It is easy to talk about love when you’re happily in love. It is also easy to talk about love when you are not happy about it. But, ignoring click-bait articles like “if he does that he truly loves you” and “if she says this her love is gone”, how do we adjust our inherent bias to talk about love a bit more objectively? Is that even possible? Can we quantify and delineate the place love holds in our lives?
I guess the easiest way would be to go back in time and in love. I mean we must think about a love that has happened in the past, before another love. There are probably people who have been in love only once but in my experience most people have been in love several times. Some have even been in love at the same time with several people, but we’ll avoid that for the moment not because there’s something wrong but because we are trying to analyze something a majority of people can relate to.
If we want to get really picky I guess we could eliminate teenage loves as well, on account of hormones, inability to distinguish between love and lust, immaturity etc. I am reluctant to do so, for two reasons. 1. Sometimes it really is true love. You could try to think of your own teenage love and check your feelings about it. If you still feel warm fuzzies or very protective about it, chances are it was true love, despite the obstacles given above. 2. Maturity, difference between love and lust etc…. those are hindsight speaking. What I mean is that for each love we have felt, looking back, we can use the wonderfully frustrating thing called hindsight to say “it wasn’t true love, it was lust” or some such statement that implies we are now more mature and, going back, we would have done things differently.
Maybe this is what I am trying to do, use hindsight to objectify relationships, find a proper place for love. But isn’t hindsight our first line of defence when we’ve been hurt? “I should have seen the signs” is a common comment. “I was going through a rough patch” is another one. Both of them correct in essence, but can we reduce love to a mistake we have made because we were not mature enough? And are we ever mature enough to firmly say we will not make another mistake? Or even more extreme, saying that we will never love again? Or trying to use wish lists and website filters as a degree of maturity?*
I have always considered love as different from the person I love AND from myself. This is another way of being more objective when it comes to love. It is also a lot more rigid. If that person was loved by me then (worthy or not… hm, it took me the best part of ten years to admit I may have been at fault in a break up I could have sworn was the other one’s fault 😛 ) then that love is a given, no matter what happened in the meantime. This is probably why I consider love as selfish, as expressed in another blog article on the same subject. At the same time, this perspective holds love as the only thing that cannot hurt, ever. A break-up can hurt, unkindness can hurt, taking for granted can hurt, unrealistic expectations can hurt too. Relationships, huh? But love is not touched by those, doesn’t live or die by those either. It endures, unchanged, until time alone can fold it into the past.
*I have nothing against dating websites, in fact I know several couples who have met that way. I understand the need for those filters, too, and for the wish lists. It comes down to the distance between us, and in the era of connectedness that distance is enormous. We had to substitute something, right?