Tuesday, 20 September 2011

At Last My Love Has Come Along

I love the Etta James classic At Last My Love Has Come Along.  A love I'm sure I share with many others and certainly with @MartinBown who had the song played at his wedding. We tweeted about the track this morning and so I decided to give him a mention. He's a good bloke and is Ambassador for @CerebraUK and so if you tweet you could give him a follow I'm sure he'd like that.

As I say I love the song but would like to take issue with the lyrics and the trillions of love songs that reinforce the idea that until 'the one' appears you are not really living and life is lacking as a consequence. The narrator says 'my lonely days are over' thereby implying without said significant other, life is a lonely and possibly bleak existence.  In the context of a good song (story) that's fine but to feel that life without a partner isn't worth living is a different thing all together. Now before I proceed I would just like to point out that I'm not some embittered old harridan. I am a 60 something with a long standing partner, two children who I count as friends, grandchildren, pets, friends in fact the whole caboodle. I'm in favour of love as an enriching experience, I just worry that there are innumerable people who feel the lack of a partner or the right partner and can't really see themselves as OK unless they acquire one. Furthermore, said partner has to be the stuff of dreams anything less just isn't acceptable.

I guess you could think I'm exaggerating but it's quite a regular occurrence for clients to tell me they love their partner but they are not in love with them - they don't feel the buzz - the x-factor. When I ask them to say more they invariably founder. What they mean is that they are no longer in that idealised state of limerence. That state of infatuation in which the majority of relationships begin and incidentally what most of the songs are about. Perhaps what they fail to acknowledge is that if they stayed in that intoxicated state they'd probably expire. It's our version of the animal mating ritual? Anyway here we are we sad deluded individuals yearning for a state that you wouldn't expect to last for more than say three years and wanting it to last for a lifetime and if it doesn't feeling cheated in some way?

I guess I'm not the only person on the planet who thinks we are influenced by art, literature, music and media and it would be fair to say that we've come a long way since the fifties when I was a pre-teen. However, what hasn't changed is the idea that a partner completes and when that doesn't happen boy aren't we disappointed. This isn't about women finding partners or,  men finding partners, irrespective of sexual orientation it's about thinking or feeling we 'should' have a partner and to not have one means we are lacking in some way or more precisely not complete.

I want to share with you the story of a woman of my acquaintance. She's a health professional and she gives me a treatment every six weeks. We'd been talking about her single status and I asked her if I could include her in my blog and she gave her permission. Anyway, she's a 41 year old divorcee with two young children and has had several abortive relationships since she and her ex husband separated. She has met men through Facebook and dating websites. She told me about one very popular dating site that asks for exact physical criteria  and as a consequence she feels excluded. Not only that she looks at other dating websites and when she sees the same men listed thinks because they are still there 'they can't be up to much'? This woman is not unintelligent but it does feel as if she has skewed views on love and relationships and in my opinion unrealistic expectations of them - she 'wants everything'. Furthermore, because she wants everything she feels frustrated and not good enough in some way because she's not achieving it. The problem is that were she to find everything it probably wouldn't remain everything beyond the two to three years limerence mark so she'd find herself once again at the beginning.  

So whilst the Etta James song is beautiful it would be more realistic if it went on to say for my love to stay I need to acknowledge I won't be in a state of heavenly rapture for much of the time. By the way if you're in a relationship and want to spice up your love life you could do worse than read The 52 Seductions if nothing else it'll bring a smile to your face. If you're not in a relationship make sure you are putting lots of pleasure into your life and then your lack won't be your focus and when you're not looking perhaps 'your love will come along'.

If you're interested in a more detailed explanation of limerence then click on this link.

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