Insiders in Hollywood know that the off-screen go-to good guy, even during writer or actor strikes, is Tom Hanks. So what does this have to do with True Love? Read on, cynical hearts, because there’s a relationship mechanic named Kim Saeed who has graciously agreed to do a rundown on kismet.
Meanwhile, rifling through a few dictionary definitions is useful because it shows the range of parameters, and indicates that even linguistic experts can not agree on one definition.
YourDictionary online describes it this way: “True love is a strong and lasting affection between spouses or lovers who are in a happy, passionate and fulfilling relationship. An example of true love is the emotion shared between a couple who has been married for 40 years and who are still passionate about each other and care deeply for each other.”
Not sure where they came up with the 40-year benchmark, perhaps it’s the Moses in the desert yardstick?
Ironically, Cambridge Dictionary has a prompt for “True Crime” as the next search option.
William Goldman, who wrote so eloquently about the heart’s conundrum in his classic movie “The Princess Bride” (Robin Wright, Cary Elwes), was himself less of a true believer in real life. Famously, he once said: “true love is the best thing in the world, besides cough drops.”
Even if you’re in or you’re out on the subject, at least you’ll know what to look for and how to handle it should True Love find you anytime soon.
Well here goes…
Quendrith Johnson: How does anyone keep a love life lit up in cynical times?
Kim Saeed: The days of being enmeshed with another person 24/7 are over.
There’s no mystery or excitement in that and it can lead to boredom and indifference. If someone wants to be with their partner all hours of the day, this could be a sign of an insecure attachment style which can lead to problems later.
It’s also a sign that someone is jealous and controlling.
If someone is trying to isolate you from your friends and family, it’s one of the top red flags of emotional manipulation. Run fast in the opposite direction.
But, if you’re in a cynical phase in your relationship and you don’t detect signs of dysfunction, here’s what to do: don’t chase, beg, or cling. Don’t issue ultimatums. This is a sure way to create distance, resentment, and unwanted pressure.
Sure, there may be a need for communication. Relationships die a slow death without it, but instead of forcing things, take a breather and make some space where both people can be themselves. This is the fastest way to decompress, while creating magic and mystery at the same time.
However, if one party is always going dark, disappearing without explanation, and not available by cell phone for days, this is another sign of dysfunction. If this is a pattern in your relationship, it’s a sign of bad things to come.
Quendrith Johnson: Is every man the same when it comes to his woman?
Kim Saeed: Men can be fickle creatures.
They generally don’t approach relationships the same way women do. A man might be in a relationship with a gal where there’s lots of chemistry and attraction, but she may not be long-term girlfriend material for him or someone he’d take home to meet the parents.
Men obviously enjoy being physically attracted to a woman, but more than physical attraction, most men need emotional attraction.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, jumping into bed on the first date might not be the right move. Men typically want someone who’s selective, and if he gets the feeling that a woman jumps into bed with everyone on the first date, he might keep her around a while, but he’ll still be on the prowl for someone more elusive.
Unless a man is manipulative or narcissistic, they want the thrill of the chase. Narcissists, manipulators, and players, however, love moving fast to get their hooks into others.
Quendrith Johnson: What should women know to put the “man” in manage?
Kim Saeed: The era of the submissive, quiet, martyr-type woman is coming to an end.
Generally, the only men who still want that in a mate are either uber-religious or manipulative.
Women need to show up as high value, not only for others, but for themselves, too.
What this means is to stop turning the other cheek all the time and accepting unacceptable behaviors.
For example, the man who constantly shows up late and devalues your time. Or, maybe they’re on their phone the whole evening while you’re out to dinner. They need to know there will be consequences if this behavior continues.
There’s no need to go off the rails about it, but do get the point across in a non-confrontational way. If the unwanted behaviors continue, be willing to walk away and mean it. We are not obligated to keep space in our lives for people who are unthoughtful or entitled. Allowing men, or anyone else, to continue overstepping boundaries is a recipe for an unhappy life.
Quendrith Johnson: When your relationship is a car/plane/train wreck, how to exit the vehicle safely?
Kim Saeed: This really depends on the individual you’re in relationship with.
Normal people will generally be understanding if you want to end your relationship for whatever reason. They may be hurt or disappointed, but they will respect your wishes.
Narcissists and manipulators, however, usually cause great chaos.
They will typically get very angry, highly insulted, and possibly violent.
In this case, you will need to use extra measures. A restraining order might even be required. If you suspect your partner falls into this category, do not try to communicate with them in your usual manner. In this case, you’ll want to keep your plans to leave to yourself and exit the relationship as quietly as possible. If chaos ensues, get the police involved, if necessary.
If you share children, however, you’ll need to contact an attorney who’s familiar with the laws of your state to help you.
Quendrith Johnson: What’s the best love story you’ve ever heard – from real life, the movies, or your own invention?
