Romantic love can take us through the highest heights and the lowest lows. When in the process of falling in love, what we see in our lover and what s/he sees in us are the reflections of the Divine within the observer – not actually from the lover being observed.
In other words, what we see in our lover is the projection of our own vision of the Divine onto the lover; and if the love is mutual, we carry that same vision from them. We really are just looking at ourselves, at our highest level, embodied within another person. We can continue this dance only as long as both lovers can submit to the projection of their lovers’ Divinity.
As the fires of passion fade, the new view of the lover becomes the shadow of the observer. So when the passion fades we project our worst parts onto our lover and they often do the same to us. This is when the Romance falters; the high has faded. This can also signal the end of the relationship unless the couple can begin to transcend the Romance by forming a lasting or human love.
In essence, Romantic love cannot stand the test of time. What we love in the other is what we truly love within ourselves. After this fades, we begin to find fault in the other, as a projection of the things we hate about ourselves. Thus romantic love is just us looking at ourselves in another; the best and the worst.
To transcend this type of love, we must develop a friendship with our lover. As friends accept the best and worst in their friends – as they are, essentially we can avoid both the Divinity and shadow projection of ourselves onto others…as well as their projections onto us.
In my humble opinion, first we must become our own best friends. When we truly love and respect ourselves ~ our highs and lows ~ then we are less likely to project our highs and lows onto others, because we already accept their presence within ourselves. Thus, once we are our own best friends, we can then more easily build friendships with our lovers.
Somehow Western Love downplays friendship within couples. In fact, romance and friendship are in opposition. Romance is a projection of ourselves onto others whereas friendship is the acceptance of who someone is, as is. Learning to love ourselves can be our greatest mission as well as greatest challenge.
Some cultures, like the Hindu, have figured out that Divine projection and lasting love do not mix. They honor the Divine form of both genders in art work, ceremonies, statues and celebrations. Couples then do not need to find the divine within their lovers. There is a great freedom in this, for couples accept one another as they are and neither needs to carry the Divinity of the other. Humans can only carry the energy of the Divine for so long.
While we cannot change our cultural views of Romantic Love overnight, we can begin to open our eyes to the harm of continuing to project our greatness and our darkness onto others, particularly in the area of couples. Perhaps this is why the divorce rate continues to climb?
Concepts taken from We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love by Robert A Johnson
Michael at Cream of the Planet in Romantic Love: Hearts on Fire