Fandango asks us to dissect two old saying today, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Familiarity breeds contempt” and state whether we think that they mean the same thing, or if we feel that they are polar opposites. The first expression, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” reminds me of Melanie’s Share Your World question from a week ago which was, “Why do we seem to think of others the most after they’re gone?”, where I answered, “when someone is still here with you, it is easy to ignore them, but once they are gone, you can’t take them for granted anymore” and I think that applies here also. To me “Familiarity breeds contempt” is probably the main cause of divorce, because once the honeymoon phase is over, you have become comfortable being around them and you have settled into a routine. This is when you will notice that the person that you are with is not perfect and their flaws will start to irritate you. Tiny things will mount up, making you get more and more angry, as they keep getting on your nerves.
These two phrases may be related, but they do not mean the same thing. The relation that I see is that if “Familiarity breeds contempt” and you end up leaving someone because you became too familiar with them, that now once you dumped them you may be having second thoughts and you feel like you miss them and thus “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Love is a vicious circle of emotions and it is a wonder that anyone survives.
Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #123 which is comparing and contrasting the following phrases, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” with “Familiarity breeds contempt”.