I've considered declaring my love, but I only foresee catastrophe: I mean, I'm sure she likes me as a person – I've always impressed her with.
THE DILEMMA I'm an 18-year-old college student and I am desperately in love with a 23-year-old German-language assistant. I'm conscious that this infatuation might just be concocted by my male adolescent brain – though it feels so much stronger than anything I've felt for any girls of my own age. But in four months' time I leave college for a university miles away. I've considered declaring my love, but I only foresee catastrophe: I mean, I'm sure she likes me as a person – I've always impressed her with my intelligence, for example – but it's impossible to tell if she reciprocates my feelings. Besides, seeing as she's technically an authority figure, wouldn't a romantic relationship be inappropriate? Should I say something now or find her again after university when I feel like a grown man? Or should I "move on'' – simple to say, but excruciating for me to contemplate?
MARIELLA REPLIES It's spring, go crazy, ask her out. We're in the season famed for new beginnings, so if there was ever a time to make such a move it's right now. All around us creatures are mating, and why on earth shouldn't you and your fräulein be among them? If you can't be emotionally reckless when you're young then you're going to have little to look back on with affection when you're middle aged.
In years to come you'll be amused by the adventures had when your heart ruled your head. First you have to start having them. Hand in hand with surging emotions comes self-doubt and a terror of making a fool of yourself. Maybe we should be grateful for such tempering influences – without fear of losing face, the power of teenage and twentysomething emotions would probably get us into even worse trouble.
You describe "catastrophe" ahead if you declare your hand, which seems an overly dramatic response to the possibility of finding that your devotion is not reciprocated. Certainly if you are going to head full throttle into the dating world you'll need to learn to temper your pride. We all make fools of ourselves when it comes to romance. If every crush were guaranteed to find favour, where would the adrenalin come from? You need the possibility of unrequited passion just to keep things sizzling. You say you're in love, and then that it's an infatuation. The great thing about being young, but also the worst, is that it's virtually impossible to separate the two.
There will come a time when the palpitations, the longing and the belief that you can't survive without the object of your affections will die down. Ironically, that tends to coincide with marriage. Not that long-term commitment has to lack romance, but it does tend to take on a less all-consuming guise.
Human beings are marked out by a number of features: one is our capacity for romantic love, another our ability to be irrational. Here you are worrying whether distance will be a drawback in the future without knowing whether you even have a present! It may prove inconvenient that you're off to university, but that's presuming all goes well until then. My guess is that if you're in the throes of a passionate relationship you won't be regretting your impetuousness but trying to work out a way of sustaining a long-distance affair.
But let's not run away with ourselves here: first you need to see if the attraction is mutual. She may well admire your brain power, but it's unlikely to be grey matter that will primarily attract her to you. The truth is that we never really know who finds us attractive and why – it can be a pleasant surprise, and occasionally a terrible shock.
The only way to find out is to take the plunge and register your interest. Discovering that your affections are not reciprocated can be a setback, but the alternative – refusing to reveal your hand – won't get you anywhere.
Not every love affair can last forever, and if you set out expecting them to, you'll only increase the potential for disappointment. Instead, at your age, you need to be learning about the vagaries of the human heart, and what better place to start than an affair with a slightly older women? If she responds favourably she'll certainly put you through your paces.
Romance favours the brave, and I can promise that you won't be scarred for all eternity by a declined date. Indeed, you'll need a few such heart-hardening moments to build up your strength for the trials that are yet to come. Bear in mind that if this union proves to be ill-starred, another will manifest itself soon enough.
Just one final suggestion: avoid "declaring your love", as you propose in your letter. Avowals of unmitigated ardour will dampen hers faster than you can regret them. A coffee in the canteen is a far better place to check the emotional temperature than a dozen roses followed by a red face!
A fortnight ago, Mariella advised a young woman who felt jealous of her husband's dead fiancée. Her last relationship was abusive and her self-esteem is fragile. Here are some readers' webposts:
A year is not a long time to mourn someone with whom this man intended to spend his life. Be gentle and patient. SHEILAD
It's natural to feel insecure and jealous, though it won't help the relationship, nor your own happiness and wellbeing one bit. Is he worth all this pain? CERIDWENTHEWITCH
You came out of an abusive relationship and you've met someone kind and loving who has restored hope for your own future. Go with that for the time being. DIZZYALIEN
If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to [email protected]. To have your say on this week's column, go to theguardian.com/dearmariella
It was a powerful declaration of love from a successor to Winston Churchill for the very special country that is the United States, and the.
Have you ever struggled with being able to say "I love you," especially in the context of a romantic relationship? I must confess that this was a big problem for me for many years in a number of relationships. As much as possible, I try to be honest and, somehow, uttering those three little words would fill me with pangs of guilt that I was being dishonest.
