People don’t write sonnets about being compatible, or novels about shared life goals and stimulating conversation. The great loves are the crazy ones.
I heard this dialogue on “Gossip Girl” back when I was in college. Judge me all you want, that show is an absolute guilty pleasure, with a gorgeous looking cast, fascinating clothes, and all that is good and unholy about the Upper East Side! XOXO 😉
Anyway, that’s not the point. The dialogue. Doesn’t it sound lovely? It makes you think, really makes you think that how all the great love stories we’ve grown up hearing about are always complicated, and that’s where their beauty lies. Romeo and Juliet. Raj and Simran. Ross and Rachel. The list is endless, really.
Why? Because, true, relationships with compatibility and great communication rarely make great stories. Everyone loved the will-they-won’t-they of Ross and Rachel. But there are so few who recognize the actual star couple of the show – Chandler and Monica!
They grew. GREW! Both of them brought out the best in each other, without ever disrespecting or demeaning the other. They were practical in their approach towards life, and by extension, towards the relationships they shared not just with each other, but also with the rest of the friends. So they could handle whatever life threw at them. That’s the couple to aspire for.
It isn’t even an isolated example. We can recall countless examples from our own lives wherein we have accepted absolute madness in the name of love. You may or may not have read the quote before today, but you can definitely identify the emotion behind it.
That’s the term. Gotta hand it to the French for creating a word to capture this feeling, this emotion, this malignant phenomena.
What haven’t we endured in the name of amour fou? People stick around in unhealthy marriages, toxic relationships, and even parasitic friendships in the name of love.
Take Romeo and Juliet, for example. I used to find that story so fascinating. It was one for the ages. But is it, really? They barely knew each other. Romeo was on a rebound mission when he met Juliet, who, let’s be honest, he only fell for because she was the proverbial forbidden fruit. And Juliet was a child. She got swept up in the idea of love, so much so that she married the “love of her life” in secret AFTER he had killed her brother just recently! Isn’t that what dreams are made of?
All this, and yet we find the story endearing. Because we overlook everything in the name of love. “Oh that’s so romantic!”, we exclaim, not realizing we are justifying and normalizing problematic behavior. Isn’t that our issue with Bollywood these days, when we scrutinize the popular movies from the 90s using a 2020 lens? That’s a tad bit unfair because firstly, you cannot judge things in retrospect like that without taking into consideration the actual time period of the event, and secondly, because we are assigning blame to something or someone else without holding ourselves accountable for what we accept in our daily lives.
That’s the greatest myth about love, I believe. We expect it to be this wildfire that destroys entire forests with its insatiable passion, when in reality, it is more like the tiny flame of a candle that brings you warmth and creates enough light around to guide you through a dark path.
But we overlook the light and seek the blazing fire, not realizing that a fire is only helpful to us if it can be contained. So we keep looking for amour fou, and in the process, keep losing bits and pieces of ourselves, becoming a shadow of our former personas, and accept it all with sunken eyes and a bright, wide smile – all in the name of love!
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