To Close A Series [1]

shakespeare-quote

As someone who steers clear of romantic love, I seldom write love stories to avoid sounding like a fraud. Writing this series has therefore been a learning experience, both in the art of collaborations and writing love stories. The process was easy because Timi called the shots, setting the premise and plot points, while I simply reacted to the elements of the story she threw up from the conversations. This also freed me to focus more on the personality of the characters than the plot points, because if left to my whims, all love stories would end as tragedies.

In writing the series, I tried to pose questions to myself and find answers in the conversations of the characters. What hope does a guy who isn’t assertive have in a relationship? How do men talk about the things they are accused of avoiding in conversation? Readers’ responses to the characters’ conversations were illuminating, showing how we gauge romantic relationships we observe close-up. No question was as instructive for me as this: at what point, and because of what traits, do we declare someone unworthy of another’s love?

Love, like a drug high, pushes people to act in ways that appear insane to outside observers, but carry a fierce internal logic to the people in love—the ones shooting up. So, when we proclaim that an observed trait in someone renders them unlovable, it sometimes turns out that that very trait is the reason their lover has chosen them. The more we criticize their lover, the less sense we make, and the more they are disposed to ignoring us.

In spite of the insulation by romance that the above suggests, couples rarely escape the influence of the times they live in, including their cultures and upbringing. We are products of our interaction with other humans, whether we acknowledge their influence or not.

Without discounting personal responsibility, you and I are more culpable in the actions of people we berate than we think. In the series, a twenty-nine-year-old man contemplates dating a thirty-five-year-old woman and confides in his friend, his worries about her fertility. What would have happened if his friend responded by telling the story of his aunt who married at forty and now agonizes over not having a child or having a baby with down syndrome, which made her husband marry a second wife?

In the past year, I’ve fielded more questions from friends and family about my romantic life than the two decades before it. Why are you not in a relationship? Is something wrong? Ife, are you keeping her way from us? I often tell people I don’t have time to think about these questions, but whom am I kidding? I cannibalized some of my experiences from answering questions like these in drafting the dialogues.

We should stop blaming fairy tales and Hollywood for love fantasies being absent of reason, or people doing stupid things in the name of love. That is how all lovers look to people like me who are too scared to be enchanted by it. It is not reasonable for the Beauty to love the Beast, but she does, and we root for them. Jack should have stayed away from Rose, but he didn’t and the Titanic sank.

A character from the movie Hellboy said, “You like people for their qualities, but love them for their defects.” And while I think this is the loophole that serial killers exploit to find lovers, it’s also the premise of our greatest love stories: Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Ifemelu and Obinze, and so on.

Stories, when done right, should make us more empathetic, more open to possibilities in the human experience that are outside our imagination. So, perhaps we should reassess the conditions we set for finding people desirable and worthy of love. Not just when the potential lovers are ours, but when they are of people close to us, too. This isn’t a call to remove all relationship standards, but only that these standards—be they age, class, or temperament—be filtered through lenses coloured with kindness. After all, a wise man once said, the law was made for man, and not man for the law.

I still believe fairy-tale endings are an exception in this fly-catching business, but I’m all for lives suffused with kindness that give way to love.

 

©Ife Nihinlola 2016 @ IfeOluwa’s Rambles

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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30 thoughts on “To Close A Series [1]

  1. I recently asked myself how far we would go to make our lives fit into the movies we watched. It’s not the movies really to be blamed. Words – in whatever form/medium – shape us. It -words- designed us. So, literally, we respond to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sure it was a challenge to collaborate on this series and you both rose the the challenge most admirably. I have enjoyed this delicious and continuing saga immensely. I have a young friend who I sometimes watch movies with. She likes movies with happy endings where the lovers end up together. I like movies where they don’t. La Strada for example, which is just about my favorite movie of all time. This seems to me to be more realistic and speaks to my own experience. My young friend is an eternal optimist and want to find true love. I get it. Cest la vie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoooweee. What an endlessly debatable topic.I think we should blame Hollywood though. They’ve created unrealistic and crazy fantasies that many teenagers and those heavily immersed in popular culture, perscribe to. And if we’re not going to blame Hollywood then we need to blame ourselves for not thinking critically. But, we all like to dream about our ‘one true love’ and what love will look like for us. When we don’t have experience, we look to society and family and friends to fill in the gaps.

