Home » All You Need Series, Love & Relationships

Is It Really Love?

2 February 2010 72 Comments

Love is Irrelevant

I’ve only loved the impossible.

I have screwed up every relationship with every incredible, beautiful, smart and funny woman that I’ve been with.

I’ve only felt the passion of love with those that lived in other countries, that were way older than me when I was a teenager, and with many other examples of complication, some definitely not safe for work.

I even overcame the impossible with some of them, only to get bored after wards.

Yes, I am a mess when it comes to feelings, relationships and vulnerability, I’ll give you that. But there’s another reason why “love” has been so hard to find in my life:

I have no idea what love means.

Love is another one of those words that I kinda hate, like happiness or passion. I hate them because they are so imprecise. When you see movies like “The Notebook”, or “Pride and Prejudice”, with scenes as dreamy and perfect as they can be, you end up believing that love is a universal concept. You end up believing that passionate kisses under the rain in beautiful settings with models is what love should be like.

That’s why I “love” those impossible girls in my life. Because they are my own Hollywood movie. It’s thrilling, exciting, and fun.

But is it really love?

I’ve been in a serious relationship only once. And I didn’t love my girlfriend. But you know what? It worked very well, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Maybe passionate “love” is not what working relationships are supposed to be about.

I really don’t know what love is, and I don’t care anymore. Is it really what we should aim for? What about sex? Laughter? Beauty? Intelligence? Money? Culture? Family? Are you going to tell me that those things don’t matter? Or are you going to tell me that love includes all those things working in perfect harmony?

Because I don’t buy it. Let’s stop lying to ourselves.

The rationalizations of the people that have settled are hurting those that are still looking.

Define love in your own way, or ignore it completely. Love is irrelevant at this point.

Knowing yourself is much more useful.

All You Need Blogger: Carlos Miceli

Carlos is an Argentinian philosophy lover, who surfs through life smiling, debating and reading. He blogs at OwlSparks, and is also co-founder of Untemplater, the guide to shatter the untemplate lifestyle!  Follow him on Twitter @carlosmic

Song: Billie Holliday – I’ll Be Seeing You

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  • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

    Oh, Hollywood — that place where a lifetime is condensed into a two-hour happily-ever-after. My favorite author, Peter S. Beagle, once wrote “there is no happy ever after because nothing ends.” Coincidentally, in the same book, he writes: “The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.” Except, for the characters in The Notebook and Pride and Prejudice and all those other romantic movies, that’s exactly where their happy ending, well, ends.

    There is so much more to a life. There’s so much more in those little moments in between — after that first kiss, before years of togetherness. There’s so much more, and that’s where the deception with Hollywood perception is, I think.

    And yet. What do you feel at the end of those movies? Doesn’t your heart swell in triumph that the leads find that love. Don’t you feel a bit of longing yourself? Doesn’t it make you think either “I have that” or “I want that?” Yes, it makes you believe in something that’s perhaps unattainable to the degree that they produce. But I think what’s important is that it makes you believe in something. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Especially when what you believe in is love.

    I believe love is passion. I believe love is romance and butterflies and the blush of your cheeks. But I also believe that love is a comfortable silence as you watch TV on the couch at night; I believe that love is deciding to settle down together to grow a family — to take care of something more than yourself. I do believe that love is laughter and beauty and intelligence. I think love encapsulates it all.

    I always respect your opinions and love reading your posts, Carlos. You make me think about things in a whole new light and this post is no exception; I’ll always admire that. And yet, in this case, you’ve helped me to see what I really believe in, cementing my own opinions — and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate and respect that as well. I personally believe love means everything. I hope it always will.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

      Susan – I agree with you on this one! I love seeing Carlos’ take on things because even if I don’t agree it forces me to see things from a different perspective and re-evaluate my own thoughts.

      When I first read Carlos’ post I was all fist-bumpy “Yeah, you tell them” for the first half and then the second half was all “Seriously dude, stop!” Then I re-read it after I had gotten some other posts and thought more about the whole thing.

      I agree with him in this respect: The movies would have you believe that love is only the perfect moments and that a relationships sustains on them alone. I believe that the cornerstone of an intimate relationship (whether romantically intimate or just close-friend intimate) needs to be love. However I believe there are so many other pieces that come into play (sex, intelligence, money, laughter, etc.) that we often overlook because we are all looking for our perfect Hollywood ending. And I say overlook meaning that we think they are either highly important or unimportant in our own minds, but base that on what we are “told” rather than what we believe.

