People have the uncanny ability to deceive themselves. This quirk frequently comes to life for those in new romantic relationships. Although red flags may appear, our infatuation goggles make it remarkably difficult to heed the warning signs. Blissfully unaware of the long-term implications, we continue to hold on to the fantasy for as long as possible.
Beneath our idea of love lurks an assumption that makes true connection almost impossible.
As Erich Fromm in The Art of Loving explains, “one believes that all that is necessary for love is to find the right object – and that everything goes by itself afterward”. In other words, we search far and wide for the right person, the person we’re meant to be with, our soulmate – and once found, we can sit back, put our feet up and let the good times roll. As we’ll see, this assumption is nonsense.
The foundation of love is connection. This truth is keenly felt during the initial stage of love: the falling. As we fall, it’s as if the world obscures and leaves only two. If we fall further still, the two become one. Bliss.
Humans need community. This necessity is built into our genetic code – to be connected is to be alive. For the vast majority of our evolution, we’ve lived closely together and depended on each other. Like food, relationships nourish us. Without them, we suffer. The fate of the lonely is bleak.