At that time in my life, "I love you" was loaded with additional connotations such as: "I will love you forever" and "I have no doubts or ambivalence about my feelings toward you," "I'm gong to want us to get married," and other such freight. Of course, if you are anything of a Freudian, you know that all relationships are tinged with ambivalence. I'm not sure I was a Freudian but I did sense my own underlying ambivalence and, therefore, felt impure and dishonest in relation to such a declaration.
Typically, this tongue-tied impasse would arise when the girlfriend of the moment would say to me, "I love you." Uh oh! I think I'm supposed to say it back to her. But can I honestly utter those three heavy words with all their multiple levels of meaning?
A brief but very meaningful romantic relationship marked a turning point for me in this regard. We had just made passionate love and she looked me in the eyes and said, "I love you." She immediately picked up on the fact that I was choked up with conflict, fear, and guilt in response to her simple assertion. She quickly went on to reassure me saying something along the lines of, "Look, when I say 'I love you,' it means that I have strong loving feelings toward you in this moment and I just want to be free to express them... I'm not saying anything about the future... and I'm not needing you to say anything back to me."
That simple re-framing really freed me up considerably, both for that relationship and for others to come. It has served me well over the subsequent years.
That critical turning point in my life was brought back to mind this past week when I attended the 2nd World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association in Philadelphia. Among the many wonderful presentations was one on love by noted positive psychology researcher, Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D.
I was particularly struck by her assertion of what love is NOT. According to Frederickson, Love is NOT:
Whew! I was impressed by how well this fit with the message I'd been given by a young woman so many years before. It does raise the question, however, as to what love IS.
Frederickson put up a slide with the following definition:
"Love is experienced in the context of safe interpersonal connections or close relationships. E.g., In the early stages of a relationship, tied up with initial attraction, people are deeply interested in anything and everything this new person says and does. They share amusements and laugh together, often as a result of the awkwardness of coming together for the first time. As a relationship builds and perhaps surpasses expectations, it brings great joy. People begin to share their hopes and dreams for the future together. As the relationship becomes more solid, they sink back into the cozy serenity that comes with the security of mutual love. At this stage, people in loving relationships often are grateful for the joys their beloved brings into their life, as proud of their achievements as they are of their own, inspired by their qualities, and perhaps in awe of the forces of the universe that brought and keep them together."
Frederickson went on to expand on the topic emphasizing research on the importance of safety, bio/behavioral synchrony, connection via eye-contact, smiling, mutual responsivity, the vagus system and oxytocin, neural synchrony, and what she described as "positivity resonance." It turns out that there is a lot going on around that whole "I love you" thing!
I've offered my story here because I suspect I'm not alone in my past struggles with that simple, or perhaps not so simple, phrase.
I’m glad Theresa May jetted across the Atlantic so quickly after Donald Trump officially and legally became the world’s most powerful man. Any grown-up spying a White House door that was even slightly ajar had a responsibility to seize the opportunity to try to temper this most extraordinary 45th American president.
It must have been to guide us on occasions such as now that Theodore Roosevelt crafted his inspirational “Man in the Arena” speech. Those words nudge leaders to be actors, not spectators. Mays rather than Corbyns. Statesmen not politicians. Focused on national and global interests rather than electoral calculation.
That Britain’s Prime Minister can influence the new White House and other powerful Washington politicians by jamming her famous leopard-skinned high heels in that open door was evident from the commitments to Nato and against torture that were made during the high-wire act that our PM and Mr Trump performed together (an event usually known as a press conference).
The highlight of Mrs May’s visit was probably that speech she gave to Congressional Republicans on the Thursday, however. Trump and Republicans will have liked her emphasis on controlling borders and security.
Most of her conservative audience that day, although probably not their new commander-in-chief, will also have liked her hawkishness towards the Kremlin. And almost none of the coal-friendly Republicans will have appreciated what she said about climate change.
But candour is essential between friends – and frankly, any respite from the odd American habit of applauding almost every paragraph is welcome.
It would be a mistake to only focus on the specifics of her Philadelphia address, however. It was more important than that. It was a powerful declaration of love from a successor to Winston Churchill for the very special country that is the United States, and the enduring relationship between two English-speaking peoples.
Conversations I’ve had with a handful of Senators and Congressmen over the past week have confirmed that Mrs May touched her audience’s hearts as much as minds. The emphasis that this vicar’s daughter put on the religious and cultural common ground between Britain and America – rather than simply focusing on piggy-bank and security issues – was well-judged.
But now, several paragraphs into this shortish blog, I’m finally getting to the point – and to my question for CapX readers.
How could Mrs May make such a generous speech about the United States, honouring its history, its values and its global role, only six days after Mr Trump swore the presidential oath – when a whole 206 days after she became our second female prime minister, and 226 days after the Brexit vote, she still hasn’t made any equivalent gesture to the peoples of Europe?