    Of course, there are the good sides of stories, which you pointed out. Here’s to hoping more narratives get a chance to enjoy the Hollywood spotlight.

    Great series by the way, enjoyed it. What’s next? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not sure Hollywood can put out a love story that won’t fill our heads with fantasies. Even the painfully realistic ones are fantasies, or at least that’s how they look to me. All storytelling is almost a sort of fantasy, even our series. But you’re right that we have ourselves to blame for how much we take those fantasies to heart.

      Thank you for the kind words. As for what’s next: over to Timi.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. To me love can end well or sad, but what love really is, is the learning. When you leave to me you never truly loved, you were either just carried by something. The story was good bcos it potrayed love which is to stay or to be committed.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “…but what love really is, is the learning.” But the part that followed this is confusing to me. What if while the person stayed, there was love, and then there wasn’t and the person had to leave? What if leaving itself is an act of love? Questions.

      Thank you for staying,, and being committed to us in the writing of this series. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘Stories, when done right, should make us more empathetic, more open to possibilities in the human experience that are outside our imagination. So, perhaps we should reassess the conditions we set for finding people desirable and worthy of love’

    I guess this should be the crux of the matter but it isn’t always so especially when people are very judgemental when their own love stories are not outside the norm their societies accept.

    Thanks Ife for being honest and it’s nice to know this was also a learning experience for I hope you find love soon (lol). You guys did good.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We are often scared of things that are alien to our experience, even love stories. But I guess we can all just hope to be better.

      Thank you so much for following and for your comments. We did good because you were with us. Amen to finding love. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Who kidnapped my previous comment??? Perhaps it doesn’t get delivered.

    Any rate you brought up valid and poignant questions concerning the characters and how it could have played out in real life situation.

    Now suppose the characters friend weren’t supportive of the glimpse if interest the character had in pursuance of the love interest. I bet the story must have taken a not so pleasant detour.
    Like you said, our actions, willingness and reluctance to a situation is a product of our association and culture whether we admit it or not which rings true.

    I could observe that it was the subtle push from both character couple with their own subtle unconscious attraction and willingness to compromise on so many levels that determines the outcomes.

    You see I believe in love but not the fairy types though which is quite unrealistic if someone could sit his/her ass down to analyses the circumstances.

    Love is a beautiful thing, its humans involvements that makes it look ugly and complicated. Sometimes reluctance to pursue or commit could be a result of neglected personal deep issues.

    people fall in love for all sorts of reasons from the mundane to the deliberate anyway.

    I strongly believe in personal assertion and evaluation to determines what you want you in a partner, however while doing so, considerations should be allowed for the human and personality factor. Dont be too trusty and dependant on the other to sort out or fulfilled your yearnings – its simply a recipe for frustration except if the significant other in question is the HolySpirit.

    Maybe if we could go pass the ideal of looking for someone who is to adjust without hitches under the lens of our preconceived mental projection , the less the hassles.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dont be too trusty and dependant on the other to sort out or fulfilled your yearnings

      True. You made so many good points in this comment and this is just one of them. All our fantasies won’t be fulfilled in one person. They’re only human. Whatever their flaws are, it’s usually good to remember that we’re flawed too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Must be Emotional Monday or something for me because this line got me tearing up for some reason:

    “This isn’t a call to remove all relationship standards, but only that these standards—be they age, class, or temperament—be filtered through lenses coloured with kindness.”

    I think most times we place an unfair expectation on love connections – whether ours or other peoples’ – to conform to a certain preconceived standard. In doing that we run the risk of judging those connections to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ just because they do not line up with those preconceptions

    Personally its painful to watch. Moreso in myself when I find that I have taken a position on whatever based on a perceived norm or publicly held opinion rather than a present and organic assessment borne out of love and kindness and my own unique personality dangit!