Kim Saeed: I love a good love story as much as the next person.
One of my favorites of all time is the movie, “The Lover” with Jane March and Tony Ka Fai Leung. It’s the age-old story of forbidden, yet inescapable romance. When I first watched it in my early 20’s, I was completely smitten with both of the main characters. I watched it over and over, even buying the VHS. But, as I grew older and moved around, I lost it.
My next favorite is “Nights in Rodanthe” starring Diane Lane.
It truly plays into the ultimate fantasy of what true love could be like.
I won’t give away any details for those who haven’t seen it but suffice it to say that I loved the movie so much, I vacationed next to the famous Inn at Rodanthe in the Outer Banks.
In fact, I was supposed to stay there last year, but they put in on the market to sell, so I had to move to a different rental.
Quendrith Johnson: Why do we lose our own identity in most love stories?
Kim Saeed: I believe we lose our identities in most love stories because we want real life to be like what we see on the silver screen (or read in a novel).
Most of us want someone to truly love and accept us for who we are, without any of the disappointment that goes into most relationships. We want a companion, a lover, a friend. Someone who sees the real ‘us’ and remains devoted and love-struck.
And during those few hours of watching a movie or reading a novel, that’s what we get to experience because the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and something we imagine. We truly become part of the story.
Quendrith Johnson: How come Summer Love is a thing?
Kim Saeed: I think most of us have experienced ‘Summer Love’ at some point in our lives. But, what really makes it so memorable is the neuroscience of it.
Summer love is exciting, a temporary escape from routines. You go off to a different land, or just a faraway beach, and you see someone who seems like everything you’ve ever fantasized about.
Most love starts with a tone of intrusive thinking.
We replay the sweet compliments or funny jokes. We dream about the other person, spend our time fantasizing about what they are wearing, obsess over what plans they may have tonight.
We don’t know the other person well enough, so we spend a lot of time trying to fill in those mysterious gaps.
The neuroscience behind falling in love shows that we experience all those teenage physical symptoms. Sweaty palms, stammering speech, increased heart rate, restless nights. That’s because the brain releases a surge of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine during the initial stages of attraction.
However, this phase only lasts about three months before things begin to stabilize and we start seeing the other person in a more realistic view. It’s about that time that we have to go back to our normal routines, so Summer Love often makes the object of our desire seem like ‘the one that got away’, when in reality, they’re just a normal person like everyone else.
Quendrith Johnson: What’s the best public figure example of true love right now?
Kim Saeed: Wow, that one is tough to answer because social media, or the media in general, isn’t the best gauge for what peoples’ lives are really like.
However, if I ignore that tidbit, I’d say perhaps the best public figure example of true love right now, in my opinion, is Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks.
They’ve been together about 31 years and you never hear of any real scandals or faux pas between the two. They seem to really enjoy one another’s’ company, supporting that true love does exist.
Quendrith Johnson: Is True Love ever true, or is love all about reception at its core, the illusion of two being one?
Kim Saeed: While I believe it’s possible that two people can be deeply bonded and share a true affinity for one another, I don’t think it’s feasible or even healthy for two people to “be one.”
The concept of ‘two being one’ has caused a lot of heartache for the human race.
Because it implies that we should give up our individuality, which is never a good idea.
Does it exist?
Maybe, probably… but it’s extremely rare that two can ‘be one’ and maintain the relationship in a healthy manner.
Beyond that, we are entering a new paradigm as it relates to relationships.
Yes, true love exists, but it’s not nearly as common as people like to think it is.
Love doesn’t always equal compatibility, nor does it mean that people are meant to stay together for a lifetime.
I believe people can have more than one true love in their lifetime.
Since we are always growing and evolving as human beings, the person we are in love with in our 20’s probably won’t be a good match for us in our 40’s.
Probably the best time for a true, authentic, fulfilling relationship is when we’ve reached the autumn of our lives, and we have the opportunity to explore the meaning of true love.
There’s no more need for fronting; the things that used to embarrass us are no longer an issue, and we know more about the things that really matter as opposed to the superficial things we were obsessed with in our younger years.
As far as I’m concerned, there are few things as sweet as an adorable older couple.
The ones whose eyes light up when they see the object of their affection, who still hold hands, who write each other love notes as opposed to sending meaningless emojis over a cell phone. Who are determined to make the last of their years the best of their years.
That’s true love. I hope we all get to experience that.
Thanks to the brilliant Kim Saeed of KimSaeed.com for the nine ways to love and live better. She has moved so many hearts with her wise expertise, and books, including “Survivor Secrets” out recently on Amazon.
Now, go find your own Summer Love, and let us know how it goes this Fall.
[Rita Wilson has a new album out usually, discover her music (besides the video above) at RitaWilson.com.]
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