One of my favorite bloggers posed this very question to her audience today. What is love? Given what I think love is (or should I say isn’t), I couldn’t possibly answer that question on her blog in fear I would offend anyone and everyone commenting on her page. Besides, my response is so darn lengthy and I need a blog topic myself. Here goes…
The truth is I do not adhere to some fluffy, feel good, give me goose bumps, definition of love. To the contrary, in fact. I think love is nothing more than a desperate and needy little bitch. She demands attention. Sulks when it is not returned. Forces insecurities to the surface. And, otherwise, is totally disruptive to life.
We have all these great descriptions of what we believe love should be… love is gentle, kind, patient… BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! Apparently, you haven’t met her. (What too cynical? Stick with me. It gets worse, or better, depending on your perspective.)
Love has been so overly romanticized and commercialized in our society to the point of RIDICULOUSNESS. Let’s break this down and look at what we are really talking about when we throw out this four letter word: L-O-V-E.
First, sexual attraction. My heart beats faster when I look at him. My stomach flutters and my breathing becomes shallow. I’m suddenly aware of all my flaws and too nervous to speak. It must be LOVE. It is a biological response, stupid. Welcome to the animal kingdom.
Second, contractual relations. Oh my goodness! I felt all those spinetingling things you described in the paragraph above, so we should get married and live happily ever after. Ruh roh! If you based that contract off of your “feelings” you are in for a mighty rough time of it. The divorce rate is now what?
Third, genuine sense of care (nurture), concern and maybe even respect. I don’t have those thumpity-bumpity butterflies described in paragraph one, but you have cared for me, or I have cared for you. We have been kind to each other. We have respected one another. I like knowing you. You add value to my life. I know I can count on you. We have a mutual understanding and agreement. Awe, thanks Mom!
Fourth, conditioned responses. We share the same blood line or possibly we live within the same household. Or, you might hold some office or position of power, of prestige. I don’t have butterflies for you. In fact, I’m really not even sure I like you very much, but the world commands my love for you, so therefore, you shall have it all the same. Can you say confusion and incongruent?
The problem with the conceptualization of LOVE in our society is we try and roll all these elements into one nice little word. We even give it its very own special day, which requires roses, diamonds, fancy dinners, and applies constant pressure on individuals to continually out do themselves again and again for that one who is the object of their… er… affection…. er contract… er conditioned response.
I know, I know, I just stuck a dagger into the hearts of all the romantics. Sorry, Rico Suave, not today, buddy. Not today. I’m not bitter. But, I have handled a lot of divorce cases and I have listened to a lot of stories from a lot of people governing their relations. I’m a realist. That is all.
And, for those of you still stuck on paragraph one, just for clarity, if you were dogs you’d be sniffing each others buttholes. Call it Love if you must, but ewww.