Loving or Living? Which is More Important in Long Term Relationships?

Many songs, books, films and plays are about love.  Our society values the importance of ‘love’ in a relationship. You must love him/her.  But maybe ‘living’ with someone is more important than ‘loving’, in sustaining a relationship.  If ‘living and loving aren’t compatible, which should you choose?The Importance of ‘Loving’

In our society ‘love’ is everywhere.  We love our partners, our family, our friends, our experiences, our objects, sometimes even our organisations.  But the most important of all our ‘loves’ is physical and sensual love for a partner.  It’s understood that, without sustaining that love, the relationship may fade away.  The enjoyment fades, boredom sets in, an affair may occur (ironically to rekindle ‘love’) the relationship may end or just be endured.  So maintaining ‘love’ is critical to protecting and sustaining the relationship.  Everyone knows and understands that.

Or do they?

The Importance of ‘Living’

Falling ‘in love’ is critical to starting a relationship.  That tumultuous, physical, sensual, longing, loving leads to a desire to want to live together.  But loving someone may not mean that living with them is easy, or even possible!  Lovin’ ain’t livin’!

So how important is living, for loving?  Living with someone can be easy or difficult.  Personal habits (eg bathroom, kitchen, hygiene), characteristics(eg morning or evening preferences, planning or living for the moment, organised or chaotic) and values (rational or emotional, spender or saver) are just some of the many aspects of ‘living’ with someone that have little to do with ‘loving’.

If living aspects are not aligned, there’s likely to be pressure on the loving that brought the couple together.  Conversely, just because you are well aligned in living habits says nothing about your loving desires!

Loving or Living?  Which is More Important?

We all hope we can live with our lover.  But we don’t necessarily hope that we can love a liver.

Love brings us together in the first place.  Then the living issues begin.  How much non-alignment can we take before the living overcomes the loving? Or – radical thought – would we be better off living alone or with someone else and leaving the loving to be enjoyed for loving alone?  In these days of Tinder, fuck buddies, living alone and single parent families, its no longer clear that we need to live with our lover.   We want love, we want a lover, but we have to live.

Perhaps the best way is to hold on to the best of lovers and, if living with them is difficult, seek different, separate living arrangements so we can live and still love.  Love and let live.

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