I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

385. The Dynamics Of Kindling Or Killing Love

The Dynamics Of Kindling Or Killing Love

This is a continuation of entry 277, where I defined 'bonded love'.   
In entry 314 I described the difference between the instinctive and the intellectual mating strategies.
In entry 39 I referred to Epstein and his concept of 'self-arranged marriages'.   I prefer to call it 'self-arranged commitment', because feeling bound by commitment does not require a signature in the town hall.  

Bonded love consists of the combined and inseparable elements of physical, emotional and intellectual intimacy and is the stronger, the more the couple shares basic values, attitudes, tastes, interests and other traits.  

The concept of self-arranged commitment means, that a couple decides to cooperate to create a balanced bond of all three intimacies.        

Physical intimacy is triggered by instinctive urges for homeostasis, especially in men, as long as there is no repugnance or repulsiveness.    This comes by itself and needs therefore to be controlled from getting dangerously predominant.   A man drooling over a woman's body in blind infatuation is not in the state to be rational in his evaluations and decisions. 

But a couple has a lot of control and influence over the kindling or forfeiting of emotional and intellectual intimacy and thus over the quality and intensity of bonded love.    They need to be aware of what influences their love and they need to be motivated to kindle it.   

The proactive strategy of kindling bonded love has two major aspects, associative learning and reinforcement.  
  1. Associative learning by sharing any activity or situation, which causes the subjective feeling of wellbeing.
    1.1. Simple associative learning
    When sharing joy, pleasure, pleasant thrill, bliss, pleasant sensations of any kind, no matter if it is hiking in the moonlight, enjoying the same kind of music, sharing the fascination of a visit to an interesting museum or place, then the good feelings are associated with the person, with whom the experience is shared.   
    1.2.  Complex associative learning.
    Sharing hardships, difficulties, discomforts of any kind and experiencing the partner as supportive, empathetic, understanding, reliable, trustworthy associates the good feeling of having been successful in dealing with a challenge with the partner. 
    A bonded couple is not affected by spending a night in a bus station, because the positive feeling of being together compensates for merely external discomfort.   It creates a positive memory of a shared adventure.   
  2. Reciprocal reinforcement.

    Anything perceived as love between two adults triggers an urge or at least a wish to express it or act upon it.  This implies, that it is also understood and received by the target as an expression of love.  
    Verbal expressions of love are very unspecified, as long as the same word 'love' can be used also very selfishly, when someone means about the same love of getting benefits when saying: 'I love you' and saying 'I love cheese'.

    Expressions of love by actions and behavior are much more specific.
    Infatuation with a body urges a person towards sexual activities.    Bonded love creates an urge or wish to express love in any way, that makes the other feel loved, cared for, appreciated, cherished, respected, significant, needed, happy, content, in a safe haven.   Love is also expressed by the imperative of never harming or hurting but protecting the other from harm.

    The neutral baseline is the commitment governance (entry 185), that both have agreed upon.   Behaving according to the commitment governance is an accepted obligation, not an expression of love.    Expressing love is proactive behavior by a deliberate and voluntary decision to do something beneficial for the partner. 

    Such an expression of love is lost, if it is not experienced, perceived and interpreted by the recipient as an expression of love.   Any such proactive behavior of one partner is experienced by both as anything between being only beneficial for the other or beneficial equally for both.   
    It can be that one partner has a skill and uses it to make something for the other, it can be one partner preparing and initiating an excursion to enjoy together.  
    This leads to reciprocal reinforcement.   The more one experiences the other's expression of love, the more this kindles the own love, which enhances the wish to react also with returned expressions of love.    It is like a ball game, in which the ball thrown grows steadily.         
    This works, when both consciously want it to work, and when both are informed, what proactive behavior does make the other feel loved.  
But just as bonded love can be enhanced by applying conscious strategies, it is also fragile to being damaged and destroyed by the opposite behaviors.  
  1. The same intensive situations of shared positive experiences, when love can be kindled to grow, are also the situations, where love is most vulnerable to being damaged and destroyed.    Hurting in such situations has the most detrimental effect.    Being the target of an outburst of anger during a moonlight hike meant to be romantic has much more detrimental effects than an outburst of anger while doing chores in the kitchen.     
  2. Discomfort, hardship and such are enhanced, when instead of being shared, on the partner blames them on the other.
  3. An expression of love is not received as such by a partner feeling entitled to the other serving his needs and taking this for granted.    The one, who considers the other as a commodity existing for the purpose to fulfill all his needs, is deprived of the experience of being loved.    Whatever the other decides to do voluntarily as an expression of love is either not of value or considered a fulfilled duty.
    Expressing love for the reward of being loved back is a decision.    Being expected and even pressed by coercion to serve the other's needs, devalues any act of doing a favor into the experience of being used.    Being under pressure to serve the other's needs impedes and forestalls any occasion of expressing love by a voluntary decision.  
  4. Expressing love by proactive behavior requires communication about what behavior is perceived as expressed love.     Projecting the own needs and remaining ignorant about the partner's needs is not enough.    Hurting the other and resisting to feedback is an even worse love killer.   

Expressing caring and bonded love by proactive behavior is a method to kindle and to avoid killing love.   But it is also an important strategy for the creation of 'self-arranged commitment'.   By applying the same behaviors, that can be an expression of love, the process of creating love can also be started and triggered due to the reinforcing effect.