The Ties That Bind

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about love. What makes people love one another? What makes that bond strong enough to overcome conflict, loss of proximity, difficult circumstances and individual growth? Marriages, friendships, romances, family- what’s the magic sauce that keeps people together and happy about it?

My relationship with my parents has been rocky, to say the least. My father and I have had our differences, but there’s always been a strong bond between us. My mother is a whole other story. I made the decision to love her and honor her regardless of the checkered past we have, and I had to do that first, before real forgiveness came years later (for the most part). Our bond is stronger now than I think it’s ever been, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to my relationship with my father.

I fell in love with MH hard and fast. There was this incredible chemistry between us instantly, the first night we met. It had to be mostly physical attraction; we did not have a basis at that point for much of anything else. As we started dating, talking, doing things together, doing nothing together- that chemistry deepened and widened.  We talked about everything- everything- and began to find that we fit together like pieces to a puzzle. Our compatibility is in the major things in life, and our differences are in the details, in our daily lives, in our reactions and perspectives and personalities. One of our inside jokes is that if for some reason we ever divorced, that we wouldn’t ever stop sleeping together and talking all the time. That’s how strong our bond is- he is my husband, and will always be, but if he wasn’t, he would still be a part of me.

I have friends, a wide variety of people, with varying degrees of closeness. Some of those friends are old, old friends. Some are pretty new. There are people I’ve stayed in contact with, or reestablished contact with after losing physical proximity. There are those friends that you can call after not speaking for months (or years!) and pick up right where you left off. There are those few, precious friends who can read my heart by looking in my eyes. Friends who make words unnecessary, friends who hold my hand figuratively even when it isn’t literally possible.

There are other friendships that have faded over time, that distance (physical or emotional) or circumstances or conflict have taken the life and breath out of the relationship. What’s the difference? What makes people bond so well, or not at all?

I like to have an answer, or at least a theory when I post about the deep stuff. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair to pose a question and not throw my answer out there. The problem is, I can’t bring that feeling of being connected into words. There’s something ethereal about it; it’s a palatable feeling that is either present or absent. It’s one of the most important things in life, that’s for damn sure.


15 Responses

  1. wow…now that is deep, and right on. very, very nice post, cat. 🙂

  2. There are a couple of people in my life that even though they haven’t been around a long time in the big picture but there are times when I simply cannot remember a time without them being in my life.

    There are a couple of people who I had no contact with for 15 years and we talk like there was never any time when we didn’t.

    There is one person I can think of who I sometimes don’t talk to for ages and then they pop up again and we continue the last conversation that we were having as if it was just yesterday.

    There are people I know only through the internet who don’t feel like “just” internet friends.

    I don’t have an answer for you, but I know what you’re talking about… I’ll let you know when/if I find an answer.

    • “There are people I know only through the internet who don’t feel like “just” internet friends.”

      Sing it, sister. 😉

  3. To offer an analogy, I propose the concept of playlists.

    Some people are specific genres. Others have a definite arc. Some are short and fun. Others require more attention. Some are good for parties. Others can come along for long drives. Some, you can listen to over and over and over again. Some, you’d only like to hear every once in a while.

    And the songs are individual situations in which you find yourself with that person. Crappy songs are crappy situations, songs that touch your heart are those that bring you closer.

    Just a thought. 🙂

    Great post to think about for a Friday.

    • and what a thought it is, my friend. incredible analogy, and it has the potential for a post series, frankly.

  4. My sentiment about love is inextricably linked to sacrifice– to the other. William Blake once said, “The most noble act is to set another before you.” I think, unless your profession or your sworn duty calls for it, the only time you can truly do that for another person is when you love them.

    I cannot bring myself to sacrifice anything, however small, for someone I do not love.

  5. Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.
    Anais Nin

    Love, between family, lovers, friends, is just there. Every person you come across in your life, from the people that raised you to your spouse to your closest friends to that kid you glance across the street as they trip and fall, is there to teach you more about yourself and the world around you.

    By the way, I was totally giggling to myself the other day because I remembered a story you told my from when you lived in Michigan about a day you went with some friends to a car wash or something and one of the girls had inserted a tampon, applicator and all, and was complaining about being uncomfortable.

    Good stuff….now I’m giggling again…

  6. i don’t know what it is, but i agree… it’s magical.

  7. it’s definitely one of those who you are versus who they are kinda things. what’s important to you and to them, where your life goes. so many factors, but i think nicopolitan hit it right on the head. i don’t think i could come up with something quite as good as his response, so i leave with this: ‘ditto’.

    dropped by via perfectlycursedlife’s bloggy award list. fun!

  8. I don’t think there is any one answer… it changes throughout our lives, as our priorities and interests evolve and change. Some of our friends, we manage to keep through those changes, because they still fit… others, we lose touch with and replace with new. Such is the cycle…

  9. This falls into the category of “Science is a belief in facts and evidence. I believe in more than that.” What you are describing in this post is so much more than science can ever explain. Some things in this world we may never understand completely, but we acknowledge that they are there. We just believe in more than “that.”

  10. This was a great post. And I wish I had some answers or insight into your questions but I am just as baffled as you are.

    But it made for a GRET post.

  11. I had a similar post idea about what makes a true friend. 🙂 I was too lazy to write it – YET.

    Beautiful post.

  12. “It’s one of the most important things in life, that’s for damn sure.”
    I couldn’t agree more.

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