Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so
vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means
that someone can get inside you and mess you up.
- Neil Gaiman
love have to do with garlic? Exactly! Nothing. Nothing at all. I
borrowed the title from the brilliant Paul Watzlawick. In his book "The
Situation Is Hopeless But Not Serious" he describes a situation that is
staged and played with virtuosity by many couples:
husband comes home from work and his wife announces that the dinner is
almost ready. She's got a new recipe and wants him to try it. She serves
the dinner and after a moment of silence asks her husband if he likes
the food. If he likes the food everything is all right and they both
can look forward into a pleasant evening. But if he doesn't like the
food things become very complicated. The poor man knows that she will be
offended and maybe even angry if he doesn't like the food. But if he
tells her he likes it she may be inclined to cook it more often. To save
his own skin he tells her that this dish has an interesting taste and
continues eating quietly hoping that there is no second serving.
imagine that the man is brave enough and tells his wife he does not
like the food she is serving and she really gets upset. She tells him
that she went through so much trouble, got all the ingredients and spent
hours preparing the meal and he is ungrateful and does not even like
the food. He probably does not even love her because if he did he would
appreciate her sacrifice. She could have spent her afternoon reading or
watching TV, but instead wasted it in the kitchen... This probably is
only the first act of a drama that will continue for the rest of the
evening. Accusation, grudges, tears.
is quite hilarious and you may wonder how it is even possible that
people behaved like that. Well, believe me, it is possible. I know a man
who hated grapes, but ate them for ten years to please his wife. On
their 10th anniversary he told her that he actually hated grapes and
would not touch a single one till the end of his life. The wife was
speechless. When she asked him why he did not tell her about it earlier
he simply stated that he did not want to make her angry or unhappy
because she always went to so much trouble to buy the ripest and
tastiest grapes she could only get.
is only one example. But how many man end up in theaters watching
romances or going to boring parties. How many women go hiking or end up
watching a baseball game to please the partner. How many things are done
out of fear of loosing the loved one.
If you really loved me you would...
may laugh, but you know what? Laughter actually freezes on my lips.
Relationships based on fear have no chance of survival and have nothing
to do with love. Our love does not give us any right to manipulate or
subjugate the person we love. We have no right to control the person we
love or decide what is right for him or her. We cannot demand to be
loved and we cannot force anyone to like what we like because they love
us. We do not threaten or blackmail those who love us and we do not sell
our love for a plate of a bad gourmet soup. We must accept that the
person we love is a free human being, free to stay and free to go.
many tragedies, small and big ones, could be avoided if people trusted
one another and communicated with honesty; but most importantly, if they
did not bind their love or happiness to conditions and treated their partners as their equals.