It’s never easy to say something fresh about a well-known subject; we all have a very conservative streak that makes us reject, at least initially, any idea that differs from what we already know. Love is my subject for this piece, and in this case, people are even less disposed to see its uglier side.
Love is a search for completeness. From the first days of our lives, we all feel incomplete; it seems like we are only one and in peace when reunited with the person we love; so, obviously, our first love is our mother. All other objects of love we will have throughout life will be stand-ins for her.
Children are deeply dependent on their mothers, and feel merged to them. They feel insecure when their mothers are away and are tormented by nightmares that she might abandon them or die. When we look at adult romantic relationships, we realize they are not dissimilar to the feeling that connects a child to their mother.
Adult love is a duplicate of the kind of love experienced during childhood. The discourse is more rational, but the reactions are identical. Infatuated couples use baby talk and call each other childlike nicknames; these small details wouldn’t matter if they didn’t come with the idea that people in love have rights over their partners. A mother believes she has rights over her children, and up to a certain age, she is right. But a husband telling his wife she can or cannot wear a certain outfit or go to a certain place is an infringement of her rights.
Friendship is another kind of intimate relationship, in which the pleasure of each other’s company matters just as much as it does in a romantic relationship. There is even more reciprocal trust and bonding in friendship than in many romances. We respect more and depend less on our friends.
What can we conclude, then? To me, it’s clear that romantic love, as it is known, is often merely a repetition of an experience from childhood throughout life. Friendship is a more complex connection because it’s goal is not the merging, but closeness between two people who share common interests and are compatible.
Our adult side establishes connections that are rich in respect and intimacy, which are friendships. The child in us attempts to establish a connection with only one other person, of whom we’ll have expectations similar to those we had of our mothers.
I have no doubt that friendship is a much more adult experience than the one we call love.
Tradução: Amanda Morris