Archive for January, 2016

Mundane expressions of love matter more than the Hollywood versions

by David McElroy

Father and daughter

A family almost made me cry tonight — not because they did anything wrong or bad — but because of the love I saw they had for each other.

Most families tend to depress me when I observe them. The dynamics I see — between husband and wife, between parents and children — frequently range from shocking meanness to simple indifference. (I’m never sure which is worse.) Sometimes the man is a sullen bully. Sometimes the woman is a bitter complainer who’s eager to criticize everyone.

There are dozens of variations. The worst are the ones in which you can see confusion and fear in the faces of the younger children — and cynical copies of their parents in the older children.

I see so many families which are some version of this, where the ugly realities of choices they’ve made have left them resentful and hollow at best. They’re people who seem defeated by life — and who are determined to take out their frustrations on the people they live with. Because I see this so often, it makes me happy to see something which appears emotionally healthy and positive.

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Selfish? ‘I love you’ frequently says ‘I’m desperate for you to love me’

by David McElroy

Please love me

Why do so many people murder those they claim to love? Why do we call these murders “crimes of passion”?

Could it be that much of what we call romantic love is really the need to control someone else? And could it be that when most people profess love, they’re really saying, “I’m desperate for someone to love me. Will you be the one to love and accept me?”

Here’s the real question that’s been bothering me lately. Is love always ultimately selfish?

At heart, I’m a romantic, in both the narrow sense and the broad sense. I identify with the line in the Postal Service song called “Clark Gable” which says, “I want so badly to believe that there is truth, that love is real.” I’ve believed in love — and continued to believe in love — at times in my life when it didn’t make sense. I need love to be real. I need for someone who says “I love you” to mean that she loves and accepts me — as a person, the way I am, for better or worse — rather than it simply meaning, “I like the attention you’re giving me.”

I’ve always ignored evidence to the contrary and made the conscious decision to believe in people who’ve said they love me, even when the evidence suggested otherwise. Am I idealistic in the good sense and just waiting for real love to triumph? Or am I in denial and setting myself up to be disappointed in people who are merely serving their own selfish purposes — for however long I meet their needs?

I don’t know, but the question has been haunting me.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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