What Is Love? True Love?

I often wonder about love, especially that which we call “true love,” if there even is such a thing. The way that we throw the word love around so often makes it difficult to know what is real enough. We say that we love things all the time, whether it be that we love pizza, the Red Sox, or Game of Thrones. We love the feeling of the sea breeze across our face on a hot Summer day and we love our pets, and of course we love our family.

Now love of family, and perhaps that of pets as well for those who truly consider them to be part of the family, seems to be the only one of those loves that we really consider to be a love. The others we would merely say that we really liked them a lot and were using the word love incorrectly to emphasize how much we like them. Though if we were truly passionate about such things, such as an artist saying that they love art as it is their life, that would be considered an accurate use of the word love as well.

The more proper uses of the word love I gave examples of seem to come with more of a sort of permanence about them. While we may always consider Game of Thrones to be our favorite show of all time, how actively it plays a part in our life varies greatly by when the season is airing and there will come a time when it ends and while it will always hold a place in our heart, we are unlikely to think about it as frequently. On the other hand, our family will always be our family, and as for passions that we dedicate our life to, we cannot imagine those passions ever not being a part of our life. Even if we may one day change drastically and have different passions, our current passionate self would look at that potential future self as a different person.

The love that I wonder the most about is romantic love. Romance has in it that temporary factor of the loves that are more so likes and interests but it also holds the quality of being something permanent. We want to love somebody, to be with them forever, to have them as a part of our life, to perhaps marry them and become a family with them. For many there are many loves throughout their lives, though they say that you will always remember your first, which also has a permanent quality to it. When we do cease to love somebody, we tend to attribute it to various reasons, whether it be a simple drifting apart over time, or the person turning out to not be who we thought they were, or the person turning out to not be what they wanted. These seem to involve a change of some sort, whether it be a change in perception of the person, perhaps even due to an actual change that the person has made or merely due to finding out more about who they already were, or a change in our own preferences whether due to our tastes changing or due to us realizing what it really is that we desired from the beginning.

When we stop loving somebody, did we really love them to begin with?


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