Does that scare you?
I’ll let you run away
But your heart will not oblige you
You’ll remember me like a melody
Yeah, I’ll haunt the world inside you

— Fiona Apple, Slow Like Honey

I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately, and I want to know:

How do you know you’re in love? When was the last time you fell in love? Was it requited or not? Did you tell the person who inspired the feeling? Have you ever fallen out of love? How did you explain that to the other person? What do you do when you love a person you know you can’t have? Have you ever fallen in love unexpectedly?

You don’t have to answer all of those questions, but I’m interested in whatever you’re willing to share.


7 thoughts on “Love

  1. “…and heavy with mood.”

    This is a subject I’ve spent some time circling as well. Particularly when I’ve felt spurned or unfulfilled. It took me awhile to recognize that the “love” in this sense is another form of grasping and craving. As such it has little to do with another or feelings that result from a passionate interest in another.

    This idea of falling in love can be equated to falling into a state of wanting. Wanting is often made stronger when denied or ignored. In buddhism this notion is referred to as “the hungry ghost.”

    What I’ve found in my own experience is that what I would call love, in the sense to which you’re referring, was in reality a form of attachment to my own desires and my unhappiness was (is) a result of not getting what I want.

    And like the buddhists teach; attachment leads to suffering. But they also say that “life is suffering.” (It’s the first noble truth after all.)

    I ran some searches on the buddhist perspective on love and found one from Lama Surya Das:

    “This is how we love, Buddha-style: impartial to all, free from excessive attachment or false hope and expectation; accepting, tolerant, and forgiving. Buddhist non-attachment doesn’t imply complacence or indifference, or not having committed relationships or being passionately engaged with society, but rather has to do with our effort to defy change and resist the fact of impermanence and our mortality. By holding on to that which in any case is forever slipping through our fingers, we just get rope burn.”

  2. Spike’s got it, right with saying love “was in reality a form of attachment to my own desires and my unhappiness was (is) a result of not getting what I want.” I’d never thought about unrequited love, that way, but it fits me so well.

    The last time I fell in love (and I’m still in love), I didn’t mean to. In fact, I meant NOT to. I thought I was already in love with someone and I was waiting for them to get home from far, far away. We hadn’t agreed that we were in love, but that we would see what happens. In the meantime, I fell in love. Just like how everyone used to tell me (and infuriate me) that love happens when you least expect it and stop looking for it. I was having a good time, biding the last few months before my guy got home and woosh! I was swept up in love.

  3. “In the end I’d rather fight with you than make love to anyone else.”

    It depends on what your definition of love is. I was in love with my ex husband, I thought. Maybe I was in love with him, but it’s sae to say he didn’t truely love me. What I have come to realise is that among other things love is a mutual respect for each other, that didn’t exist.

    Or maybe that’s a whole other level, like true soulmate love, finding the other half to your whole. Where you have patience, kindness, respect, til death due us part, kind of love. I’ve never been there.

    The other thing about love is that it takes time to develop. You have to be able to survive once the inital feelings of lust wear off. You have to have built up long talks, mutual interests and experiences, so that when the infatuation is you have a solid foundation to keep building on. So that when you are frustrated that he doesn’t put the toilet seat down and you drive him crazy with your incessant need for cleanliness in the end you realise you still can’t live your life without the other person.

    Tue love exists. I absolutely believe it does, it just takes time, patience and compromise to nurture into a lifetime.

  4. “So I’ll stretch myself across like a bridge, and I’ll pull you to the edge…”

    This song was stuck in my head the other day and I was trying to figure out how to work it into a post, lol. It’s one of my favorites. Love me some Fiona.

    Love, to paraphrase John Lennon, is like life – it’s what happens when you’re busy makin’ other plans. I sure as hell didn’t intend to fall in love when I did. Time was wrong, circumstance was wrong and odds stacked against everything.

  5. Wow. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments, you guys.

    Spike, that’s an interesting take, that “what I would call love, in the sense to which you’re referring, was in reality a form of attachment to my own desires and my unhappiness was (is) a result of not getting what I want.” Because that suggests that what you felt then wasn’t really love. And so my question would be, how do you know if it really is love, or if you’re just finding what you think you want and calling it love?

    Karen, you’re so right about the mutual respect. And I’m sure I have no idea to whom you’re referring when you mention an “incessant need for cleanliness”! 😉

    Lyrically and Lydia, how did you recognize it then, if everything was wrong, and you weren’t looking, respectively?

  6. I knew because I found myself faced with things I’d never have tolerated before (including a psychotic exwife) and not running like hell in the other direction. Honestly, I guess at the time it struck me that the “bad things” together were easier to take than not being together…

  7. Melanie, perhaps I made the mistake of thinking I understood the “sense to which you’re referring” to love. I’m careful about what I call love so let me try to answer your question.

    How do you know if it really is love? I’m not sure one person can answer that for another. Love can take many forms. Love for one’s pet (you have an adorable cat), love for one’s parents, love for that stern yet devoted professor. But love at first sight is like a fire flaring up. Time will tell if it keeps burning. The love that keeps burning is the love that is tended to by more than just one tender.

    Enduring love, meaningful and lasting love, is that which remains when the fires of lustful exuberance wain. Love is realizing that putting the seat AND lid down is a compromise that all can live with. That love is the one that looks beneath the skin and beyond the bad moods. That is a love that learns by paying attention.

    From another who spoke of love at great length, Kahlil Gibran:

    “But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. ”

    And Fiona is fantastic, I totally agree. Another one that can stir the soul; Nina Simone.

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