Contemplations on romantic love…with plenty of ellipses…
I have been watching the tv show “Cheers” for a stint. Haven’t seen this show since I was a teenager when it aired in real time. I want to give kudos to the writing and I see also how watching this show is like watching theater, especially in the scenes between Sam and Diane.
Sam and Diane play classic star-crossed lovers who are complete opposites. Sam is earthy, grounded, simple minded, pleasure seeking, and a conceited player with women. Diane lives in her head and is intellectual, romantic, deep, complicated, and moral.
Cupid shoots his arrow and they cannot help it. Sam and Diane are in love with one another. This is how falling in love goes, it is a mysterious experience that happens to us out of the realm of control.
Sam and Diane’s relationship, whether romantic or trying to just be friends, always winds up returning to romantic love but it’s always fraught with conflict…not so much due to being opposites but due to how they treat one another.
Who we fall in love with is out of our hands. You love who you love and you love them for as long as you love them.
Knowing real love from some form of attachment wound projection happens once you have formed a bond and made it past the initial stage of any form of relating. Once you get to know somebody the projections fall and you see one another for who you actually are…and this is when love really begins.
You see this happen with Sam and Diane quickly as television goes. They realize each other’s true nature and they drive each other nuts on a constant basis with their opposite ways of expressing love from these opposite natures. Yet they always come together sexually.
It may not always be the sexual bond that is the glue as with Sam and Diane. It might be the emotional, the spiritual, even the mental where romance expresses. Romantic love is a feeling radiating deep down beneath the constant shifting and changing of the emotions moving like weather through the body.
Love is a constant even if you are able to avoid or detach from it. You cannot escape love. Love can seize in one instant or can grow over time. Love chooses how it moves, not us.
When relationship conflict rises up between two people in love it is not due to a lack of love but usually due to the psyche’s state. Sam and Diane did not handle conflict well due to not treating each other well in their opposite natures but you also see why in their similarities…
Both Sam and Diane are competitive, stubborn, and hot headed and so they both tend toward arguing, holding their point and not seeing the other’s, and both want to be right.
This is a major cause of continual conflict for many. If you cannot come out of your perception to see the other’s as valid, you won’t turn conflict into intimacy or harmony.
If you cannot find some kindness and compassion for the other person’s way, you are doomed to fail. Diane always expects Sam to be romantic and moral and deep like herself. Diane lacks having kindness and compassion for Sam’s blind spots and for his nature too at times.
Sam always hopes for Diane to accept him as he is but he also desires to be a better person and in a way, needs her to push him to be a better version of himself. This is another aspect of relationship conflict. Sam relies on Diane to help him grow and as a result, pushes her away by being nonchalant when he feels too scared to level up.
It’s natural for lovers to need each other to grow, feel secure, feel validated…this interdependency only goes wrong if the other holds too much of what we need to hold for ourselves. Maybe Sam needed Diane to hold too much of his own integrity…
Diane may have integrity but she cannot see Sam with enough kindness and respect when he acts like a buffoon. She does not trust Sam. Sam feels belittled by her and maybe not good enough for Diane. He makes Diane hold all of his integrity and cannot see that perhaps he is not good enough for himself.
Diane makes Sam hold all of her security so she can avoid her own deep rooted insecurities. Her lack of trust is rooted in her lack of trust in herself.
This is what we do in romance. We make the other person the bad guy instead of looking within and facing our own struggles and insecurities. Becoming vulnerable to our inner stuff allows us to move through relationship conflict without destroying the entire container. It’s hard….
Sam and Diane both hold their own perspectives like flags raised high and mighty, refusing to be supple with each other’s needs or way of being because Sam needs self integrity and Diane needs self trust. It becomes quite complex when we refuse to look within to see how we mess up relationships…
If you cannot look within and do your self work then you cannot let go of the mighty expectations you have for your partner…and then you cannot sustain the partnership.
But…what’s the difference between an essential standard to uphold and an expectation to release?
An essential standard is a core value.
Does Diane need Sam to be deep and romantic in her core values or is it an expectation for Sam to be like herself so she feels validated because she cannot validate herself?
Does Sam need Diane to take love day by day without romantic gestures and grand commitments or is this an expectation he places on her because he is fearful of failing due to being out of integrity?
