Monday, May 31, 2010

"Lots of People Lose Themselves in Love..."

This blog post was partially inspired by a friend of mine's recent blog. She and I have both experienced heartbreak in the past year and a half. Each of us was left feeling broken following the end of our respective relationships and have spent a considerable amount of time processing these relationships in order to emotionally and cognitively prepare ourselves for healthier relationships.

What I've come to realize in the past few months was how much of myself that I sacrificed or lost within the context of that relationship. As embarrassing as this is to admit, a quote from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 3), clearly and succinctly summarizes what I've experienced.

"Lots of people lose themselves in love; the hitch is you can't stay lost, sooner or later you have to get back to yourself."

It was not until a couple months ago that I finally "got back to being me" and fully realized how much of myself I lost within that relationship. The reality is, that a healthy relationship supplements each individual, meaning that they bring out the best in one another.

At the time, I thought I was becoming a better version of myself within the relationship because I was with someone who, in many ways, had opposite temperament traits than I did and challenged me. What I now realize is that it was not being with him that made me a better version of myself. It was the effort I placed in taking from the relationship to improve myself. Now that I can differentiate between the two I will ensure that the person I am with not only provides opportunities for me to become a better version of myself, but actively contributes to that process. I realize that I need to be with someone who brings out the best in me, without me having to consciously do so. I now know what I'm not willing to sacrifice or lose within the context of my next relationship.

If I needed to experience the brokenness and heartache that I endured following the breakup in order to come to this understanding then, from a place of wholeness, I can honestly say it was worthwhile.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Bachelorette: "A Game of Love"

On Monday evening I watched the season premier of The Bachelorette and was quickly reminded why I despise love/relationship reality tv. To begin with, I feel like, for the most part, the people who go one those shows are desperate to fall in love. And from my observation, those who are desperate to fall in love (or in other words are in love with the idea of being in love) are more likely to enter into relationships and "fall in love" with the wrong person. They are more likely to "settle." It seems to me, that the potential suitors are in love with the idea of Ali. Even Ali mentioned that she is "ready to fall in love". I may say that I am emotionally and cognitively ready to begin dating, but my focus is not on "falling in love" it is on finding a companion, best friend, and lover.

I found the following article in the Huffington Post that seems to echo my sentiments regarding the absurdity of Monday's episode of The Bachelorette.
The Bachelorette: How Far Will We Go to Find Love?

Secondly, the contrived nature of reality dating shows, which does not even attempt to reflect actual life, are not an appropriate venue to seriously seek a companion. The "rules" (the number of roses to be distributed is dictated) and implicit expectations (proposal at the finale) are reflective of a game. The competitive nature of the "suitors" also reflects the "love as a game" mentality. Suitors want to "win" her heart. Their concern is with beating everyone else, rather than honestly assessing whether or not they are compatible with Ali. Love is not a game; or at the very least, should not be treated as a game.

It is likely that my disdain for the show is reflective of my own approach to seeking a companion. I am not someone who casually dates. If I'm truly interested in someone and see potential I have absolutely no interest in or desire to seek or engage in the process with anyone else. Whereas, if I do not see potential with someone, I will not even waste time going on a single date with them. I have a very strong intuitive sense which strongly influences my approach. Therefore, dating numerous guys at once does not even remotely appeal to me.

I suppose there are those who would argue that the show is entertaining but I have to question the influence these shows have on expectations and subsequent approaches to dating, relationships, love, and marriage.