Impossible Loves and Likely Pain:
The Statistics of Desperate Feelings

What are the chances that the sharp croaking of a slimy toad turns, magically, into the melodious voice of a prince? In fairy tales, the incidence of the phenomenon is certainly significant, but in real life it approaches zero: the impossible event. However, when dealing with love issues, we tend to entertain the inner expectation that a situation, which has already proved to be adverse, will suddenly become miraculously favourable, thanks to our patient dedication.

In Statistics, the probability that an event will occur is given by the ratio between the number of successful tries and the total amount of attempts. So why do we persist in believing that, after many failures, the next trial will be the favourable one? What drives this illogical reasoning? Why, when it comes to feelings, we stop learning from past experiences and, above all, we give up defending ourselves?

Yet, Darwin was clear: only the species that can adapt to the changing environmental conditions will have the coveted evolutionary success. And so, in every area of our lives, we mould ourselves, acquiring knowledge and skills that help us not to persevere in mistakes which would be fatal to our well-being. Still, when it comes to the emotional context, this system, which was beautifully shaped by millennia of evolutionary progress, goes disastrously haywire. Our lucidity, acuity and prudence evaporate. We turn back to be ingenuous, deluded, and - let's face it - even a little idiotic. Don’t blame me for my directness: I have been a national champion in choosing impossible relationships, and certainly not without supplemental, ineluctable faux pas...

It is said that the heart cannot be controlled, but we, as eminent neuroscientists, know well that it is always the brain that governs our behaviour: so, what cognitive distortions hide behind the emotional impasse of tormented love affairs? Well, a major blunder seems to be due to the erroneous, unshakable belief that meritocracy, divine justice and cosmic fairness do exist in the distribution of love’s joys and sorrows. It follows that, after countless episodes of unrelenting heartbreaks, courageous self-sacrifice and loss of dignity, we would have earned our object of desire! What’s more, the latter would have acquired a status of essential reward that, in our naive view, we would have deserved. It’s too bad that, in love, rights and duties do not exactly go hand in hand...

The idea according to which the power of love would be able to heal every wound and fix any problem is a fatal mistake of people feeling unreciprocated love. According to this romantic view, the happy ending will certainly arrive if one appropriately pursues it. We identify ourselves and our love affairs in the heroines and disturbed relationships of nineteenth-century novels or in the pathos of love movies. The person we love so desperately is going to reciprocate us and we will live happily ever after, forever and ever, amen! Oops, here's how our visionary brain is delirious: it mixes the happy ending of fairy tales with the words of prayers, in a tangle of hopeful ranting.

Sad to say, we frequently build relationships based on a condition: the request that our partner would change for us. Anyway, another undeniable truth, that we already know but still amazes us, is that nobody changes to the benefit of another one. People can make small adjustments, some compromises, but they won’t undertake a substantive variation in their nature just to please either reasonable or capricious expectations of the others. Nor, probably, would be right to do so. Thus, let’s stop thinking "I'll change him/her! I’ll save him/her!": we are neither an alchemist or a firefighter, so let’s give up this exaltation of omnipotence.

And here's another inconvenient fact: when the effort to run a relationship is exclusively made by only one of the partners, the love affair is destined to collapse. Continuing to fight bravely (and stupidly), deceiving oneself of being able to love for both (can you hear how crazy it sounds, can’t you?) will only postpone an impact with reality which is statistically predicted, it will prolong agony and will waste valuable time and energy.

There are relationships whose outcome is already certain since the beginning, with no need to proceed by trial and error. Therefore, it is vital for our emotional safety, to be able to distinguish between hope and illusion, perseverance and stubborness, constructive effort and mere self-harm. What do we prefer between a false perfect dream and a real perfectible life?

Marzia VaccaroI Like Italy

Read More:
* Has Passionate Love To Be Tormented? More on The Statistics of Desperate Feelings
* Through a Child’s Eyes
* New Addictions in Today’s Society
* Wonder Women: Please, Relax!
* Dealing with Monday Morning Syndrome
* And We Lived Happy and Envied Ever After
* Modern Society: Bored With Itself
* Precocious Children and Adults Afraid of Ageing: The Expanded Adolescence
* Seize the Day!
* Crisis as an opportunity: The Secret of Inner Happiness
* The Human Right to Frailty
* In the Land of Parasites: How to Survive When You Are Surrounded By Scroungers
* If Not Now, When? Survival Manual for Inveterate Procrastinators – Part 1
* The Reasons Why We Eat More Than We Realize
* Slow Down your Eating!
Add news

Related Posts / Articoli correlati