Home (mobile)

Valentine’s Day is now over for another year, and the greetings cards will probably have been taken off the mantelpiece and the flowers which are not looking so good put into the bin.  The shops are emptied of red balloons and have filled up with other goods for events to come over the next couple of months.  So where does that leave ‘love’?

I attended a family wedding earlier this month here in the U.K., which took the form of a civil ceremony, not a church wedding.  As I listened to the registrar outlining the 'contract' of marriage, one part of the vow the bride and groom made to each other struck me – it was the part about friendship.  One after the other, they promised to work at a special kind of friendship, that would endure through the difficult times, through ill health and misfortune, and when the beauty of youth has faded.  While the word ‘love’ was mentioned, there was also a good deal about the practicalities of living out that love in our often testing world.

An Indian acquaintance once told me, during a discussion we were having about the controversial subject of arranged marriage, that in his culture marriage was very much about friendship.  Two married people are best friends, to the exclusion of others, and I thought at the time that that sounded like potentially a much firmer foundation than the ‘love’ we are invited to expect in the West.  Whether it is a feeling, or a state, I would imagine that two people can fall out of ‘love’ quite easily, whereas to fall out of friendship may be harder, or may even seem like a silly concept when considering the ups and down of our social relationships.

The dreamy-eyed romance that is often promised in Hollywood films and in wedding magazines may be very appealing, but I wonder whether it is truly enduring or permanent?  Is the perception that it should be what leads some people to seek out extra-marital affairs?  Are they disappointed that the ‘love’ that they wanted has not turned out like it was supposed to?  Do some people think that the next click of the computer mouse, or the next swipe of a profile picture on a dating app will bring that elusive and special quality that they are missing?

I would not judge someone one way or another is they were to seek intimacy outside of their marriage or long-term relationship, and indeed there are many websites which promise to help people pursue their happiness secretly.  I can’t help but wonder, however, if in our fast-paced and consumer driven society we are led to believe that our reality should be more sparkling than what we experience in our day-to-day lives.  Would you give up on your best friend if things were rocky?  Would it be any different with your spouse?

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

I Do?  Love, Friendship and Infidelity

I Do?  Love, Friendship and Infidelity | Ashwood Therapy Wellbeing Blog