How Classical Mythology Revealed the Truth of My Past Relationships

Photo by Juliet Furst on Unsplash

We all know of Cupid, the chubby little boy with wings who shoots people with arrows to make them fall in love. I found my mind wandering on the cherub for some reason, but then I had a question that I cannot believe I never considered before.

Why the hell does Cupid shoot people to make them fall in love?!

I searched this very question and while I didn’t get the exact answer for my question, I learnt quite a bit more about him.

For starters, I had no idea he was an actual god. He’s the son of love goddess Venus and war god Mars, which I suppose explains the arrows and what the arrows do. That’s my best guess.

Also, he has two types of arrows. The first has a sharp golden point which causes the person who is hit to be filled with uncontrollable desire. The second has a blunt tip of lead which causes the wounded person to run away.

Glad to see attachment theory has its roots in classical mythology!

But there was something else that I found interesting. Cupid is the god of erotic love, attraction and desire. His arrows are about desire, either instilling it or removing it and causing aversion. His name in Latin (Cupido) literally means “desire”.

This realization in particular led me to ask myself a new question. In this allegory of Cupid shooting me with his sharp golden arrow and making me fall in love with someone, what does this person have that I desire? Or, what can this person fulfill in me?

Conversely, when shot with the dull lead arrow, what is it about this person that repels me from them? What trait to they possess that I dislike?

When it comes to matters of the heart, our intuition often takes a backseat. Then when all is said and done and the broken hearts are bleeding out on the kitchen table at 4AM because our minds won’t allow us to sleep because they’re too busy yelling, “I told you so” as our cats meow in frustration because they want to go outside, maybe these questions would prevent us and our cats from having to suffer.

When I think about it, I’ve dated girls for all types of different reasons. I wanted the significance they were giving me. I wanted to learn to be more extroverted. I wanted to study how to be more giving. I wanted to absorb romantic nonchalance. I wanted to escape the pain of not being loved and not loving myself.

As for my aversions, I stayed away because her family was toxic when we were younger. I thought people would judge me if I liked someone that was a physical mismatch to how I looked. I was afraid of being smothered. I was afraid of liking someone so much like my mom and what that might mean about me. I could see that she was trying to use me and what she really wanted was her dad’s love or her ex to come back or for her to just choose herself for once.

In taking the time to revisit past relationships, friendships and situationships, the covert reasons I desired someone weren’t good enough for me to date them, and the covert reasons I stayed away weren’t that bad.

Sure, it might be nice to want to learn to be more giving. But I don’t need a relationship in order to learn that. Understand why they do what they do and emulate that. That’s enough.

Some of my aversions were shallow but I’ll give myself some credit because some of my aversions were shrewd.

The point I’m trying to make here is that it makes sense to ask yourself why you want someone (or are avoiding someone). There is at least one specific thing that attracts you (or repels you). If you can bring it to your conscious mind, you can make better decisions going forward.

Your search for a partner could be over if you would only do some introspection. The end of a wild goose chase could finally end if you asked yourself what this goose has that you want.

I leave you with the words of Nisus to his friend and lover Euryalus, “Is it the gods who put passion in men’s mind, Euryalus, or does each person’s fierce desire become his own God?”

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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