Love, Love, or Love...
In the Russian language, you'll find about 12 different words for love. The different words were created so as not to confuse the many ways we love people, animals, and things. During my own growing-up years, the meaning of "love" got very mixed up and lost. Until age 6 my biggest love was the German Shepherd we had in Vienna Austria. At that time (shortly after World War II), my family moved to Switzerland. Being an Austrian made me public enemy number 1 in my small-town elementary school. I had to run home for two reasons: First not to get beat up by other students, and second not to get hit by my father if I came home late. At least I became a good runner.
That situation forced me to quickly learn the Swiss dialect. I became a Swiss citizen and after going to another school, things got a little better around class but worse at home. The few messages about love and sex I received from home and buddies were all negative and very confusing. At age 17, from one day to another, my parents sent me to Chilton Cantelo House, a boy-school in Somerset England, because the parents of Edith, my girl-friend at that time, told my parents that they thought it would be good for both of us to once in a while spend a night together in either of our homes, instead of hanging out late. I never saw Edith again in my life.
It was not until two years later, at age 19, when I finally first spent a night with a woman, Yvonne. At that time it was illegal in Switzerland to have sex out of wedlock. If you were not married, you couldn't even legally get a hotel-room or rent an apartment for two. I was very immature and did not understand the difference between the various kinds of love, sex, and less the meaning of a relationship, etc. There was no doubt in my mind that now it was my obligation to marry that woman and that this finally was what people call love.
I knew since my early childhood that I didn't want to stay in my parent's house one day longer than I had to, which was after reaching legal age at 20. My 20th birthday was August 20th. I married the above mentioned woman, three weeks later. We both wanted to get away from where we lived and now we could legally rent an apartment and live together. We soon had two sons, we never had a fight, we never loved each other, but we liked each other and had a friendly almost platonic relationship. When we finally decided to get divorced, the discussion lasted 5 minutes. We agreed at once, never cried a tear and went our separate ways 30 days later.
It was not until after about 10 years of trial and error relationships, and many fallings in love with the wrong partners that I first learned to love me. And then, little by little, I acquired the capacity to love others. I learned that love doesn't fall from the sky as in the movies, but that the so called "falling in love" was a chemical and electrical reaction originated by our hypothalamus (if we met the chemically right counterpart), producing this overwhelming and euphonious feeling which often lasts a few weeks or months, or until the female is pregnant.
I personally believe that most relationships end because instead of loving each other, people try to find somebody responsible for ones own unhappy feelings, fears, jealousy, or frustrations, or are taken by surprise that this famous "In-Love" feeling is not there anymore. We look for somebody that "feeds into our own shit" (An alcoholic finds a bartender; a sadist a masochist). If we get caught in this trap and we don't start to change our own behavior, we will repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
There were many philosophies, writers, and therapists that have helped me to get to the point where I am today. They taught me that love is an activity, that it is active loving which produces long lasting love. The first one was Dr. Daniel Casriel in New York with his scream-therapy in AREBA (Accelerated Reeducation of Emotions, Behavior and Attitudes) and later his protégé, Ambros Wehrli from Zurich. Working in AREBA as an assistant therapist to a specialist in marriage problems gave me a lot of insight of the different stages and communication pit-falls of relationships and family-settings.
From this time on I chose my partners differently. I learned that love and anger are closely tied together and that many relationships fail because it was socially not accepted to express anger. I learned that feeling several emotions at the same time can produce irrational behaviors like panic or jealousy.
One of the most important and difficult things, was not to blame other people for my feelings. In the past I wanted the person I lived with to be near perfect, now I could accept them as they are. I learned that love and life is like the ocean, it comes and goes in waves and it is not a straight highway. I realized that it was the obstacles and mistakes from which I had learned most and that finally one of the things that counts most in our lives is having a happy day, one at a time. I decided to write down my own life-philosophy and leave behind the many traps of our society.
Today I am living the prime of my life: I work and live together with a wonderful loving wife and 3 of my youngest sons. Living and loving is a learning process. If you want to get good at it and learn about it, here are some recommended readings:
= The Sexual Brain, by Simon LeVey.
= Love Is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.
= A Scream Away from Happiness, by Daniel Casriel, M.D.
= Emotional Group-Therapy of Casriel, by Ambros Wehrli.
= Several books, by Peter Lauster and Leo Buscaglia.
= The Art and Science of Love, by Albert Ellis PH.D.
= The Kamasutram.
= The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, by Stephen R. Covey.
= Nature, Man and Woman, by Alan Watts.
= Of Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham.
= Active Loving, by Ari Kiev, M.D.
= Most Holy Books of different Prophets and Religions teach love.