Robert Williams

Lessons on Love

7 December 2023

Lessons that life has taught me about love:

Don't confuse love with the desire for recognition. I often crave attention and recognition, and when someone I date gives that to me I become dependent on her. It's possible that the desire for recognition is my biggest motivation to date in the first place. It leads me to try to be perfect for another person, and also to worry that she'll like someone else better. It's likely the leading cause of my anxiety in relationships. If I can do as Adler recommends and deny the desire for recognition, I can build relationships on something other than dependence.

Love a person for who she is, not for who you want her to be. I build up ideal attributes in my mind for a partner. They're probably inconsistent and contradictory--I've never written them down to find out. And I measure a woman against those ideals. That's horrible. It leads to judgement and disappointment. I should love others for their strengths--for what they want to be loved.

Love doesn't fall into your lap. At least it hasn't so far. If you wait for good things to come to you, you'll be waiting until you die. But if you exert effort to improve your situation, then you'll improve things surprisingly quickly.

Don't marry someone because you want to get married: you'll want to get married because of someone you love. I usually don't want to marry from any intrinsic motivation; unless I spend time with someone whom I love. Then marriage seems appealing. Don't get married for an extrinsic motivation, such as social standing or sex. It's not possibly worth it.

Change yourself first. I'm annoying in a lot of ways. I don't expect someone to like the worst parts about me. I'd like to change to be more positive, happy, hygenic, tolerant, empathetic, self-aware, caring, selfless, talented, interesting, fit, intellectual, musical, easy-going, fun, adventurous, fearless, and calm. If you want to be with other people, be the type of person that other people want to be with.