Alain de Botton on love: Admit you're crazy up front
"One of the first things couples should do is rather than saying how perfect they are, they should say 'I'm crazy like this, how are you crazy?'.
Most of the time we make discoveries about how difficult people are at the moment when the difficulties have actually hurt us, therefore, we are not likely to be forgiving or sympathetic."
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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"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."
"Love gives us a ringside seat on somebody else's flaws. You will spot things that need to be mentioned.
The romantic view is to say 'If you loved me, you wouldn't criticize me'.
Actually, true love is often trying to teach someone how to be the best version of themselves."
"We are obsessed (in popular culture) with beginnings of love, the magic meet-cute we call it, or the end of love, the tragic undoing and death and whatnot. But you want to focus on the drudgery of the middle, almost.
Often we think love is a feeling, that you spontaneously experience it. I think, ultimately, it is a skill that needs to be learned. We are not set up for that."
"Never believe anything is below you as a topic of discussion.
Often people insist their way is the way and refuse to have a discussion because they think it is not serious."
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The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argued that the highest form of love was brotherly love or platonic love.
For most of human history, there was no time for romance. Marriages were arranged by families and were a purely economic arrangement designed to promote the survival and prosperity of both extended families.
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People became economically independent and love (or emotions) became valued in society. These ideals of love have been heavily promoted and marketed during the 20th century.
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