    So yes like Ife … “I’m all for lives suffused with kindness that give way to love.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This is bang on the money:
      I think most times we place an unfair expectation on love connections – whether ours or other peoples’ – to conform to a certain preconceived standard. In doing that we run the risk of judging those connections to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ just because they do not line up with those preconceptions.

      *Raises glass* Here’s to kindness…

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ife, first of all, I loved Hellboy. And I loved Timi’s series. As someone who has dated a younger man, I related to it. 🙂
    I love a fairy tale, so I’m not one to put down the happily ever after endings that some find unrealistic. I’ve been criticized for not being in a relationship. But that doesn’t mean I’m anti-relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m reading an essay now that suggests all tales ate fairy tales, so people who hate them are the delusional ones.

      Thank you for following the series, Marie, having you and many others say they could relate surely helped in writing it.

      PS: Suggested memoir title: Loving love without being in love.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So much here to respond to. I know that different personality types fall in love for different reasons. But this may be where nurture or lack of nurture plays the bigger part. I’m pretty sure my choice for marriage came out of some insecurity in my personal childhood. And at midlife I went through a period of out growing those needs. And that changed the dynamics of our relationship. That was a rough period for both of us. But we grew and changed as individuals, so our relationship changed also. There was less need and more love. Since no one is perfect, no relationship is perfect. And a reasonably imperfect relationship has the potential to challenge us go grow into people more capable of unconditional love. (Unconditional love does NOT however accept and there by encourage abusive behavior.) A wise person told me when faced with choices we should look at the down side of all possible choices and choose the one you can live with best. I think some of us may do that unconsciously when falling love. But inevitably that will change and either we change partners or we grow and change within our relationship…which forces our partner to make the same choice.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Seems growth and adapting to changes is necessary for relationships as it is for all other livung things. And while the possibility of waking up next to a stranger is scary, perhaps that’s why marriage is for grown men and women.

      I am always grateful for your comments Eileen, and this is not an exception. Thank you for following the series, and for the willingness to always share you insight.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Being a called a romantic is one of those things you can’t protest without tripping and confirming the label. 😃

      Timi is still here every Sunday, and if there’s anything I know about her blog, it’s that there are more series coming that will be better than this. For now, I leave to ponder on my freshly-earned romantic badge. Thank you for following the series, Dami.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “So, perhaps we should reassess the conditions we set for finding people desirable and worthy of love.”
    Thanks for sharing this, I can’t say in words how this got to me, Ife your case is even better, at some point family and friends says am a fag for being unattached. Time for self reevaluation and reexamination of set standards. I hate that this series is ending now and hope such innovative post suffices soon. I love you guys a bunch

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  11. “So, perhaps we should reassess the conditions we set for finding people desirable and worthy of love.”
    Thanks for sharing this, I can’t say in words how this got to me, Ice your case is even better, at some point family and friends says am a fag for being unattached. Time for self reevaluation and reexamination of set standards. I hate that this series is ending now and hope such innovative post suffices soon. I love you guys a bunch

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Freeman. As for what people say, dem go always talk, na their way. The important thing s the ‘self reevaluation’ you’ve mentioned. As long as you’re always growing, what people says matters only little.

      Of course this is Timi’s blog, so every post is innovative. 🙂 Thank you for all the support, Freeman. It’s a pleasure having you in our corner.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m really sad this is ending. In a way it’s a tragedy, not the end of this love story, but the end of the collaboration on it. So maybe you succeeded in the end to make us gloomy. There would have been no encouragement if that aunt had a down syndrome tale. Another thing to consider when deciding the limits of this kind of love

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, this doesn’t have to be a tragedy, except if you would consider all of life a tragedy because it has to come to an end, no matter how good it is. Thank you for following the series closely, Elizabeth. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Very insightful post. Alluring perspective. My comment is directed to Ife, not sure if this gets around to you: Like measles, ebola, or common cold, the love bug will bite you one day. It will however feel right, not like some disease but like you described it, being high on drug. No one gets high forever, even though many prefer to pretend the viraemia of love remains permanently high. There are also no guarantees that regrets will not come with a withdrawal. I really love your post.

    Liked by 3 people

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