We humans are above all social beings. Our evolutionary success and survival depended on it and still does. A significant part of us prompts us to cooperate, exchange affection, display altruism, compassion, loyalty, ending up feeling belonging to that group or tribe, and addition and in return, we feel joy and meaning in contributing and being contributed, as well as feeling safe and belonging. All insuring the survival of our species
All of these are part of what E.O.Wilson calls eusociality, and it’s often unfortunately in conflict with another part of us — complicated creatures that we are — since we are also selfish, calculating on the side. (But, that’s another story.) As a social being among other things, we form bonds, that is a strong sense of connectedness and mutuality with another human being, whether a friend, children, buddies, even beloved pets.
The most important bond we often create is the procreational one that is getting together, often married, making our fates and welfare common. If such a partnership is successful, it can even last a very long long time. It gives meaning to our existence, feeling mutual belonging as it is, in addition to the joy in the exchange of affections and engaged in common goals.
Sadly, and unfortunately, we have to pay a dear price for such a bonding. We are vulnerable to loss and as our partner often dies or even abandons us, we feel keenly the loss and we grieve for days, months, or even years. This grief lingers and feels like an unhealed wound. It is like you lose a part of your body and forever looking for the “phantom limb,” as it were. Of course, life has to go on and we manage. But it is no longer the same.
Our life now feels lopsided with a perpetual background of sadness and melancholy as though components of our body or soul are forever missing. This sadness and grief may help us to be better humans, but this is a small consolation for the felt absence of the loved one.
As the poet said, grieving for his lost wife, “Her shoes stay now empty by the door all day long.”
And, this is another reason among many others, like the unneeded foolish behavior, the wars, and self-inflicted wounds for ourselves, self-wrought as if “the natural allotment fallen from heaven is not enough.” Instead we need all the affection we can get from each other.