Modern Love tackles what it means to stay and to persist

img_1636Ever read Modern Love in the NY Times? Oh, no reason.

It’s just that I am, shall we say, in love with Modern Love.

I have what I’ve sometimes termed an unhealthy obsession with hearts, love, heartbreak, troubled times, relationships and sexuality. Except truth be told: I don’t actually think it’s unhealthy. Calling it “unhealthy” is just a superficial way of letting the naysayers think they’ve won and that, yes, I realize it’s a bit much.

Inside, I think it’s not only okay to dig deep into these stirrings of the heart and sexuality, but entirely useful: don’t people’s feelings of love, loss, acceptance and desire sometimes rule people’s lives? Should we not know more about these things?

Alas, there are many ways to “know” a topic. By day, I study love and sex. In an everyday way, I live it. And when I’m not, I’m trying to learn how other people experience love, sex, loss, relationships and so on. Hence, my feeling drawn to the NY Times’ Modern Love column which features a variety of writers on the topic of love.

Long intro aside, this week’s column – by writer Laura Munson – is about staying even in the midst of a long time husband saying he wants to go. Often people think that it’s leaving that’s the bigger risk – but sometimes, in spite of it all, the risk of staying and weathering the storm is a hard choice too. If you take the time to read it, I’d be curious as to your thoughts.

[Modern Love, NY Times]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • B

    An interesting article. I have to say I agree with the author. Sometimes the tougher challenge is to weather the storm. Sometimes it feels like we as a society have become too concerned with instant gratification. Letting a partner work through their problems, giving them space is the right answer. It’s nice to think we can solve our partner’s problems, but how often does that help either person to grow? The right decisions are rarely the easy ones. If you spend twenty years building something, will you let one argument or a bumpy several months destroy it? Kudos to the author for making the tough choices and seeing it pay off.

  • B

    An interesting article. I have to say I agree with the author. Sometimes the tougher challenge is to weather the storm. Sometimes it feels like we as a society have become too concerned with instant gratification. Letting a partner work through their problems, giving them space is the right answer. It’s nice to think we can solve our partner’s problems, but how often does that help either person to grow? The right decisions are rarely the easy ones. If you spend twenty years building something, will you let one argument or a bumpy several months destroy it? Kudos to the author for making the tough choices and seeing it pay off.

  • http://www.ramahughes.com/ rama

    i am surprised and happy to read a post like this. i absolutely admire the author. her philosophy of love matches mine very closely. my love for my wife doesn’t depend on her love for me. i know that feelings change over time but love is a decision as much as a feeling and the decision to love her husband -especially when it didn’t feel good- is what saved her marriage. and probably improved it too. i don’t know if i would have been able to weather the storm as well as she did but i’ll keep her and her husband in mind if christine and i even face a similar challenge.

  • http://www.ramahughes.com rama

    i am surprised and happy to read a post like this. i absolutely admire the author. her philosophy of love matches mine very closely. my love for my wife doesn’t depend on her love for me. i know that feelings change over time but love is a decision as much as a feeling and the decision to love her husband -especially when it didn’t feel good- is what saved her marriage. and probably improved it too. i don’t know if i would have been able to weather the storm as well as she did but i’ll keep her and her husband in mind if christine and i even face a similar challenge.

  • heather

    I too am in love with Modern Love, I always enjoys the columns. This one last week left me with mixed feelings. I am quite sure that I would not be able to do what the author did, maybe I’ll feel different after I have kids. I’m very glad that it worked out for her though. It could have very easily sunk into a very bad situation for everyone involved though. What if he was serious about not loving her? Hard choices indeed.

  • heather

    I too am in love with Modern Love, I always enjoys the columns. This one last week left me with mixed feelings. I am quite sure that I would not be able to do what the author did, maybe I’ll feel different after I have kids. I’m very glad that it worked out for her though. It could have very easily sunk into a very bad situation for everyone involved though. What if he was serious about not loving her? Hard choices indeed.

  • Debby

    Thanks, everyone, for chiming in.

    Yes, this was an interesting one indeed. On one hand, some partnerships are not meant to last and sometimes when a person says “I’m ready to leave”, they mean it. Then again, I suppose for those people, a response like “I’m not buying it” wouldn’t have done all that much. But it did in this case.

    Like Rama, I’ve often taken on a perspective of love that means it’s not dependent on another person’s love. Much of my love is tied up in the way that I love, whether or not a person returns it the way that I may hope. I have always been very happy to exist in my experience of expressing love, and maybe that is a highly individual thing.

    Sometimes we react too quickly to pain, hurt or rejection. Someone says something to us and we react in ways that ruin our perception of them or of the relationship, when often it’s a misunderstandig. Or a sign that we need to change our perception or challenge our own meaning of what it is to love and be loved by another person, without folding one’s cards too abruptly.

    There are no easy answers here, just hard questions. And I like them in spite or maybe because of that.

  • Debby

    Thanks, everyone, for chiming in.

    Yes, this was an interesting one indeed. On one hand, some partnerships are not meant to last and sometimes when a person says “I’m ready to leave”, they mean it. Then again, I suppose for those people, a response like “I’m not buying it” wouldn’t have done all that much. But it did in this case.

    Like Rama, I’ve often taken on a perspective of love that means it’s not dependent on another person’s love. Much of my love is tied up in the way that I love, whether or not a person returns it the way that I may hope. I have always been very happy to exist in my experience of expressing love, and maybe that is a highly individual thing.

    Sometimes we react too quickly to pain, hurt or rejection. Someone says something to us and we react in ways that ruin our perception of them or of the relationship, when often it’s a misunderstandig. Or a sign that we need to change our perception or challenge our own meaning of what it is to love and be loved by another person, without folding one’s cards too abruptly.

    There are no easy answers here, just hard questions. And I like them in spite or maybe because of that.