Love is not a competition. Why? Simply because when we fall in love, we can only fall in love with one person and all our world revolves around him/her. If not, then it’s not love. Recently, one of my friends told me she was jealous of one of her co-workers who’s also after the same guy than her. She can’t help comparing herself to her colleague, and is very upset because on paper, her colleague is better than her. “She can speak five different languages, I only speak three. She’s very cultivated, I’m not. She’s tall, I’m not. And she’s damn pretty. How can I compete with that?“ she asked. Well, for a HR, my friend would probably not win in this competition, especially since on top of that, her colleague is also a very hard worker. But for her object of affection, it won’t work the same way.
We don’t necessarily fall in love with someone who’s the best in everything she/he does. We fall in love with the person who carries the promise of changing your life. Francesco Alberoni explains in “Falling in love” that it is the same dynamic than picking a leader for a group. Studies have shown that the leader isn’t the most intelligent, competent,.. of the group. He’s chosen because of his charisma. And indeed, when we fall in love, we can’t fall in love with the most intelligent, brilliant, handsome,…person if she/he’s not charismatic. Those qualities don’t go necessarily hand in hand.
Charisma is hard to define, though. Bourdieu and other sociologists have determined that a person is charismatic if other people accept he/she has it. In the process of falling in love, this boils down to the recognition of this charisma by only one person. And this is purely subjective. There’s no rule for this.
With my friends, we have often asked ourselves if there were any particular reason why we fell in love with someone. And most of us reply that it just happened, and can’t explain why. “There was something in him that urged me to take its guidance, but I can’t really explain why. I was drawn to him, all of the time” one of my friends said. “He wasn’t the brightest, nor the most handsome guy in my class. But he has a way to talk to me that just turned me on, and I can’t explain that” another one recalls.
As for my friend, I can only hope her charisma will win over her object of affection. But we can’t force someone to love us. This is all the difficulty of love.
So, can you explain why you fall in love with your significant other?