How many times have you heard the following? True love never ends. If you fall out of love, it was never love to begin with. I mean, don’t get me wrong–the whole idea of love lasting forever is incredibly appealing and gives one a sense of security. But I’ve had reason to actively rethink this in recent months & want to share some thoughts with you.
Now before you get all up in arms, please know that I’ve been a hopeless romantic my whole life. Trouble is, my way of loving & my understanding of ‘romance’ has always felt to me to be a bit….unconventional. I once said to my mom as I happily sighed, I’m so in love with my brothers. Well that sure was the wrong thing to say. Trust me, I don’t want to make out with my siblings. I mean, Eeew.
I have felt intense, passionate connection with people that I did not want to have sex with. I have been “in love” in the contented, happy, sighing, euphoric sense with my poetry, God (in a former life), children, flowers, cats, a spring day in an open field, etc… I’ve had the deep, strong, quiet love for friends. I’ve even loved strangers. I have a strong natural need for physical affection and I don’t think physical affection should be reserved for the-one-person-you’re-going-to-be-married-to-for-your-entire-life-so-if-they-don’t-hug-kiss-or-cuddle-you-then-you-are-screwed-in-the-affection-department-forever. Maybe it’s just America that has these ridiculous norms.
A couple years ago as I was pondering this love stuff and what it really means, a man at the busstop said to me, Love is a code. He meant that we say love when really we can possibly be referring to a myriad of thoughts and feelings. This made perfect sense to me. I have used or seen others use the phrase, I love you to mean any, some, or all of the following:
* I feel affection for you
*I’m attached to you
*I’m physically attracted to you
*I care about you & want you to be OK
*I enjoy being with you–maybe more than I enjoy being with most others
*I feel euphoric when I think of you
*I would sacrifice something to help you or be with you
*I desire you/I lust after you
*I feel chemistry between us
*I feel connected to you more than I do most people
*I enjoy sharing physical affection with you
*I want to be near you always/want you as a chief component in my life
*I want to make love to you
Well, isn’t that just a convenient laundry list! And notice, too, that if you take any of these statements alone, it’s not necessarily your first instinct to translate it as I love you. While I came up with this list off the top of my head, I’m not imagining this. Check out a few of the definitions of love from Merriam-Webster online:
1a 1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
b : an assurance of affection <give her my love>2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>3a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address4a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person’s adoration of God5: a god or personification of love
7: the sexual embrace : copulation