bewitched, bothered, and bewildered

We’ve explored the ins and outs of compatibility, and the value of it has shone brighter and brighter as we’ve surveyed its many varieties. But there’s still a hitch. It won’t do us any good to be clued in about compatibility, if we continue to choose our mates in a contrary way.

In our world, over forty percent of marriages end in divorce. A major reason for this, in my opinion, is that a lot of people are being drawn into Scenario A: choosing partners with whom they aren’t well matched.
How does this happen? Let’s take a typical couple and ask them.
“Looking back, now that it’s over, how did you get with someone who wasn’t right for you? You obviously believed at the start that they were the one; but given the way things turned out, there must have been clues that you didn’t really have enough in common. Or at the very least, there can’t have been much evidence that you did. “So how did the whole thing get launched? What possessed you to choose that person?”

The answer they’re likely to give is, “We fell in love.”

And that’s all they need to say. Because we understand that feeling. Everyone knows that falling in love is a captivating impulse, hard to question and hard to resist. Yet if we look around, the evidence is everywhere that this aura, this feeling, cannot be trusted to lead to happiness. People rely on the magic of being in love
and they get burned. Real compatibility plays second fiddle and a more serious, lasting kind of love doesn’t have a chance. It’s as if the in-love sensation is a runaway team of horses; the stagecoach driver has lost control of them and they are pulling the relationship to disaster.

In this and the next chapter I want to break the hold of this belief system, and show how we can regain the reins of romance, and use compatibility to steer the coach. The only way to do that is to take a new look at this peculiar experience that is called falling in love. We are so familiar with it that we can’t see it.

So I’m going to ask:
• What is falling in love? How does it feel?
• Is it irresistible?
• Why does it exist? What is its purpose on this planet? Is it hardwired into us?
• Do we sometimes abuse it?
• How can we best use it?

I believe that by answering these questions, we can figure out how to harness this powerful force, and bring it under the influence of the valuable lessons we’ve learned along the way—about things like overcoming the wounded ego, avoiding rebound logic, upholding the self, and honoring compatibility.
To get started, let’s get a fresh reading on the raw experience.

how old is love?
As I type these words I feel two hands on my shoulders, and there’s a female voice close to my ear. I have been concentrating so hard I didn’t notice that someone was eavesdropping on my work.Yes, I’ve wandered into that bar again. I feel I should explain myself. I do most of my writing in a solitary room with one window, but on some days when the paragraphs are flowing, it feels good to take them for an outing. This restaurant bar is nice in the afternoon, quiet and cool, with a view of the bustling street. It’s near the university; you can see people with books. A clean, well-lighted place. A good place to drink espresso until your writing is done. My female companion says, “Love is not built into human beings. It was invented in the late eleventh century.” That century thing always throws me. “You mean the late 1000s?” I say, beginning to guess who I’m talking to. She steps up beside me and I see that indeed, it’s Ms. Professor.

It still doesn’t explain why it chooses its objects so carelessly. I look across the bar and I see that there are developments between Bar Guy and Ms. Professor.

 I think about anger. What it does to the body and the mind, all tied together and obviously deeply imbedded in our DNA. I think about tears.

And then it occurs to me, you can work yourself up into these states, when you really want to. You can induce them.

this is your brain on love
1. The state of being in love is baffling and powerful.
2. It’s dangerous, the In-love Reaction.
3. The In-love Reaction can be resisted.

Could that be true of falling in love?

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My Beautiful Distraction