8 things we learned about love from Alain de Botton
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.
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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?
You might think that your partner is a little bit of an idiot, but you are too.
Elevate yourself to being a loveable idiot. Compatibility is an achievement, not an algorithm.
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.
Alain de Botton is all for having expensive ceremonies.
It makes it harder for you to quit your marriage and it’s embarrassing to quit if you spent all that money. It sets the bar high for your relationship and that’s a healthy thing.
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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. -...
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"One of the first things couples should do is rather than saying how perfect they are, they should say 'I'm crazy ..."
"There is a cult of romanticism. It started in the 18th century, and it basically told people that everybody has a soul mate, everybody has somebody who will cure them of all loneliness.
We make the equation that, if you love me, you are supposed to understand me even if I don't explain what's wrong. With any good relationship, unfortunately, we often have to spell out what we need. People cannot be mind readers."
"There are lovely moments in early childhood when your parent can guess pretty well what you need. In the early days of love sometimes, you will report an ecstatic feeling you have met someone who seems to understand you without you needing to speak.
So many problems of relationships (are) where we have things to say we haven't said, and we blame people and get bitter that people haven't understood what we never explained to them."
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