It will take (him) many years to (…) recognize that the very things he once considered romantic- wordless intuitions, instantaneous longings, a trust in solemates – are what stand in the way of learning how to sustain relationships. He will conclude that love can endure only when one is unfaithful to its beguiling opening ambitions; and that for his relationships to work he will need to give up on feelings that got him into them in the first place. He will need to learn that love is a skill rather than a enthusiasm.

Love means admiration for qualities in the lover that promise to correct our weaknesses and imbalances; love is search for completion.

At the heart of a sulk lies a confusing mixture of intense anger and equally intense desire not to communicate what one is angry about. The sulker both desperately needs the other person to understand and yet remains utterly committed to doing nothing to help them do so.

“The nature of this particular day dream is foreign, unfamiliar and frankly not a little disgusting to me, but I’m interested in hearing about it nonetheless, because more critical than my relative comfort is my ability to cope with who you are. The person thinking of her now is the same person I married and the same little boy who stares out from that picture on top of our chest of drawers. It’s him I love and refuse to think badly of, however much his thoughts may sometimes disturb me. You’re my best friend and I want to know and come to terms with your mind in all it’s weird byways. I will never be able to do or be everything you want, nor vice versa, but I’d like to think we can be the sort of people who will dare to tell each other who we really are. The alternative is silence and lies, which are the real enemies of love”

We too often act from scripts generated by the crises of long ago that we’ve all but consciously forgotten. We behave according to an archaic logic which now escapes us, following a meaning we can’t properly lay bare to those we depend on most. We can be a little tricky to be around.

If parental kindness were enough the human race would stagnate and in time die off. The survival of the species hinges on children eventually getting fed up and heading off into the world.

Marriage vows: “We accept not to panic when, some years from now, what we are doing today will seem like the worst decision of our lives. Yet we promise not to look around, either, for we accept that there cannot be better options out there. Everyone is always impossible. We are a demented species. We will endeavor to be faithful. At the same time, we are certain that never being allowed to sleep with anyone else is one of the tragedies of existence (…) We have surveyed the different options for unhappiness and it is to each other that we have chosen to bind ourselves. “

– The Course of Love, Alain de Botton


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