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February 14th, 2012 at 8:45 am

Mari Ruti on Why We Fall in Love

The Summons of Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we offer a post from earlier this summer:

Mari Ruti, author of The Summons of Love, also writes a blog for Psychology Today called The Juicy Bits: Love, lust, and the luster of life, recently wrote a post exploring the reasons why it is important to fall in love.

For Ruti, love “ushers us to frequencies of human life that we might find difficult to access otherwise,” and allows us a break from the pragmatic preoccupations that dominate our everyday life. Drawing on the ideas of Julia Kristeva and Alain Badiou, Ruti writes that love, “adds a layer of luster to our mundane existence, making us feel empowered and self-connected even as it ‘decenters’ us from our customary concerns.”

In considering the potential for disappointment and disillusion that comes with love or love’s failure, Ruti writes:

The problem, of course, is that we can’t access the depths of love without opening ourselves to its risks – that the price of allowing ourselves to experience love’s mystery is utter vulnerability. This is why it’s easy to refuse love’s summons, to decline its invitation to self-transformation. And those who have already been burned by love may find this invitation even more challenging. This is why I have been arguing that it might help to stop thinking about love’s disenchantments as the antithesis of love and see them, instead, as an essential part of love’s trajectory. It might help to conceive of romantic failures as love’s way of teaching us the kinds of lessons we might never otherwise learn. When it comes to love, our so-called failures are often (not always, but often) merely new opportunities for growth, new opportunities for singularizing our character. Those who understand this are more likely to welcome love’s summons because they know that the happily-ever-after is only one aspect of love – that to love is, among other things, to accept the possibility of disappointment.

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