Whew...this is a seemingly simple question with a really complex answer. I apologize in advance for the upcoming Wall of Text (patent pending).
In the Western world - though, increasingly, only in the United States & Canada - "true love" is tied intimately with the idea of a soul mate. The idea is that you will, eventually, meet a person who is "meant" for you, and the two of you will be together forever in perfect harmony. The majority of the population believes that this "true love" is at first sight, and is infallible.
I don't believe it.
In reality, this cultural belief is both dangerous and self-destructive, especially among teenagers. Young women - and sometimes men - will stay with abusive partners because they mistake the passion of chemical attraction for love. They develop co-dependencies, anorexia, severe self-esteem problems, depression, suicidal tendencies, and often have difficulty forming good realtionships later on in life. Others end up sad and lonely for their entire lives, waiting for that one transcendant meeting that will change it all. It never comes.
The crux of the problem is predestination; namely, belief in it. Whether or not everything is pre-ordained, no one ever got anything good from sitting there and just taking what life throws at them. There's a reason that the Stoics all (literally) died out. Love does not happen at first sight - attraction, obsession, fixation, yes, but not love.
I do believe in love, not just as an emotion but as an ideal. However, love is a developed emotion, one which slowly springs from knowing a person, having a relationship with them, interaction, mutual respect, and friendship. Romantic love can start from attraction or obsession, yes, but you also have to be able to stand being around the person for five minutes. The love of a couple starts with friendship, with understanding each other's wants, needs, and fears. Love is based around not only devotion, but compromise, frustration, lust, and even pain. You have to care enough about a person to let them hurt you, because the pain is inevitable. That kind of relationship takes constant work and devotion, not only in trying to meet your lover's needs, but in accepting and forgiving those faults in them that you find annoying, saddening, or even unbearable at times. It's easy to appreciate a lover's virtues - it's much harder to forgive their faults.
One last thing - love does not involve subsuming onseself in one's partner. Everyone needs "me" time, and your likes and dislikes, while likely to be changed by such a relationship (prime example, my newfound tolerance for hip-hop, given that my fiancee REALLY enjoys it) should not be completely overwritten. Becoming utterly devoted to only your partner and nothing else is unhealthy and leads down very dark paths, very quickly, all of which have the end of the relationship written all over them. A healthy relationship involves being aware of and then respecting your partner's wants and needs, and also includes recieving the same courtesy in return. You don't have to like them. Just tolerate them.
Looking forward to your replies!
Openhome wrote:Knives, I believe that..
wait for it...
you are right.