Romantic fantasies often become like a spell or an enchantment that can put us to sleep or freeze up our lives for long seasons of unfulfilled desire. The fantasy becomes like the thick plate-glass window of a storefront. Inside the window is the glittering bauble, the Hottie, Mr.or Miss Right, the romantic fantasy — which may be interpersonal or some other great fantasy we have not fulfilled — and we are like the hungry street urchin, our gaze forever mesmerized by the unobtainable precious inside the store. Some never awaken from the spell or enchantment. In Dickens’ Great Expectations, one of the main characters is Miss Havisham, a wealthy spinster who had been stood up at the altar. Although the betrayal happened decades before we meet her, she remains wedded to her disappointed romantic fantasy and flits about her darkened house in her faded wedding dress, the decaying wedding feast still on the table, and all the clocks stopped at twenty minutes to nine (the time she learned of the betrayal). Film versions of the novel have portrayed her as very elderly, but Dicken’s notes indicate that she is only in her mid-fifties. Her stillborn life away from sunlight has prematurely aged her, and she is described as looking like a wax work or a skeleton with moving eyes.
Consider this a propitious time to awaken from any romantic spells or enchantments that have kept part of your life frozen. The spell or enchantment does not have to be about interpersonal romance, it may be some other fantasy of unfulfilled success that keeps you from appreciating the life you do have.
If the life freezing enchantment is about romantic fantasy I recommend the book Love 101 which the late Peter McWilliams generously posted free online.
What follows are my favorite quotations from the book:
The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. For this purpose they frequently choose someone who doesn’t even want the beastly thing. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving towards self-sufficiency. — Quentin Crisp
In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.
— Margaret Anderson
When one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself, one ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls romance. — Oscar Wilde
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.
— George Bernard Shaw
To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia — to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess. — H.L.Mencken
There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations and yet which fails so regularly as love. — Erich Fromm
To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible God. — Jorge Luis Borges
You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.
–- James Allen
Even in the common affairs of life, in love, friendship, and marriage, how little security have we when we trust our happiness in the hands of others! — William Hazlitt 1822
The continued propinquity of another human being cramps your style after a time unless that person is somebody you think you love. Then the burden becomes intolerable at once.
— Quentin Crisp
This is not from Love 101, but Cheri Huber wrote a book entitled, Be the Person you Want to Find — the title says it all.
Except for the attributed quotes, all of the following was written by Peter McWilliams:
Who have you always lived with, and whom will you eventually die with? And who will be the only person to accompany you on that ultimate adventure (just think of death as a theme park with a high admission cost). And, who has been there every time you’ve had sex. Yes, from time to time others may have been nearby doing what they could to help, but whatever pleasure you felt was inside yourself, experienced in those inner electrochemical, physiological pleasure places that are entirely your own.
The self-contained, emotionally autonomous, intellectually free individual is the greatest threat to the institutions that want to control us.
Sexual attraction is just energy; if the time is not right to express it sexually, for whatever reason, then the energy can be used to create something else that is productive, satisfying, and fun.
So it is in all relationships — if you take care of your needs and wants, being with others is more enjoyable and productive. In fact, for most people, self-love makes one less selfish.
The last quarter century of my life has been pretty constantly and faithfully devoted to the study of the human race — that is to say, the study of myself, for in my individual person I am the entire human race compacted together. I have found that there is no ingredient of the race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way.
Self service — our lives are probably cluttered with things that “we’d be a lot better off.” Self-service is taking care of them… In being of service to yourself, ask yourself: If I were asked by the person I love most in the world (other than myself) to do this right now, would I do it?
Self-discipline is a powerful tool for creating and maintaining good habits. Good habits let us love ourselves—automatically.
Fortunately, sex lends itself quite well to dividing and conquering desires. Not only can sex be successfully separated from other relationship needs, but it can — with a little effort and honesty — be divided into smaller, eminently more fulfillable, desires itself.
If we took the time to explore our desires and made an honest list of what we are looking for when we say or think we are looking for sex, we would probably discover that some of these desires could be met in other ways… We would also discover that many of these desires — including orgasm — can be met without another person even being around. In fact, some of these desires are better met without the interruptions and intrusions of others.
Masturbation! The amazing availability of it! — James Joyce
The desire to be touched, to experience bodily pleasure, and to have muscular tension released in a way that “hurts so good” is often best met by a professional masseur or masseuse.
Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library: a company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries in a thousand years. The thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we are alone, it is much easier to relate to the great minds and thoughts contained in books, audio tapes, movies, and other medial. It’s also easier to relate to the great ideas and thoughts in our own mind. It’s important to develop an appreciation for ourselves, for the pleasure of our own company.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of solitude is doing what you want when you want to do it, with the absolute freedom (external realities aside) to change what you’re doing at will.
Solitude removes all the “negotiating” we need to do when we’re with others.
They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts. — Sir Philip Sidney
One of the pleasantest things in the world is going on a journey; but I like to go by myself. — William Hazlitt (1822)
A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. — Henry David Thoreau (1854)
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until the other is ready. — Henry David Thoreau
He travels fastest who travels alone. — Rudyard Kipling
Aloneness is inevitable in being human. People cannot accept this. They should be aware of it and use it. It heightens your perceptions. — Edward Albee
Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.
— Thomas Mann
If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company. – Jean Paul Sartre
What one has to do, usually can be done. — Eleanor Roosevelt
I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me. — Emerson
Although keeping agreements is a good technique for building trust with others, the more important reason for keeping agreements is building trust with ourselves.
Committing to a dream is not a one-time occurrence. It must be done daily, hourly, continually. We must choose to commit to our choice, over and over. The test of this commitment is action.
The time to commit is now.
And now. And now. And now. And now…
The illusion that romantic love is real, and all other reality less real, is a powerful one.
…service is not an obligation — it’s a privilege.
The forty-six percent of marriages that do last longer than five years have almost all moved from being primarily romantic endeavors, to incorporating one or more of the other types of relationships.
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. — W.H. Auden
You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension and discipline are taken out of your life. — James G. Bilkey
Some Jung quotes on love:
Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.
In spite of all indignant protestations to the contrary, the fact remains that love (using the word in the wider sense which belongs to it by right and embraces more than sexuality), its problems and its conflicts, is of fundamental importance in human life and, as careful inquiry consistently shows, is of far greater significance than the individual suspects.
It is a favorite neurotic misunderstanding that the right attitude to the world is found by indulgence in sex.
The love problem is part of mankind’s heavy toll of suffering, and nobody should be ashamed of having to pay his tribute.
Stop the Hottie!
Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom — Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring
Lessons for an Entity Incarnating as a Mammal
No Tristans Allowed Beyond this Point — Debunking the Western Myth of Romantic Love
Confessions of a Self Aware Starship
and the other documents in the love, sexuality and eros section of this site.