| Relationships are hard to seize. They seem to pursue some kind of crazy agenda. This post is to try to gain some insight into the frequently complicated relation between sentiments, feelings, and emotions on the one hand and reason, logic, and mind on the other.
| In our Western societies, it is an inherent part of morales to consider relationships merely based on emotions. I feel drawn towards a person, therefore I love them and want to enter into a relationship with them. Hollywood, Disney, books, fairy tales, and many other parts of our culture circle around that understanding of the foundation and purpose of relationships. We think that emotions are, firstly, the basis for a good relationship. Secondly, we believe that meeting our emotional needs merely forms the purpose of a relationship.
| Plato once wrote that the best kind of love is one which is merely grounded on intellectual completion. We call it “Platonic love”. It does not involve any form of emotional desire or sentimental boundaries. It is only based on intellectual exchange. Nowadays, we would not even consider such kind of relationship a genuine one. For many, it would rather be some kind of friendship as we are focused on our emotional needs.
| But how often is it the case that people form a couple together merely pursuing their emotional needs but ending up being unhappy, leading displeasing relationships? I guess many couples actually face issues at some point in their relationship where they find themselves unable to keep up the relationship. They realise that their partnership does not meet all of their needs, they have no exchange of thought on whatsoever.
| On the other hand, it seems very alien to us having a relationship merely based on intellectual exchange. We all think of Sheldon’s mum in The Big Bang Theory. She does not seem to be happy at all, although she used to have what Plato would have labelled the best possible form of relationships.
| I think if someone meets someone they feel emotionally drawn towards to, they should consider not only the emotional needs they have. Each of us has emotional needs based on our individual upbringing, socialisation, and background. One might desire a relationship as depicted in Disney movies, whereas others would love to have one without any kind of sentimental notions. Some feel more drawn towards people they can take care of, others might feel the need to be taken care of. We should not ignore these emotional needs as they tell as something crucial and essential about ourselves.
| In the same way we pay attention to our emotional needs, we should also try to pay attention to our intellectual needs since they should be met as well. I assume everyone would like to engage in conversations on, as I’d like to label them, ‘intellectual’ matters – based on their personal upbringing. Some people might love to converse on issues such as science, language, history, or literature on a very high level. Others might need to only talk about less intellectual topics such as everyday science, local events, or the weather. One should consider if the possible future partner is on the same intellectual level. I think it can be a tough burden to be born if the two partners have too distinct interests, too far distanced levels of education and intellect. I am not saying that it is barely impossible to lead a relationship if one is an academic person whereas the other partner is a blue-collar worker. One never knows if the academic person is some kind of blinkered specialist and less intellectual than the average person when it comes to mattes which are not strictly related to one’s own field of study. And one also never knows if a blue-collar labourer is highly curious on biology and evolution but simply prefers working with their hands rather their mind.
| But what do I refer to s ‘intellectual level’? Some might think I am talking about education, ‘cleverness’, or alike. But that’s not what I am referring to, not at all. When talking of intellectual needs, I mean that each of us apparently has some interest which triggers their brain to work, causes them to talk, makes them engage in any form of exchange. I’m not saying that people with an academic background should only look out for people with a similar background. Rather, they should try to find a person who shares some interests which make their brain and the brain of themselves ‘work’. Relationships are based on exchange and communication. If you have nothing to talk about, it probably might not be right one. Or you maybe have not found the common interest yet.
| To find the best partner, one should get rid of prejudices which might hinder one from getting to know people. Sometimes people appear dumb at first sight but are actually smart, whereas others might be rough when meeting in public but turn into angels as soon as one sees them privately. You never know. It is, therefore, essential to investigate a character wholly of a person one feels emotionally or intellectually drawn towards to.
|Does he meet my emotional needs? Do I meet hers? Does she know how to have a conversation on issues I can find curious? Do I meet her intellectual needs? Do we get on well with one another – emotionally and intellectually?
| Emotions, as expressions of one’s heart and innermost being, play an important role in finding and choosing a partner and founding a relationship. One’s mind, as part of our rational being and outcome of our individual development, essentially show what we are capable of. They are two sides of the same coin.
|*This article is part of the series Relationships and other tragicomedies – What does a good partner need to have to become one’s significant other?