When Love Isn’t Really Love

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When is love truly love and when is it just—want? Passion? Laziness? Or maybe … just the lonely talking?

How many times have you heard someone say “But I love him!”?

What’s with the “but” anyway? Shouldn’t it just be “I love him.” Period. The “but” seems to suggest that he can do all kinds of dastardly deeds and although our feckless heroine (or hero) acknowledges his (or her) incompatibility , she loves him regardless.

Case in point—my friend R. He tells me that he loves L with every fiber of his being. With every millimeter of his soul. The way she makes him feel is unlike anything he has ever known before. Seriously, these are his exact words, in-touch-with-his-inner-poet my lovely he-man friend R is. And yet he and L are no longer together. They break up all the time but this time it looks like it might actually stick (insert big fat maybe here). Because they can’t go two weeks without fighting. Without her giving him the silent treatment. Without ultimatums and/or threats. And he is tired. Literally.

But he still loves her, says R with admirable (or is that pathetic?) and enthusiastic conviction.

Bullshit, say I (tenderly).

You covet her. You desire her. Something in all this maelstrom totally turns you on, buddy. This “want her/don’t want her/have her/can’t have her” ridiculously messed-up stew makes you crazy … with desire. With fire. With desire on fire.

Yeah, yeah, I know you two have experienced monumentally phenomenal moments. Moments when Niagara Falls flowed backwards and the sun circumvented the moon.

Whatever.

That ain’t love either. That’s drugs. Pheromones or endorphins or maybe too much wine. Still, drug-induced euphoria does not equate love. It equates … drug-induced euphoria.

So darling R—please don’t tell me that you love her. In my definition (born of endless experience and countless heartaches) love is quiet. Love is understanding, fluid, responsive, selfless, communicative and … well … loving. Love and loving are (or should be) the same thing. And your affair with L is not loving.

So here sit I, much like R, recently love-less. Again.

And damn, I’m going to tell you it’s lonely being loveless. And I’ll also going to tell you the lonely is talking loud and clear on this sun-drenched April Monday evening. Summer is just around the bend. You can smell it, you can taste it, you can almost touch it with your tongue. And summers are so much better spent in love, no?

Yep. I’ve had enough single ones to know they are better spent in love.

Add to my newfound singlehood the fact that I am old(ish) and if mirrors don’t lie, may never be worthy of wanton, unbridled, unwrinkled love ever again, at least in this lifetime. Fuck.

Okay, I’m a teensy bit dramatic but maybe you know how those “why the hell did I ever by a magnifying mirror?” moments go?

Regardless, my wine-soaked brain, coupled with the lonely talking, coupled with the seductive almost-summer dance the daffodils are doing outside (is that too many couples?) is playing funny tricks.

“But I love him”, say I, to no one but the dog (and even he seems bored). “But he loves me.”

Yeah. Kinda. Except for all those times when we were not quiet, understanding, fluid, selfless, communicative and … well … loving.

Love is a verb. It requires that we “do” love. We must act love. Live love. Love demands that we breathe it into every conversation, every argument, every full-blown fight, every discussion. Love demands that we not just say it or feel it. Love demands that we “be” it.

R—real love does not break up every two weeks. Nor does it want to.

Real love wants to … love.

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