A Study in Romance, part two

I wish not this ‘second part’ to be very long because the point which I now expound upon is itself not very long. It is simply this (from part one):

“…if mystery and excitement are at the very least high points in a fluctuating heart, they are at the most components of love sustained for a period of time, though not indefinitely.”

Here, I would say my focus is still on the timeline that can be tagged onto love, leading one to ask, where romance belongs. That is thus equivalent as asking where feelings of mystery and excitement belong (the definition of romance was given in part one). 

What then? Remembering two things, though: first, excitement can be expressed towards the present and the future; mystery can be computed in the ‘what’ sense and the ‘how’ sense. This gives some dimension to the placement of romance in the Grand Scheme of Relationships.

First, mystery: I think this is easier. What and how. The former has a greater extent of uncertainty and the latter a greater extent of curiosity. The former involves more unknown compared to the latter. I would say the degree of mystery obtained from the former dissipates at a rather exponential rate as time progresses from the inception of a relationship to the end (either the intentional cessation of the relationship or the unforeseen cessation of life). As more events occur, the mystery of what can happens becomes ‘what happened’, and even though we could direct our mystery at every single event in the future pertaining to the relationship, the tendency is to focus on more significant milestones. Either less stirring mysteries do not occur to us as worth time wondering about, or excitement results in the larger mysteries consuming the smaller ones in our mind. Such as the proposal or a child consuming the prospect of having a candlelit dinner. Thus as we experience more, our mysteries deplete rapidly. As for the latter, they dissipate less quickly because ‘how’ is a more prevalent question than ‘why’ over the course of time. At the start with a lot of unexperienced future ahead, ‘what’ dominates our thoughts of those ‘big events’ of our hopes and dreams. The ‘how’ mystery is projected less far ahead, but more towards less major, more certain and impending events.

Secondly, excitement. As with mystery, excitement directed towards events more prominent in nature and further away in the future very rapidly is lost on the parties, while excitement about something happening, something about to happen, or something that has just happened is what we know as the ecstasy of living in this moment. So it follows the same general downward trend, but because excitement itself is generally closer to the present than a sense of mystery, so it endures and is much more obvious further down the timeline, where mystery is way less important.

This ought to tell us that romance fades as the mystery of the relationship, the person, the future are each uncovered with the passing of time. As a result the excitement tied to the mystery also disappears. What is then crucial to sustain romance is excitement about less prominent, more imminent events. That is what I concur to be the draw of life; the vigor that keeps us from calling a day mundane, or a night wasted.

Returning to the second point: mystery (and thus excitement) can be spontaneously or even gradually created on a very wishful and fantastical basis. It is erroneous to mistake imagination for mystery, as the former often skims the surface of reality without taking root. That is where we find a very wild, forward-looking, perhaps pretentious and short-term romance evoked. This is where we also see Venn diagrams overlap with ‘infatuation’ – which is 99% fantasy. Romance can incorrectly cross the line if it was in the first place built like a castle in the air; or, if it sustains itself on fantasy of the future. This is romance at its weakest and most indefensible.

At this point, before continuing to what romance as a force to be reckoned is, I thought it would be terrible to substantiate my ‘study’ on no observation but my mere thinking. I would like to think my thinking is part deliberate observation and part result of much influence from my observations. Still: I cannot say the ‘observations’ I here list are specific ones, like some scientific study. Since it is deliberate but not intentionally guided, most of the applications arise from trends. 

They are not new, but I bring them up because they do serve my definition of ‘romance’ in connection with ‘dating’. Couples obsess over physical contact; they are very immersed in the moment; they are immersed in each other; they often look so cheery; they are inseparable. I know it’s common sense. Still. Is this true love, we ask ourselves? No, in the light of the definition of romance, no. Furthermore, by exploring the function of mystery and excitement, can we say for sure that a relationship will last with romance alone? No, but last for a short time it might. Till the elements upholding this ‘feeling of mystery and excitement’ are weary and do not shimmer as brightly as before. They still can and often do, but with the same glory as before? Difficult.

Still, to conclude, I ask: How would we look like, then, with this romance? The key, then, is how pertinent the mundane is as a source of mystery and excitement. That feeling can be derived from our attitude to (something) tells us the mundane means different to different people. If a relationship is to consist of mostly this, where do we find romance? In the mundane, and it must be searched for, rather than simply found; it is not as easy as before, because we do not find it prominent in our deepest dreams and plans for the future. Yes! Romance can stay if you ask it to – if you both ask it to.  



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