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    Dec 2009

    Default Are you really in love? || bE mY valEntiNe

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    DO you really love him? Faced with this question, anybody is bound to dither. What is “love”? And, what is “really love?” How do you know whether you really love someone as opposed to just being fond of him or her? And, can you possibly really love more than one person at a time in a romantic and sexual manner?

    Do you really love him? Really? How do you know? And how many loves are we capable of even as we seek that one true love which spans a lifetime?

    Try it. Ask yourself if you really love your husband, wife or lover. If you are a mature, reasonably intelligent and honest person, you are sure to start worrying about the true definition of love. Unending discussions about the pros and cons apart, what Reality TV has managed to do is successfully stir up the cauldron of human emotions, helping us question rather than just accept or hide them; shown us that our trespasses don’t make us freaks; there are many more like us, and last but not least, revealed to us the multiple dimensions of the human personality.
    When TV actor Rupa Ganguly was asked on the last episode of Sach Ka Saamna if she really loved her younger boyfriend, she replied in the affirmative. The polygraph test however caught her out, successfully preventing her from carrying the 25-lakh booty home. A visibly disappointed Rupa said, “At 42 you are not as sure of the definition of love as you are at say 25. How do you define love? I would say I love Dibyendu, but the polygraph test obviously thinks otherwise!”
    And Rupa very rightly raised the question, what then is love? According to her definition of it, she loves Dibyendu, but is there another more valid definition that is followed by the polygraph machine? Does her definition differ from that of her mother’s, her sister’s, her friend’s or the rest of the world’s? And, if that is so, is that relevant? Isn’t it enough that she knows she loves her boyfriend?
    And, what happens if a man and a woman who fancy themselves in love with each other, realise that they are unable to relate to each other’s definition of love? When Cordelia’s professed love for her father, King Lear, falls short of his expectations, she loses her share of the kingdom, yet that doesn’t mean she loves him any less than her silvertongued sisters, Regan and Goneril! In romantic love too, no two individuals can profess to love each other in exactly the same manner and to the same depth. Whose definition must then be followed?
    The safest bet of course would be to follow your own criteria, your own definition of what love means to you. It’s how you connect to your loved one that matters more than any definitions of how you should connect! As for how do you know if you are really in love, there are as many suggestions as there are people in love. You are in love when you would rather not live life without the other person; when he or she is the first that springs to mind in happiness or grief; when the other person is a constant companion even in absentia, and when sometimes your loved one’s happiness takes precedence over yours…
    Such a loving may or may not last a lifetime, but whatever the span, it soaks up your entire being. Which is why it is difficult to understand when people say they can be in love with more than one person at a time! Going back to the show, Rupa admitted in an answer to a previous question that she still loved her exhusband. The polygraph test gave its blessing for that admission. Let’s forget the debate on whether the polygraph test is the biggest liar around and focus on Rupa, who actually admitted to loving two men at the same time — her ex and her present lover.
    This polyamorous (having more than one romantic or sexual relationship) admission gives rise to the debate on whether we can love two or more people at the same time? The situation called for a quick dipstick test and I asked around. Yes, came the response. Some men and women said it is possible to love more than one person at a time. Said Rema, 34, “You can love different people for different qualities and in different ways.” Kartik, 43, added, “There are different phases to loving. At one stage you may love one kind of a person, while at another stage you may be attracted to a different person. That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily stop loving the earlier person. You could be loving both of them at the same time though maybe with different intensity and in different ways.”
    Dr Helen Fisher in Why We Love talks about our three mating drives — romantic love, lust and attachment. The brain circuits behind these, she says, do not always work in tandem and each of these could be focused on different people at the same time. And so, Dr Fisher concludes that human beings are “neurologically able to love more than one person at a time.”
    If we believe that there is no one kind of loving, but different kinds, we have to accept that we may fall for different kinds of people simultaneously. But I would say that those who do, couldn’t be really intense lovers. For the most intense ones, the world begins and ends with the object of their affection. The extremely focused attention, obsession and goal directed behaviour is exactly what romantic love is all about. For as long as it lasts of course…
    ...being a human...



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