Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The opposite of love

The opposite of love

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Wednesday, January 5, 2005 12:54 AM

Part 1 of 2 parts

Rollo May, one of my favorite authors, wrote: “The opposite of love is indifference.”

He’s right. Take a good look at collapsed relationships and you will find indifference everywhere. You see it in marriages that have grown stale. He does his own thing, she does hers. He goes his way, she goes hers. He doesn’t really care what she does, neither does she.

This is why when lovers break up, they no longer care what happens to each other. They make no effort to keep track of each other. In fact, they couldn’t care less. They are truly indifferent. The more indifferent they are, the greater is their lack of concern or interest in the former lover.

If there is continued interest even after the separation, it is often a sign of love that refuses to die. When lovers separate, it often is not the decision of both parties. One partner bails out after making a unilateral decision. If the other is still in love and wants to keep the relationship, even if it lies in tatters, then the one left behind is far from indifferent. There is anger, sadness, desperation and a mix of many other feelings, but surely not indifference. There is still a shred of hope that perhaps a miracle will happen and the relationship might get back on track.

Only when indifference sets in is it all over. Indifference is the ultimate in not caring. There is a complete lack of interest in knowing what’s happening to the other person. A complete lack of concern. And the more complete the lack of interest and concern, the greater the indifference, and the stronger the proof of the loss, the death of love.

This is why lovers must pay attention to the indifference meter. As the level of indifference begins to rise even just a little, it is a red flag, a signal that the relationship is beginning to shake. When the level of indifference rises even more, now you know that it is no longer just a bump on the road, but a more serious problem that is undermining your relationship and threatening your love.

Time to swing into action. Time to rally the troops and rush out to meet and engage the enemy. If you don’t move, chances are that the level of indifference will only continue to rise.

When this happens, your partner (and perhaps even you) will begin to take his interest elsewhere. He could bury himself in his work, go to his friends and maybe, in time, find another one to love.

If indifference has already set in, now you’re really in big trouble. Especially if you continue to live in the same house. The indifferent one cannot simply carry on this way indefinitely without the high probability of getting involved, sooner rather than later, with someone else.

At no other time is the old saying, “No man is an island,” more valid than when indifference reigns in a relationship. Often, indifference is the prelude to separation. If your partner shows you great indifference, chances are he’s ready for an affair, if he isn’t already into one.

More tomorrow.


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