“In love there is the paradox of two beings who become one and yet they are still two”, wrote the psychologist Erich Fromm, referring to the need to share but, at the same time, to maintain individuality in the couple relationship.
The poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran added: “love each other, but don't turn love into a prison. It better be a sea that moves between the shores of its souls ".
Unfortunately, we often experience possessive love that ends up self-destructing. The desire to possess and control the other ends up burning the psychological oxygen that every relationship needs to survive.
When love does not allow for growth, but requires the sacrifice of identity on the altar of "we", it is not love, but possession. And it is doomed to the permanent failure or dissatisfaction of those trapped in that web.
Become the guardian of the loneliness of those we love
When we love, we must learn to give space to the other. That act is, perhaps, the only one that can save the relationship, make it thrive over time and, above all, ensure that this bond is fertile ground for the growth of both. We have to reconcile our need for union with that for separation.
How can this be done? At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke offered us a solution to break the apparent dichotomy between possession and freedom that usually occurs in relationships:
“I believe that this is the greatest task of a bond between two people: that each is to guard the loneliness of the other.
"Once one has accepted to understand that even the closest human beings continue to exist infinite distances, a wonderful harmony can grow, if they manage to love the distance that separates them, which makes it possible for each to see each other in full silhouetted. against the sky.
“To love is for a long time, and right in the middle of life, solitude, intense and deep isolation for the one who loves. To love does not mean from the beginning to be one, to give oneself and to unite with another (since what would it be like to unite the indistinct, the unfinished, still without order?); it is a sublime opportunity for the individual to mature, to become something in himself, to become a world for himself out of love for another, it is a great, immodest claim addressed to him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast offices ".
This poet offers us a different view of love. Loving does not imply loving someone just for the things we have in common, but also for the things we don't share and that make us different. It means not to love, despite the differences, but to love also and above all the differences. “I have to know the other person and myself objectively, to see his reality, or rather, put aside the illusions, the irrationally distorted image I have of him,” wrote Fromm. Of course, this also means that we must not try to model the other in our image and likeness, but become the guardians of those differences that make us unique.
Erich Fromm had already said: "in contrast to the symbiotic union, mature love means union on condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality". Respecting individuality, as well as the need for solitude, are the basis for building a solid and mature relationship over time in which both people can grow, together but each in their own way, and feel at ease.
These principles are not only valid in couples, but apply to any relationship or bond that you want to maintain throughout your life, whether between friends, siblings or between parents and children.
"Young people err so often and so gravely: that they (in whose nature it is to have no patience) they throw themselves towards each other, when love assails them, they spread, as they are, in all their turbidity, disorder, confusion ... But what then must happen? What should life do with this heap of fragments, which they call their communion and which they would gladly call their happiness and their future? Then each one loses to the other and loses the other and many others, who still wanted to come.
"This progress will transform (at first against the will of outdated males) the experience of love, which is now full of error, will change it from the bottom, will reshape it into a relationship intended from man to man, no longer from male to female . And this more human love (which will be fulfilled infinitely attentive and subdued, and good and clear in binding and loosening) will resemble what we prepare with arduous struggle, to the love that consists in this, that two solitudes are guarded, delimited. and greet each other, ”wrote Rilke.