Love, whether it is romantic, familial, or platonic, can never be molded to suit one’s needs. It may work for some time, it may be convenient, and you may be very happy with what you have created, but it will not last. I believe it’s universally understood that everyone is, on their best day, a little selfish – if that is not understood, then my words are falling upon the ears a plastic person.
No one has the right to coerce another human being into changing who he or she is. If you impose your will on your brother, friend, or romantic interest, then you are limiting the concerned person’s freedoms. There are two problems with this: 1. you think that you are so wonderful, another person should be created in your image. 2. you are seriously limiting that person’s chance of knowing themselves and creating a “meaningful” existence.
I have very little experience with humanity and I hardly have the right to place my judgment upon it, but the argument can clearly be made that many (in fact, too many) people consider themselves to be in love before they know the person that they supposedly love. This is nothing short of immature, and irresponsible. If people weren’t driven by subconscious, sexual, and, for lack of better words, idealistic or superficial desires, love would be much harder to come by.
Practices within the institution (yes, institution) of “love” that are now considered unthinkable or even disgusting to the average person could, and should be deemed perfectly acceptable. To list a few; perhaps a woman does not want the man she wishes to spend her life with to be the father of her children. Or perhaps (now, hold your breath…) a woman loves two or three men, and the men, being in love with said woman, voluntarily enter into a multi-partner relationship. Just a few examples to get all of you thinking… Homework assignment 1: make up your own subversive or taboo love scenario to insert above! The point is…love must be a fiercely personal experience that requires one to internalize and understand all variables concerned.
You must know yourself before you label your feelings for someone else. If you do not know and understand yourself, you cannot know another person. If you cannot know another person, then you cannot be in love. Stop squinting and open your eyes people, and if that doesn’t work, “a pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.” (Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human).