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Who Do You Love? January 14, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People.

Paula raised a fascinating issue for discussion on her blog, Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror, yesterday:

With what part of a person do we fall in love? Is it the personality, the interior person? Is it the appearance, the exterior? Or is it the whole package?

If only a part of the package were to change, how drastically would that affect your relationship?

How much of our relationships are built upon what we physically see in and hear from the other, as opposed to what we know about the true essence of the other?

With whom or with what do you form your relationships?

To read the post, and join the discussion:  Another Day, Another Cloud.

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Res Ipsa LoquiturWe Are Not The Labels We Wear * A Not-So-Quick Quiz:  Who Are You? * Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism


1. Carol Ann Hoel - January 14, 2011

I think most people love for reasons more substantive than appearance. But I have to say that I don’t know how I would feel about drastic changes in someone I love. I think I would love just as much, but being tested on such a subject is another matter. Would I pass the test? Blessings to you, Nancy and Paula…

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

Carol Ann ~ That is perfectly put. We think we know who we are . . . but do we really?

I had to share this link to Paula’s post since my mind keeps revisiting the questions she raised. Who do we love?

2. Maggie - January 14, 2011

I think that (with the exception of Internet relationships) first impressions are always made on the basis of physical attractiveness. Then if the person’s personality matches up with ours and “sparks fly” then we may perhaps fall in love. When you first see a person, the first thing you’re going to notice is the way they look – you learn about their personality later – so physical attractiveness has to be a factor, but it shouldn’t be the reason we start a relationship with a person or stay with them.

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

What if, like in Ghost, the exterior changed after you were deeply, madly, and truly in love?

Let’s say your true love transformed from a 30 year old white male to a 50 year old African American female?

What impact would that have on how you viewed the relationship?

3. Greg Camp - January 14, 2011

I don’t go along with the “true self” talk. Every part of me is who I am. Now, like a novel, there are subplots and descriptive passages and characters and dialogue, but the theme comes from the totality. Who am I? I suppose that you’ll have to ask that once my life is over.

We have to decide what change in a partner is unacceptable, since we all change and grow over time. For each of us, some things are too far, and we must be clear about what those would be, at least in principle, but accept that anything inside the pale is part of being who we are.

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

Well, in Paula’s extremely thought-provoking hypothetical the “change” is external only ~ same person, different body. A switch from a “male” costume to “female” exterior.

If my BFF of 30 years was suddenly packaged in Paris Hilton’s body . . . even if nothing else changed . . . it would definitely transform our relationship. 🙂

4. Paula Tohline Calhoun - January 14, 2011

Greg, I think you are right: For you and I hope most people, WYSIWYG. But does that mean that if the person who fell in love with you was blind and therefore could not see that integral part of who you are, that she would then not truly know you? Just a thought. . .

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

I bet that those who are blind do a better job of selecting partners for WHO they are, rather than HOW they look. 😉

5. Paula Tohline Calhoun - January 14, 2011

Who’d a thunk it, huh, Nancy? Star Trek spawned an interesting discussion! I will admit to having pondered questions posed by the series more than once or twice. Still love that show. . .

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

YOU spawned an interesting discussion. 🙂

I love wrestling with the question and rolling around in my mind based on what I know about my 30 year relationship with BFF.

If his “shell” transformed from male to female . . . it would be WEIRD. We’d still be best friends but . . . WOW!

I’m going to run over to your site now and hope that the comments have come rolling in.

6. Cindy - January 14, 2011

Very interesting, Nancy, not sure how I’d cope with Old Spouse turning into a gal …

nrhatch - January 14, 2011

‘Twould be an adjustment, to be sure. 😉

7. Booksphotographsandartwork - January 16, 2011

If my husband switched to a female we would be over. over and out. done. capoot. no more. no way.

8. Booksphotographsandartwork - January 16, 2011

That might the fastest I have ever answered one of your posts. He would tell you that I am always talking about men being men. Manly men. I like manly men. Strong, smart, manly men. That doesn’t mean arrogant, abusive or cocky men, just manly. A man who can fix a broken car, water heater, etc. A man who does not wear pink.

nrhatch - January 16, 2011

My BFF is quite the handy man ~ he can run electrical wires, build decks, and he never, ever, ever wears pink. 🙂

But he is also my BEST FRIEND FOREVER. There is no one I enjoy talking with more than my BFF. So, no matter the exterior, I’d keep him around.

But it would be WEIRD if his exterior transformed into something less manly.

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