We tend to be generous towards people who can’t get over someone
It sounds romantic, if a little sad.
The love affair happened a year ago
but still the excess thoughts remain loyal to every detail of the story
Maybe they’ve moved to another country.
Perhaps they’ve married someone else.
又或许 已经死了 但这些都不重要
Maybe, they’re dead. None of it matters.
The most famous fictional love affair of the 18th century
Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther
is a hugely sympathetic study of this kind of romantic fixation
The hero, Werther, an ardent young student
falls passionately in love with a charming and beautiful woman named Charlotte
She likes him but doesn’t love him back
in part because she’s married to someone else
There are plenty of other nice women
单身 漂亮 喜欢他的女人
who single, attractive, and interested in Werther.
But, he has no time for them.
The only one he cares for is Charlotte.
The one who doesn’t care for him.
Eventually, unable to have Charlotte’s love.
Werther decides to kill himself.
The novel proved hugely charming
to its original audiences.
Who praised it for its deep and pure understanding of love
This sort of unrequited passion
so often celebrated in literature and society more generally.
May sound generous and in that sense, loving.
But, a devotion to an unrequited situation
is in truth, a clever way of ensuring that we won’t end up
in a relationship at all
That we won’t ever need to suffer the realities of love.
Fixation on an absent other
allows us to be publicly committed to love
while privately sheltered from any of its more arduous demands.
The fear of love maybe motivated by a range of factors
A squeamishness around hope,
a self-hatred which makes someone else’s love feel eerie,
or a fear of self revelation which breeds a reluctance
to let anyone into the secret part of ourselves.
The fears are serious and deserve sympathy.
But they are generally not the issues that the romanticly fixated person ever wants to discuss.
They prefer to keep the spotlight on the unresponsive ex,
rather than on their motives
for continuing to dwell on them.
The way to unfixate is not to tell ourselves
that we never like the person.
It’s to get very serious and specific about what the attraction was based on.
And then to come to see that the qualities we had admired in the ex
must necessarily exist in the other people
而且他们和前任不一样 没有那么多问题 有发展的可能
who don’t have the set of problems that make the original relationship impossible.
The careful investigation of the character of one person,
paradoxically but very liberatingly
shows that we could in fact, also love someone else.
This is not an exercise in getting us to give up on what we really want.
The liberating move is to see
that what we want has to exist in places beyond the pain and juicing character we originally identified it in.
我们应该逐渐明白 我们失望 我们被甩 是为了迎接更好的相遇
We should gently recognize that being dissapointed and abandoned has its curious satisfactions.
感性地看 不断自揭伤疤 独舔伤口 的确是一种稳妥的姿态
It is in an emotional sense, a very safe position to be in indeed.
Yet true love isn’t to be acquited with pining for an absent figure.
要得到真爱 你必须重回战场 并满怀期待
It means daring to engage with a truely frightening prospect.
A person who is available and thinks
despite our strong background supposition to the contrary, that we’re really rather nice.
That is perhaps,
the only sort of challenge that properly deserve the lyrical and grand word, ROMANTIC.