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Fiction is where we learn about love, about having a crush on someone; about the magical moment that one’s eyes meet another’s across a room and how that leads to happily ever after.
But, love isn’t an indescribable feeling – it’s a skill – and one that we have to work on.
The Ancient Greeks had a good understanding of input vs. output in a long-term relationship. Their view was that people in relationships should alter between teacher and student, student and teacher, in an ongoing pursuit of becoming the best versions of ourselves.
Thinking we’re easy to live with is an easy mistake to make.
We’re all broken in some way. We lack self-awareness about the many ways in which we are uniquely mad. Alain de Botton believes we should be swapping instruction manuals on the first date.
If you’re thinking of leaving a partner, ask yourself if things are bad because it really is all their fault? If it is: leave them. If it’s not, you may be experiencing the bitterness of life alongside another person, not because of another person.
Can you be sure that your suffering won’t come with you into the next relationship or into your singe life?
In the dating days, it’s comforting to know you’re on the same page without having to say all that out loud to your new beau.
The idea that relationships can be built on the need to say very little comes from the Romantics. It creates problems later on when your partner does something you don’t like, and instead of talking about it, you shut yourself in the bathroom and wait till they guess what they did wrong.
Alain de Botton suggests imagining your partner as a two-year-old. The logic is that we’ve learned to treat children with a degree of patience and understanding that we forget to use with our partners.
Grown-ups are just big versions of babies, and sometimes we act like it.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
The motivation for your worry often comes from past events.
Alain De Botton explains that this is due to traumatic events from our childhood that were never properly processed.
“Appreciating the childhood legacy of worries, we also stand to realize that we can adapt and improve on how we respond to what alarms us.” -- Philosopher Alain de Botton.
Big questions referring to is the meaning of life matter deeply because only with sound answers to them we can direct our energies meaningfully, but most of us get shy expressing them. -...
Philosophers are interested in asking whether an idea is logical–rather than simply assuming it must be right because it is popular and long-established. - Alain de Botton
Philosophers teach us to think about our emotions, rather than simply have them. By understanding and analysing our feelings, we learn to see how emotions impact on our behaviour in unexpected, counterintuitive and sometimes dangerous ways. - Alain de Botton
The differences in how people have loved throughout history suggest that our style of loving is to a significant extent determined by what the prevailing environment dictates.
It is through ...
... are crucial elements of wisdom, realism and maturity. Our love stories excite us to expect things of love that are neither very possible nor very practical.
We learn to judge ourselves by the hopes and expectations fostered by a misleading artistic medium.
Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary (1856) spent her childhood immersed in Romantic fiction. As a result, she’s expecting that her husband will be someone who understands her soul perfectly.
When she does get married to the kind, thoughtful but human. But she is quickly bored by the routines of married life. She is convinced that her life has gone profoundly wrong for one central reason: because it’s so different from what the novels she knows told her it would be.