Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Unrequited Lover

Take the "friendship" of a man and woman who have no professed attachment to each other, made bittersweet by the hidden love of one for the other-

Rockwell's Losing the Game

... Bluntly, this is bad.

1) Emotional input is not equal. Being romantically (but secretly!) interested in another human being consumes a lot of energy. This can lead to exhaustion, exasperation/feelings of neglect, and confusion on part of the "lovee." (a better word?)

2) Disproportionate attachment, where one friend needs the friend more. A note on word choice- a feeling of deep "need" is generally more characteristic of the connection between lovers than that between friends.

3) This friendship can lead to the "stolen single-ness syndrome." Imagine the message sent by a friend-couple that arrives at a party... most persons will assume they're an actual couple unless they bother asking around. If a girl is busy hanging out with her best guy friend (who she secretly adores), it's possible she'll miss out on the guy who might actually be interested.

3 comments:

  1. The difference you draw in need between friends and lovers is interesting: friendships are Aristotelian, love is Macintyrean (dependent). Would it be better if both were one way or the other? What should we strive for?

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  2. Beloved could be a good substitute for "lovee."
    Also, I lovee your stuff Maria and friend, friendship is such a fascinating subject. Might I suggest "Friendship:Interpreting Christian Love" by Liz Carmichael. It's pretty heavy duty but it has good stuff about the historical progression of friendship dating back to Homer.
    Keep up the good work.
    -Liz K(it's going to show up as anonymous but this is quite obviously not)

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  3. Matt- good point. I drew that distinction in an attempt to qualify a lover's "need for the other" as almost a hunger. You worry that I exclude dependence from friendship- I didn't mean to. I think friends do share a level of vulnerability and Macintyrean need. I'll definitely have to revisit this.

    Liz- thanks for the obvious suggestion that escaped me- and thanks for the rec!

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