Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Novel Relations

I'm reading my favorite book again. I've read it so many times I lost count. The author is inconsistent and cynical but writes life experiences with an honesty I admire. Each time I pick up the book a line or idea will strike me and stay in my thoughts for days. The book is Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. I wanted to share a line that has been swimming in my brain.

"There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved."

In the context of the book the character makes similar statements several times and basically decides that in a relationship one person always loves more than the other or one loves and the reciprocate allows it without returning.

It troubles me. I have been party to and witness of this in the past but if it were true every time why would we bother? Is it because we don't realize until it is over? Are people content with this? With all the complexities within a relationship this can't possibly always be the case but I hope I'm not just saying that because I don't want to believe it.

31 comments:

kcinnova said...

I certainly wouldn't be content in a relationship like that, and it would make me cynical. Luckily, I don't see it that way. This from someone who has been happily married for over 20 years, so I'd like to think I know what I am talking about! However, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Mine is that each person in a successful relationship loves 100% (to the best of his or her ability). I can see problems occurring when comparisons are being made or ability levels are low. Some people are emotionally stunted.
Perhaps it boils down to a person's definition of love?
I prefer the biblical definition.

Darla said...

I don't have anything glorious to say on this subject, but what the above noter said, "to the best of his or her ability" really struck a chord with me.

Each person's 100% is different. Hmm...

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

my friend Casey needs to go to the flower store, maybe select some extra good wine, and present both with a huge kiss and some other affectionate endearments...

Dana said...

"There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved."

Hmmmm ... maybe because I am old, I am more cynical, but I would say this dynamic does - indeed - exist in every relationship to some degree. The to some degree part of that statement being the most import. I don't believe this is necessarily unhealthy, but it could be. Relationships are funny things - as different as the people who participate in them.

Knight said...

Kcinnova- I suppose it's that sort of relationship that doesn't last long. You are proof that it isn't always the case. I'm glad you were the first one here today.
Is it bad that I don't know what the biblical definition of love is?

Darla- The 100% and best of ability part isn't fully digested for me yet. I'll have to think about it.

Gary- Ha ha. Casey is always welcome to do that. Especially the last part. But he certainly doesn't need to. We have a solid relationship and I'm not doubting him. It's this damn book that is messing with my head. Nothing in my real life.

Disaster Chick said...

I don't know if you would really want my opinion because I've going though a break up with someone I fell in love with. I find that statement to be true.

I had a friend of my talk about "the boomerang of love" and that is what I'm looking for. There are times that one will love the other person more, but it will come back.

I think my request seems to be too much - I want a guy that will be: my companion, my partner, my friend, and my lover. I know there are times that you aren't always "in love" and I want more than an obligation to be there.

An Artist Exposed said...

I love to read Maugham and he defiantly has a cynical side. It is an interesting quotation which is often - but NOT universally true.

Mike said...

Love is an illusion propagated by nature to make sure we make more of us. It's a mammal thing, a life bond thing, because we don't birth lots of children and hope one survives. We birth one and put a lot into it. This takes two for optimal chances of survival.

Nature also gave us the orgasm to look past our own bullshit and keep on doing the deed to make more of us.

Fucking nature.

singlendacity89 said...

I will have to get that book.. Love to me is a lil bit of what was stated..As far as being in love I think that in SOME relationships one gives more than the other...

But that is just me, and what I think

I really would love to read this!

Tall Lanky Jew said...

I am totally going to the flower and wine store ASAP!!!! :) Besides don't ya still need a flower for your new vase????
xoxoxxxxxxxx

kcinnova said...

Knight: I'm certainly not claiming to be perfect at this (or at anything else!) but I'll try to give a quick biblical definition of love...

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Disaster Chick: "my companion, my partner, my friend, and my lover" - this is NOT asking too much! In fact, it is wonderful. Please don't settle for less.

Jay said...

So far most of my relationships have been one-sided to some degree. Some more so than others. That's probably not a good thing.

Dianne said...

it depends on what you need - to some degree

I've always thought I was more comfortable therefore better at loving than letting people love me

then again I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about

freakazojd said...

Hmmm...very interesting. I think that everyone expresses love differently and has different expectations in terms of how they want love expressed to them. Those two things would probably account for at least some of the "to the best of ones ability" or to the one person loving more than another, because perception is only from one perspective. Funny, that. Anyway, I am happy to say that the person I have chosen to spend my life with (and continue to choose, an important distinction) is fully in this thing with me, and I we have an equal partnership as well as a strong love for (and commitment to) one another. Sorry for the long winded comment, but your post struck a chord with me, too. Good one, lady! :)

Reb said...

Every day in a relationship is different. Some days you might put in 75% and your partner only 25%, the next day your partner may put in 80% to your 20%. As long as most days you are both putting in your best, then you've got a good relationship.

Besides, you can love someone and some days, just not like them.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Great comments you're getting!

I think it's often true. It's rare that you'll get exactly the same love that you're giving consistently.

Oh, and you can eat my mac 'n cheese ANYTIME! Call me!;)

Tink said...

I don't think it's as black and white as that. It's like power... Or luck. Somoene always has more of it. But that changes on a daily basis. So too does the strength of someone's love. I always love Hoop, but some days he just loves me more. Other days I love him more. That's how it works. The trick is knowing when you're on the low end that it's going to change eventually.

