Valentine’s day is coming and it seems like a very appropriate time to talk about romantic love and its myths. And for this I am going to use the typical phrase: «And they lived happily ever after», with which the tales of princes and princesses end. Of domineering and submissive, of strong men vs. vulnerable women. Fairytale princesses with delicate characters who live for their loved ones. In front of them the figure of the blue prince who protects his princess and will love her forever… And what will this have to do with real life, you will ask… Well, this simple quote hides behind very dangerous myths that perpetuate machismo and inequality between men and women. Why?
To begin with (and I continue using myths and phrases), because human beings are not predestined to find a “soul mate” or “a half-orange”. That conception tends to hyperidealize the other thinking that another equal person will never be found. Because it is also not true that love can only be felt “really” once in a lifetime. Because love is not demanded, nor beg. Love is built between two (or three or whatever you want). Because eternal passion does not last for ever and ever. Neither being in a couple is something “natural.” Because love can’t do everything. Because of the love, the problems are not going to solve themselves. In this the cinema has done so much damage… Because “true love” is not a constant Greek tragedy. Neither jealousy is synonymous with love, if not belonging and insecurity. And they generate selfish and sometimes violent behaviors.
And so I could go on with a very long list of typical quotes about love… But in the end everything is summed up in that romantic love and its conception cause pain because it is neither eternal, perfect, nor wonderful, nor comes to save us from anything. But then what is love?
Above all, love is respect, for the other and for oneself. Love is trust and commitment. It is giving space to the other and –at the same time– sharing projects (from a simple vacation, to buying a flat or having children). It is creativity, pleasure and fun, it is complicity and empathy. This is what they call mature love…