This is the big exploration if you want love to sustain in a partnership and there are many compromises to be made. Where can you meet in the middle? Where do you need to hold a standard? And what’s an expectation you can let go of?
The compromise is what you do when it’s an expectation you have some wiggle room to play with.
Core values are standards to be protected and upheld.
Sam and Diane both value marriage and monogamy (TV, especially back then tends to only show dominant cultural values…) There is no conflict in their standards about the kind of relationship they want. Sam only wants Diane to be more in the moment so he can have time to grow into his integrity and Diane only wants Sam to be more romantic and sweeping in his expression so she can feel trust and validation.
In real life maybe you want one version of a relationship and your partner wants another. This cannot be compromised. A poly with a mono cannot flow. Someone who wants kids wont flow with somebody who does not want kids. Core values and lifestyle are usually the non-negotiable aspects they may bring tragedy to star crossed lovers.
Love will express in harmony, tragedy and everything in between.
Expectations are usually more shallow and rooted in wanting your lover to be just like you so that you feel safe, secure and never have to face conflict, failure or not getting what you want. Wanting the other to enjoy doing the same things, like the same music, look a certain way, act a certain way, and express in a certain way…all fall into the category of expectations…
You want to enjoy some things together but you don’t need to enjoy everything. One person can love going to museums and another can hate it. One person can be extroverted and one introverted….so long as you enjoy time together in certain ways.
Sam and Diane have fun together even though he hates intellectual cultural activities and Diane hates sports. When Diane dates Fraiser she gets to be with the male version of herself and yet even having all her expectations met with Fraiser, Sam is the man she loves.
Doesn’t matter how similar or different lovers present. We love who we love.
Love wants to be a mystery and we never know what our karma will be around love…if we are meant to be with somebody very opposite or very similar…or be with somebody through very difficult circumstances….lose lover early on or have it last a lifetime and experience the grief of death…
Love is a mystery without a clue….this was the first line of the first poem I wrote when I was in the sixth grade and it sticks like a tattoo in my heart because it speaks deep truth to me. I don’t know my karma with romantic love before I live it. I take love as it comes…
Sam and Diane never fully commit to one another in the show. It seems as if they will infinitely break apart and come back together. I am sure neither wishes for their love karma to be as such…
My inner child hope is that they eventually learn how to stay together. If Diane can lighten up on her expectations and if Sam can grow as a person and if they can both learn to let go of their pride and needing to be right when conflict arises….maybe?
I hope for love to work out between star crossed lovers because it is my temperament to be hopeful and idealistic in my heart (to a certain degree). We all have our ways. I am not right or wrong. Perhaps this resonates with you and perhaps not.
I am also a very pragmatic person and I honor self liberty at all times. I think conscious divorce, separation and breaking up is important and valuable. Very hard to do though because of our short comings…
If you fall out of love it is best to not stay out of morality and model for your children to sacrifice your core values (if being in love is a core value to begin with) to protect them from painful experiences. Painful experiences are not bad or wrong even if they are painful. Pain is meaningful lesson and growth tool. This is my opinion and there are many opinions to be valued…
If you are both still in love but cannot find harmony no matter how many times or how hard you try, maybe try to be with somebody else? Falling out of love makes it much easier to separate, as does not having a family to consider.
Sam and Diane have no kids and are archetypal representations of lovers in love coming from opposite sides of below and above…
I find is easy to see both sides and validate both Sam and Diane. I always see both sides with couples in real life too. I see how harmony can be found from a bird’s eye view. Yet to accomplish harmony we must learn how to take care of the brain.
Lovers trigger the most in one another due to mirroring when we were teeny ones with our care givers. It is what it is, we all work the same. Once triggered the animal brain takes the driver’s seat and fight/flight/freeze, projections, and intrusive thoughts dominate like massive storm in the psyche.
The logical higher thinking brain can no longer operate when these storms occur and this is when couples destroy the relationship, themselves, or each other with the actions taken and words spoken during the many storms that rise up in the relational field.
It’s only natural to grow through these storms but without skill you either repress it all and unhappily stay or sabotage and kill what could have grown (but that’s for another blog….)
Thank you Sam and Diane for inspiring this blog. May we all keep learning, growing, and loving the hell out of one another.