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Wanda Behrens-Horrell

Wanda Behrens-Horrell L.C.S.W., N.C.P

Relationships

To Love or To Be Loved?

To Love or Be Loved?

This is Part 2 of a three-part series on self identity and love.

But what about dating and love? Leah brings up several interesting questions: Is it possible to love more than one person during your lifetime? How do you decide whom to marry? Does one person usually love the other more?

These are questions we all struggle with when making our own relational decisions. Leah openly admits that she does not feel the same passion towards her second husband as she did towards her first husband. And she wonders if she would have met the "second love" of her life if she had waited. It is clear, though, that Leah is the love of her second husband's life. And I don't know if Leah's first marriage was equal on that front.

But it presents an interesting relational question. Is it better to marry a person who loves you more than you love them? Is it better to be adored than to be adored? Can you have both? Does your first love determine whom you will love in the future?

Maybe it seems safer to have someone love you more then you love them. I believe one of the reasons Leah chose her second husband is because of that fact. Eleven years later, Leah has told me that the scales are still the same and she does not regret marrying her second husband.

Our parameters for choosing a mate may change as we age. With maturity we may seek more stability and compatibility rather then physical attraction and passion. But even though maturity and our intellect may tell us one thing, our brain may be still wired to seek out a person similar to our first love. Leah wrote about meeting a man who reminded her of her first husband. When he drops her off, she writes, "I want to cry or laugh or shout or anything; I don't know what to do first. I am alive again, I am young and attractive."

This man reminds her so much of her late husband. You can feel her brain circuitry being activated to the feelings and memories of her first love. She is young again! The next morning, Leah received a message: "I spoke to my mentor and he said we should not continue dating...This is difficult to write since we both enjoyed each other so much."

Leah is back to square one in her search but a lesson is learned. A woman's first love is an emotionally powerful experience that becomes deeply embedded in her brain. The feelings of familarity are so powerful that they can determine whom we choose to be with in the future. But familiarity does not always signal the right choice.

Who we choose to be with is determined by so many factors, but we are still left with the original question: Is it better to choose someone who loves you more than you love them? Or it better to love someone more than you feel loves you?

My guess is that this is determined by your first love experience. Which would you prefer? To be loved more or to love more?

Come by for the third blog in this series, as we discuss how much you would pay for love.

©2010 Wanda Behrens Horrell, All Rights Reserved

www.wandabehrenshorrell.com

wjb60@columbia.edu

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