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COLUMN: Let's Talk About Love

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 23:02

Now that today is Valentine’s Day, we must celebrate these natural bodily functions and use them to make our boyfriends buy us nice things and take us out to fancy dinners in the North End. (I’m kidding. Or am I?) Better yet, take this day to thank everyone in your life for just being there. Eat dark chocolate and think about red and pink a lot. Watch romantic comedies because they’re fun. Listen to music that makes the air around you shift. Whether you’re waiting for that text from you-know-who, in a happy and thriving relationship, continually waking up next to your exclusive/non-exclusive "thing" on a Saturday morning after a night off-campus, recently going through a bad break-up, perpetually single and stuck in your room watching, rewinding, and re-rewinding the sex scenes in Game of Thrones, heavily considering getting back with your ex, or using Tinder and feeling sufficiently awkward about it, I hope you have a fantastic Valentine’s Day.

Editor’s Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.

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1 comments

LJ1
Thu Feb 14 2013 18:29
To the author:
I liked your article. It got me thinking about my own perspective of what love is. I'll start by saying that I am certainly not an expert on the subject by any means whatsoever.
Without labeling myself as an idealist or a cynic, I would like to take a shot at answering some of the questions you posed at the beginning of your piece regarding what it is about love that makes people feel the way they do when they experience it. As far as I know, there is nothing in our nature as human beings that makes love a necessary part of the human experience, which is to say that at the animalistic level our species has a natural inclination to reproduce itself. However, procreation does not entail any kind of emotional connection-which is fundamentally what love is.
With that said, somewhere along the way romantic love manifested itself-for better or worse. My argument is that romantic love (i.e. the kind that valentines day is known for) is hardly anything more than a self-perpetuated social stigma coupled with one's inherent fear of being alone. Both factors are fueled by the imagination, which becomes painfully obvious when one tries to apply any kind of reason towards love (try telling a friend that he or she is in a bad relationship at a time during which they claim to be in love and see how well your "reason" is received). I think that everyone is afraid of being lonely. People inherently crave both recognition and the feelings we describe as love. Once we have a relationship with someone, the door is open to create a reflexive mode of recognition and affirmation. Just add lust, stir, and presto! Those are all the necessary ingredients for the modern conception of romantic love.
Once one has this feeling of love, or more specifically being loved, one tends to cling to the positive emotions which naturally come with that feeling. Inherently, idealistic notions of permanence arise, yet the unfortunate reality is that human beings are constantly evolving creatures. Our perspectives are constantly being shaped, reshaped, turned upside down, idealized, and crushed by our life experiences. With that changing perspective comes a natural change in our tastes and preferences. Trying to apply any idealistic notion of permanence to such a situation is an exercise in futility. So is it possible to find someone who you can share the rest of your life with? The answer is yes, but not for the reasons we might want to believe.
Romantic love that lasts a lifetime is certainly possible, but it can only happen if one's partner has a perspective which evolves in a way that remains compatible with one's own through time. But such compatibility over time is very rare indeed.
Yet I don't consider this reality to be overly pessimistic. Moreover, I don't see why "true love" must necessarily be synonymous with "everlasting love." Isn't all love true to one degree or another? I think we would all do well to stop clinging to such idealistic notions of love which do nothing but set us up to get hurt. Easier said than done? Probably. But maybe recognizing that we are individuals who are constantly changing might make it hurt a little bit less when one of our partner's perspectives evolves in a way which deviates from our own, resulting in our decent back into the realm of singleness.
Happy Valentines day




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