After all, our negotiations with Europe are much more important to us, at least in the shortish term, than likely trade negotiations with Washington.
I’m fully aware that Mrs May visited Angela Merkel, François Hollande and other major EU leaders very soon after entering 10 Downing Street. But important talks with heads of government don’t begin to address a far too common perception on the continent that the vote to leave the EU’s dysfunctional and disabling structures was another iteration of that infamous two-fingered Up Yours Delors gesture.
If a good number of my German friends are representative of Europeans as a whole, there are a lot of bruised feelings across the continent. There is also the suspicion that the John Cleese-style bad manners exhibited by Nigel Farage in the European Parliament, and seen in tabloid form across some of our newspapers, are a key reason why 52 per cent of us voted to leave the European Union.
While the detailed terms of our divorce deserve most of the sometimes mind-numbing attention that they are getting from politicians, Whitehall mandarins and the press, it is a missed opportunity of the highest order that Mrs May hasn’t gone to Prague or Amsterdam or another major EU capital and given a big, bold and warm speech about what European nations have given to the civilised world – and surely will continue to give in the decades to come.
No one is in a better position than the head of our government to make it clear that post-separation, our every intention is to be enthusiastic and good neighbours – and that a refreshed relationship might even be better for everyone than a continuation of the miserable tenant-landlord friction of today.
I am genuinely baffled by Mrs May’s failure to give this speech, but hope and believe that there is still time to make some amends. In my darker and more cynical moments I almost fear it’s a deliberate omission by a politician who backed Remain and is keen to establish the most Brexity of Brexiteering credentials.
It is notable that nearly every key move she’s made as PM has been pretty Ukippish. There has been her even tougher than usual position on immigration. Quite a bit of bashing of globalisation generally. The support for new grammar schools. And the Priti Patel-ish positioning on overseas aid.
I don’t see much Trump in Mrs May, but she mustn’t think that Trumpism is in any way a path to electoral success (as I recently argued here).
Please do tweet or email CapX with your own theories about the speech that should have been delivered but hasn’t been. But let me end by quoting that top-of-the-league BBC anchor, Andrew Neil. You may remember how he began the edition of “This Week” that followed the attacks on Paris by referring to Isil “scumbags”. The video of his intro went viral at the time:
“Evening all, and welcome to This Week. A week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered 132 innocents in Paris, to prove the future belongs to them rather than a civilisation like France. Well I can’t say I fancy their chances. France: the country of Descartes, Monet, Sartre, Rousseau, Camus, Renoir, Berlioz, Gauguin, Hugo, Voltaire, Matisse, Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Satie, Pasteur, Molière, Zola, Balzac.
Cutting-edge science, world-class medicine, fearsome security forces, nuclear power, Coco Chanel, Château Lafite, coq au vin, Daft Punk, Zizou Zidane, Juliette Binoche, liberté, égalité, fraternité, and creme brûlée.
Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, slavery, mass murder, medieval squalor and a death-cult barbarity that would shame the Middle Ages.
Well IS or Daesh or Isis or Isil or whatever name you’re going by – I’m sticking with IS, as in Islamist Scumbags – I think the outcome is pretty clear to everybody but you.
Whatever atrocities you are currently capable of committing, you will lose. In a thousand year’s time, Paris, that glorious city of lights, will still be shining bright as will every other city like it. While you will be as dust, along with the ragbag of fascist Nazis and Stalinists that previously dared to challenge democracy and failed.”
While far from being a precise model of the kind of speech Theresa May should deliver (and how could he fail to mention Eric Cantona?), Mr Neil’s heartfelt and passionate words point to what we have in common with our near neighbours in France and in most EU states.
An attempt by the British Prime Minister to communicate a love for Europe that she communicated to Americans about their country would not just be her speaking for most Remain voters. It would, I’d argue, reflect the manners and disposition of most Leave voters, too. Fawlty-Faragism, after all, won few votes at the general election and didn’t drive most Leave voters.
Set alongside continued British commitments to the military defence and security of Europe, and our hope for as free, fair and mutually enriching a trade deal as Brussels will concede, it would also prudent to generate a little more goodwill.
Relations between London and Brussels aren’t as frosty as relations between Washington and Brussels, but they’re not a great deal warmer.
Tim Montgomerie is a Conservative commentator
I've considered declaring my love, but I only foresee catastrophe: I mean, I'm sure she likes me as a person – I've always impressed her with.
Translations from Japanese to English are often a strange mixture of slang and formal English. The phrase is grammatically correct.[email protected]:Biffo: How cany ou know it is from a japanese comic book ?
This collection of quotes includes some poignant and deep thoughts on love . He cares for it and cherishes it so re-declare every day that your heart is his to.