I am going to stick to romantic love because I think this is where you are going with it. After being married for 15 years, this is definitely an interesting set of questions. I would say that if people were honest, they would say that there are some attributes of their loved ones that they don’t particularly care for. At the beginning of a relationship though, these characteristics are masked (or ignored) by the “puppy” love that is experienced with all new relationships.
As time wears on, this infatuation that makes someone blind wears off and they will start to notice those undesirable attributes more. There is a choice then that they need to make – they love them with those “flaws” or they let the flaws be a deal breaker. This is when you see people that are breaking up due to pet peeves and irreconcilable differences. If they end the relationship it is usually because they may think that they didn’t really love that person after all or they fell in love for the wrong reasons or they were not the person that they thought they were and a whole host of other clichés.
You know me though; I love my wife with an infatuation that will last a lifetime. I would not be honest if I didn’t say there were things she did or said or was a habit that I didn’t care for but, paradoxically, I love those things too. I can truly say that I love all aspects of my wife – inside and out. This includes personality, morals, beliefs, and physically. Yes, even the undesirable stuff too. I believe that a person can love their spouse completely and wholly. Everything my wife does is part of who she is and I have grown to love them all – even the things that I don’t care for because they are part of her. In a sense, if those attributes happen to go away suddenly, she would be a different person. On the other hand, people are unwilling to accept that the person they marry will change and not be the person they first married 10, 15, or 50 years in the future. This change is part them and their perception, and part is the journey of life experiences. But this idea is for another time.
It is difficult to love a person just for personality. If men and women were honest, then they would admit that personality, desire, and attractiveness are all linked together. It depends on which one holds the most pull for each person at first but in the end they all play a part. It is like a good friend of mine said one day, “You know, I used to think that Cathy Ireland was so hot . . . then she opened her mouth.” A girl can be very attractive but be nasty and mean or not very bright and suddenly you wonder why you thought they were attractive in the first place. This holds true for a strong relationship and true love. The stronger and deeper my love for my wife grows, the more attractive she is and the more appealing all of her traits are. Those that enter a relationship with a “wishful thinking” attitude may not really be ready for the love they are looking for. They are starting by looking for faults already. Maybe that is the problem in itself. I think that people are not making sure they know what they want to begin with. I don’t think that a person can truly fall in love with a person on personality alone and not start finding themselves being attracted to them physically or not believing the person is attractive. They would just stay close friends instead.
I have heard the song from John legend called All of Me, and sometimes lyrics can be too paradoxical or demeaning for me while others will think it is romantic or have some deep truth to them. I think that the song is pointing out all the things that he sees that is negative attributes and then saying that he is okay with them. Personally, I really don’t see any negative aspects of my wife. There are some things she does that are not my way or quite my style but they are not negative aspects, just different from me. These things really are a benefit for me since they can help. I am more like the “Just the way you are” by Bruno Mars. This is more of a song that says that the girl sees all these “flaws” in herself and the guy doesn’t see them at all. He loves her and loves everything about her no matter how she feels about herself. Actually it has a tone that it doesn’t matter to him (other than letting her know that no one else sees such things either) because they are not flaws to him. Perspective you know.
In the end, I just want to put out there one more idea - the idea of romantic love being an infinity emotion. I know I am not old yet but I am old enough and have observed enough of relationships that there is no one love recipe that will cement a lifelong commitment. Every single person has their own unique idea based on wants, needs, desires, preferences, and a host of other criteria. It is almost amazing that any two people can ever have a lifelong marriage. But then again, when they do fall for each other, it is inevitable that the idea of love and what they develop will be much different than what they thought it should or would be. At this point is where that false expectation comes in. The most import thing to realize is that when you criticize another for their relationship , remember it is not yours. Yep, they may be fine with theirs just the way it is just shy of anything that is destructive or illegal. I call romantic love an infinity emotion because of all the variables that inhabit the emotion and the number of people who all have their own unique ownership of their romantic love with their companion. Add to that the gradual change and maturation of the emotion over time and . . . well. See? It is an infinity of possibilities.