same time.
Acceptance Takes Precedence
Since the latter ideology had been accepted or being used as a ground for a former relationship to end, it takes precedence in the personal value. Then, we can easily explain that the conflict comes from the fact that the earlier ideology was an ideal goal that the person wished to achieve. I think the wide gap between the two ideologies is due to the personal resistance toward the latter. He probably did not agree with the fact that love can just die naturally.
Love is an Active Agent
Now, I think love does not just die naturally. Love is an activity, an active agent, if you may. It may be unexplainable how love between two individuals begins, but once the existence of romantic affection is being identified, it becomes an active effort to keep it alive. Thus, it is a choice. In the same breath, the inactivity to keep the affection going is also a choice. Inactivity leads to the ‘natural’ death of love. In my argument, it is an unnatural death caused by choices made.
When we say ‘natural death’, we are ‘humanizing’ the element of love, as though love goes through the same cycle as human physical condition or any other living beings that are susceptible to birth and death. Love is a feeling, it is capable of outliving the physical form of human existence. Love can be sustained overtime, even if the person with whom we had cultivated the love with, had died.
So, how can love just die naturally? Could it be that we used this term casually and carelessly to camouflage our flaw of defying our core belief that love is infinite? Instead of giving a clear account of why the relationship ended, such as ‘I stop loving her/him’, it is more neutral – or relief of personal responsibility – to just state that ‘love just died gradually and eventually’. Well, it is usually agreeable to hear for most people, because most people do slack in the effort to sustain affection for the same person. After a while, you know, life gets in the way, and we start taking people for granted. People that we promised to love forever.
Forever is an effort. Memory is an effort. You forget if you stop trying to remember. We think it’s involuntary; even procedural memory (such as driving or cycling skills) goes through a process of effort from transferring the memory from short-term to long-term memory. We just do not require the same amount of effort to retrieve the memory once it is transferred to the long-term cabinet. It still requires a minimum amount of effort to pull out that memory pack.
Ok, how did the bystander effect comes into association with this topic? The underpinning commonalities are the ‘responsibility’ and ‘choice’. If we see a robbery across the street where we stand, do we go forward to intervene or do we do nothing? Studies have shown that we are more likely not to help if there are others present. It could be shared responsibility (same as shared guilt) at play, for example, we all think that someone will help, so everyone has the same responsibility, we are less motivated to take full responsibility in helping. It could also be due to mirrored behaviour; that we try to take cue from the next person, if he/she does not act, we do not act.
To understand why we do not help, we can try to understand why we help. We help because we assume that we have the moral or civil responsibility as a person, a citizen to help another. We help because we do not want to suffer the guilt of not helping should something happened to another person. We help because everyone is helping.
So, romantic love is shared with another person, the responsibility is shared by the two persons. If we admit to not putting the effort to maintain the affection, the fault falls on our lap. However, if we use the bystander effect to explain that neither of us did anything, and love just died, the fault would be shared; I am at fault as much as you are, or I am not at fault as much as you are not.
Right or Wrong
Bystander effect is measured by individual’s ruler of morality and values. It is hard to state a clear cut right or wrong. If you helped and the person involved was saved, but you died in the event of helping, leaving behind a widower and 5 children, now, who is to say what is right or wrong?
I shall leave you at that. My post is not to impose values on you. I am merely reaching a point of understanding about a matter that had lingered in my head forever.
It then leads us to the stupid cupid image. A friend thought that I should use that as profile picture. I think it is quite befitting. Romantic relationship is not working out for me, mainly because I have yet to meet someone who has already realised his authentic self. I keep meeting people who use me to start a clean slate, only to fail meeting his own preferred ideologies. Plainly, they want to want what I want and can offer, they have absolutely no idea the effort involved in doing what I do.
The scoring point is to take nothing for granted.
It is a little like caring for a plant, you water the plant everyday, without fail. The problem with people is that we take things for granted, and most importantly, most people do not function well with regimented routine. They find reasons to justify skipping the routine, such as convincing themselves that the plant look adequately healthy, hence no real need to keep watering on daily basis. So, they allow other things to take priority over the plant that they pledged to keep alive and healthy. Soon, a missed day becomes a missed week, and missed month, and eventually when the plant is withering, they panic, and start to compensate by watering the plant thrice a day. The plant died, not by thirst, but by drowning. It is harder to salvage damage done, it is more effective to be consistently sustaining, because then, there is no need to save what is not damaged.
Foresight is a rare quality, is it not?