Our Individual Versions of Love

Water is for fish
And air for men.
Natures differ, and needs with them.

Hence the wise men of old
Did not lay down
One measure for all.
~ Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

Here’s an interesting article from In Bed with Married Women that explores exactly how much free will we can exercise in choosing who and how to love based on our life experiences.

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“I usually think of Wanting the Wrong Person as a gender issue but it’s probably a universal condition for any slightly-harmed human. That is, pretty much everyone.

I think the search is for that perfect wrong person. The one whose scars you want to lick and kiss and love. This person who is wrong in all the right ways.
~Jill Hamilton, Inbedwithmarriedwomen.com

Consider this exchange between Marc Maron and Dr. Drew on the WTF Podcast, on falling for people who put you in a position of repeating traumatic patterns from childhood.

Dr. Drew: You can’t really ever cure this–you’re going to be attracted to people that put you in that position. And you just love them. That’s just how you’re wired. It’s your love map. The way to mitigate it is to go after people you’re not that excited about–but then you’re sort of withholding something from yourself.

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Marc Maron: But you can’t do that because it’s sort of like a phantom limb.

Drew: It’s hard. You can also go for people who are very exciting but realize it’s going to be traumatic.

Maron: My therapist said that that’s the way it’s gonna be and the best you can hope for is that [the other person is] willing to do the work.

Drew: Yes. I absolutely agree with that. Because that’s life. We’re not perfect. We’re not healthy all the time. It makes life interesting. 
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Maron: You can’t be with someone that you’re not going to connect with on that level.

Drew: You can, but…

Maron: You’ve got to be very disciplined not to go out and fuck the lunatic!  

Drew: Correct. A lot of people do not understand this and it’s where a lot of the craziness comes from. The things that were traumatic in our childhood are the sources of attraction.

Maron: Not only the sources of attraction, but you want to recreate it.

Drew: Well, that’s the conscious experience of it. But I think there’s something far more profound. When people start talking about it in therapy, they always go, “I guess I want to master it. I guess I want to make it right this time.” No, that’s your brain trying to make sense of bullshit motivation.

Is it possible–or even advisable–to avoid someone when they offer compelling mental fuckery, personalized to your exact flavor of vulnerability?
~Jill Hamilton, Inbedwithmarriedwomen.com

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Maron: It’s comfortable. It’s what you grew up with.

Drew: It’s your map. It’s love. It’s where you find love.

Maron: Is it love?  

Drew: Yes. That’s your version of love. It’s not the healthiest version. But I’ve got the same one [he’s been with his wife 23 years] so it’s all good. I have found in the craziness, passion and renewal.”


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