Sunday, July 19, 2009

Who's in charge here?

A friend and I had an interesting discussion about love and relationships the other night. She is a pragmatist, a trait she would likely tie to watching some of the women in her family go through hell as a result of following their hearts and ignoring their heads. Falling hard, especially early on, makes it too easy for men to treat you badly, she reasons. It's a valid point.

My history is different. My model of romantic relationships is as close to ideal as most people get. I am a romantic. I believe in love and its strength and endurance. I know that falling completely and unconditionally in love can lead to a lifetime of happy companionship, passion and mutual respect.

We agreed that in order to find happiness in a partner, the elements of head and heart must synch. You must know that it both makes sense for you to be together, as well as being completely indefinable. You must be completely open and vulnerable to each other, know and accept even the less-than-desirable parts, while not losing sight of what is and is not practical and acceptable.

Still, that knowledge does not answer the underlying questions.

Do you lead with your head, find a partner who makes sense, and risk finding out five years from now that you simply don't love that person enough to stay?

Do you lead with your heart, find a partner you love without condition, and risk finding out five years from now that the practical hurdles are insurmountable?

Which path is wisest?

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