Love and Compromise

Discussions about compromise and love would make more sense if we keep in mind the distinction between "what is" and "what should be"... the 'reality' and 'utopia'. Compromise is the reality, love is a utopia.

I personally am not a fan of 'compromise' in relationships... i believe relationships should generally be driven by a state of natural affection, and not be a state of self-imposed compromise... but it is also true compromise is one of the most prevalent reasons behind sustained relationships [esp husband-wife] in our society. Without compromise, social relationships would undergo great disintergration. I don't know if that would be a good or bad thing... West has undergone this denial of 'compromise' and the institution of marriage has weakened enormously.

"Love", i believe, is one of the most ambiguous words used in such discussions, primarily owing to a lack of definition. Psychologists follow the inclusive approach, a tradition which i follow, and therefore when they use the word 'love', they use it in the broadest possible sense, from infatuations to agape [spiritual love] to companionate love. (This is a topic worthy of separate discussion. I'll write something on it later.)

The idea of love in our society has been handed over from the poetic tradition, as Russell calls it 'romantic love', a form of love which develops only in certain social conditions, when the separation between the genders is neither too great nor too little. [In urdu poetry the age of Ghalib and Mir represents this stage, and in English the age of Byron and Shelley.]

And similarly people have in their mind ideas of 'ideal love' or 'true love', as something distinct from infatuations and crushes, and this 'true love' is supposed to have characteristics like eternal loyalty etc etc. I'll take the liberty of calling this the 'exclusive' approach, since it excludes the experiences like infatuations from love. Now 'true love' is not something that is observed very commonly. Its a rarity in present social conditions. The idea of 'true love' itself is logically consistent, i admit, but what use of a concept which is so far away from reality? To what use is a love which only a very small minority experiences?

Here i might also mention, i don't believe that any satisfactory theory of relationships exist which describes all the ideal conditions of a relationship. Just like philosophers have realised that political utopias don't exist, psychologists and social thinkers are realising that 'utopias of relationship' don't exist either. The thought was disturbing for me in the initial stages, but well, i just had to accept it in the end. :)

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