Love itself isn't complex; people are complex. And people manage to complicate even the simplest things.
Love isn't a difficult concept to understand -- at least not in theory. To love romantically is to feel connected to, care about, need and slightly obsess over someone. It's when we practice love that things get messy.
Love means something a little different for each individual. While the emotions that love calls up may be pretty standard and universal, the reasons why we love differ just as much as one person differs from the next.
When it comes to romantic love, the obsessing and physiological response (we call it chemistry) is very important. But what triggers these responses is individual.
Beyond people's individual preferences, we need to add all the complexities inherent in reciprocal love. Counterintuitively, these actually make things more complex and more difficult to handle.
Falling for someone without seeing that love returned is sad. But it's also enjoyable while our interest lasts. Sadness is necessary for happiness to prevail. It's unavoidable.
When our love is reciprocated, on the other hand, everything becomes real. Our image of the person changes and blends in with actual reality.
Depending on how mature and experienced someone is in love and in a relationship, the love will either grow in a healthy fashion or will become tainted and eventually destroy itself.
A person's readiness for a loving relationship depends on timing. How does one know when one is “ready”? That, likewise, can be a bit difficult to answer -- not least because timing feeds into the chemistry and into every other aspect of the relationships.
People each contain a system of thoughts, beliefs and experiences, and these predict how we process new and incoming thoughts, beliefs and experiences.
How we see our partner, how we feel about him or her, the future we plan for each other -- all this depends not only on our experience in the relationship, but also on our past history.
For a relationship to work, both partners need to be mentally prepared for the road that lies ahead.
If we meet the right individual at the wrong point in life, the relationship will almost certainly fail -- unless, of course, we manage to achieve the right state of mind while in the relationship.
But none of this matters if you don't have the necessary chemistry. Pheromones aside, unless your partner turns you on -- and vice versa -- your relationship won't be a happy one.
Yes, I believe that great sex is crucial to a relationship. But more important is having someone in your life who has a knack for getting your engines going.
Your own turn-ons are unique to yourself, of course. But it's important that you not only understand what it is that gets you going, but that you also find someone who is very good at pushing those buttons. At the very least, you need someone willing to learn to push your buttons the right way.
Chemistry is known to fade with time, but that's because we don't manage to keep alive the novelty or mystery.
We get too comfortable; we let ourselves go. These people aren't mentally ready to be in a relationship. They don't understand what it takes, and they will almost certainly not be capable of doing what it takes.
Too many of us think that the goal is to win someone's love -- as if it's a race that has a finish line. But then what? Most give up on trying to impress or trying to show their love.
They feel that they've already made their feelings clear. This may surprise you, but your partner is going to need regular reminders.
Your partner is going to need you to keep the chemistry alive. You're going to need to take care of yourself, physically and mentally.
You're going to need to keep the excitement alive both in and out of the bedroom. Whoever told you that love is easy lied to you, and you should defriend that person immediately.
Relationships aren't perfect because people aren't perfect. Nevertheless, you can find, create and nurture the kind of love that lasts the test of time.
Loving forever means finding the imperfectly perfect combination of timing and chemistry -- and making sure to keep things imperfectly perfect.