Tink said...

Somoene? Sheesh. When are they going to make a spellcheck for comments? ;)

Farmer*swife said...

tink nailed it. Depending on the day, the events, etc. It's a bit of a pendulum.

What I know is that in a relationship, to make it work, one should always give 101%. To make up for those days when one's partner isn't able to give the full 100%.

Someone was talking about how a relationship is 50-50. And, that was the wife's response.

Or, something like that. I read it somewhere quoted from an elderly couple that had been married forever. It stuck with me.

Happy Thursday.

furiousBall said...

you know, i'm more organic about loving relationships. everyone has an opinion of what it should be. if you're happy and the other person is happy - cool. that's it.

Knight said...

Dana- I like that you say "to some degree" because when you look at it that way, does it really matter? Maybe that was the point he was making. It is what it is.

Disaster Chick- It's remembering my past relationships that makes me believe this to be true so I know what you mean. I have never though of this boomerang theory before. I like that analogy. I don't know if I believe it for me but I like it. Your request doesn't seem like too much to me. That is what I expect as well.

An Artist Exposed- This book of his is of particular interest to me because it is almost a memoir. You can feel a lot of torment, anguish, and passion in a very honest no added frills way.

Mike- I knew I could count on you to talk facts. I don't really want to birth anything though. I'm just curious why things aren't equal. On that note, does one parent always love the kid more? Hmmm?

Singlendacity89- Before you get the book I should mention that it isn't a love story. It was published in 1915 and has to do with a hard life in England and Paris. It covers all topics of life.

Tall Lanky Jew - I need you to hold the camera for me so I can vlog about the new vase. Want to come over ;) ?

Kcinnova- Ah well, now that you write it down it seems like all the obvious stuff. If only it were that easy. Thanks for sharing this. I'm sure most people remember it but I have not picked up my Bible in years.

Jay- Up until my current relationship I said the same thing. Luckily I've got all these lovely bloggers to question and prove the statement not entirely true.

Dianne- Maybe in your case you don't realize the love you are getting back because it is easier to ignore it. At least I hope that is the case because you most definitely deserve the return. I know I need reciprocation or I don't consider the game fair playing ground and refuse to play.

Knight said...

Freakazojd- I'm glad it struck a chord. I wondered how this would come off and if anyone would respond. So far so good. Perspective is a great thing to bring up because technically this is a hard thing to gauge. I suppose two people could think the other really loves them when actually both are rather indifferent. Like teen love. Oh what an unfortunate thought that was! Sorry.

Reb- So true. Everything changes moment to moment. This sort of brings me back to the idea that maybe the statement is true but doesn't really matter.

Real Live Lesbian- They are great comments from everyone. I'm kind of surprised. I think I agree with you but I'm adding the twist I have gathered from commenters that in a good relationship the scale will tip both ways so some days one is up and then it switches.
Mmmm my mouth is watering.

Tink- I like how you put it. We are balancing love in the grey.

Farmer*swife- I don't completely know what it means to put 101% into a relationship. Is offering more of yourself when someone else is offering less really a good idea? Outside of marriage it seems kind of dangerous. I'm starting to get confused from exploring this question a little too much.

Furiousball- Ah, THANKS! You came in at just the right moment. Just be happy.

cat said...

I do believe this, but I believe it too be true in waves.

I love my husband and he loves me, there is no doubt about this on both sides, but there is times that I believe he loves me more then I do him.

It's not that I don't love him as much as he does me at that time, it's just a different kind of love then.

I've noticed there might be months that my husband will do and say everything a girl/woman could ever want and I may not respond to him the way he his responding to me and then it switches to me doing it all in the relationship and he may be a little withdrawn from me.

I believe that is how relationships work. You both can be "on" at the sametime, all the time.

Fusiousball said it right "just be happy".

fiwa said...

I totally agree with what Tink said. It ebbs and flows, just like everything else in life.

I love books like that - ones that you can read over and over and there is still something about them that makes you stop and think each time.

tt said...

I can only speak from My own personal experience...but...I think things go back and forth..60/40...50/50....70/30..depending on what's going on in each others lives at the time. One of us has to pickup the lion's share from time to time...when things are just off or get side tracked...it eventually gets turned around and the other person takes the lead roll. Does any of that make sense?? I know what I mean but I may not be saying it right.

Well chicken biskets...I just went back and read Tinks' reply...that's what I've been trying to say. Exactly! She's going to have a great marriage!!!!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!

GMEyster said...

This comment makes me think of Olympia Dukakis (sp?) in Moonstruck. She asks Cher, her daughter, if she loves the guy she's about to marry...in the beginning it's Danny Aiello. Cher says (and I'm paraphrasing) "no, but he's a good man" and later when Dukakis is asking if she loves the guy she's about to marry....Nicholas Cage, she says "Ma, I love him" and Dukakis replies "aww, that's too bad" and I remember not getting her comment when I first watched it.

I get it now. When you love someone there is so much at stake. And when you love someone more than they love you, it can be dangerous. But who measures how much someone loves? People are as different as night and day. And what fills one person may not be enough for the next. I think the key is finding that person that strikes your balance. And....it doesn't always work. People that find it are lucky.

Good blog!