      However, at the end of the day, I will say that the foundation for those relationships is love. Love for not only the other person, but love for ourselves. There may be irreconcilable differences that cause a relationship to not work out, but without love do we even try?

      • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

        But you didn’t read what I said 😛

        If love is truly the foundation of every relationship, then how is it possible that me and my girlfriend had such a great relationship, without loving each other?

        Susan, my heart does tell me that what I’m seeing it’s beautiful, and that’s the problem. I’m not that guy. I have to go back to reality after that, and now I have to do it while looking for something that doesn’t exist.

        One more thing girls: believing is beautiful. But that does not make it true. That does not make it real. I’m not trying to be the mean guy here, but believing in something just because is beautiful is a recipe for some big regrets later on.
        .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

          Did you not have any love with your girlfriend or did you just not have the syrupy Hollywood-influenced romantic passionate impossible love?

          I have yet to meet anyone who really does. At least in a sustainable fashion.

        • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

          You say you’re not that guy, but I am that girl. I don’t know — I don’t know how to respond to this because you’re a realist and I’m a dreamer and both perspectives are great, but very, very different. I told you I always learn something from you, even if I don’t agree 😉

          I don’t quite understand what is meant by seeing beauty and then going back to reality. Maybe love is subjective. In that case, maybe reality is subjective, too. I usually begin my thoughts with I think or I believe, but of this I’m absolutely certain and so I’m saying it with conviction: love exists. That’s my reality. Maybe we don’t recognize it as love, maybe it doesn’t look exactly as we had imagined, but that’s not to say it isn’t there. And I don’t just mean romantic love, I mean LOVE. At it’s full capacity.

          It’s a funny thing, the idea of believing. A little off the subject, but I ask you this to make a point: Why do so many people pray to a God that they’ve never seen and rarely heard? Why do they congregate at churches and temples and sing hymns and say Amen. Because they feel it. Because they believe in it. I’ve felt love. I feel it around me every single day in my family, my friends, in relationships…And that’s why I believe in love, because I’m certain that it exists. And I have promised myself that I won’t ever regret from having loved. I may regret the outcome, I may regret failed relationships and broken hearts. But I will never, ever regret loving to the depths that I do.

          I don’t believe in love just because it’s beautiful. Maybe it’s beautiful because we believe in it.

        • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

          Of course love and reality are subjective. That’s how it’s possible for polygamous and polyamorous relationships to work, open relationships, perpetual singles, couples who are together decades without marrying, couples divorsed at 23.

          Part of the problem is how watered down the word “love” is for something that is supposed to be so all encompasing. The Greeks may have had it right with their different words with specific meanings: Eros, Agape, Philos – there are a multitude of ways to say you are angry and the degree in which you are: upset, peeved, bothered, annoyed, irritated, aggrivated, etc. But for love – what is there: Like? Love? Lust? How do you express how you care for your mother, the joy you find on a walk, the smile that comes when you see your niece, and the whatever it is you feel for your partner? How can they all be explained by the same word that is so subjective that no one can define it and those who do all have a different definition?

  • http://lifeaftercollege.org Jenny Blake

    Carlos – I know you can’t see me over here, but I am standing up clapping!! I loved this post.

    It is so true that we fantasize about this one version of love that we see in movies and on TV – never knowing if that is actually attainable but (I speak for myself) – somehow feeling bad that I haven’t felt it. I’ve experienced different levels of love – and I think they are all valid in their own ways, even if they aren’t The Notebook level of passionate crazy bliss where the couple goes running off into the sunset (or more accurately, old age) together. Besides, we experience love in new ways as we grow up and mature – most importantly – as we get to know ourselves as you so wisely suggest at the end.

    “Define love in your own way, or ignore it completely.’ – Amen!
    .-= Jenny Blake´s last blog ..Guest Post: Task-Hopping Got You Down? =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

      Jenny – I hear you sister on the “feeling bad that we haven’t achieved it.” As Susan said above, love happens just as much in the little moments between a first kiss and the proposal and the wedding day and the birth of children and and and (however you imagine your Hollywood ending turning out.) But the movies don’t show as many of those little moments.

      I once told a friend that the scariest thing in the world to me was a boy hugging me and kissing me on the forehead. More than kissing, hugging, sex, anything this gesture represents pure open and unassuming love. And it’s making me feel all sick just THINKING about it. I don’t know, maybe too many monster movies where I assume they will eat thru to my brain. 😛

      • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

        I have to be completely honest here. I don’t feel bad that I haven’t achieved movie love, whatever that is. I just feel bad that somewhere in my mind I feel the need to.

        I don’t care about movie love. So many people that have settled talk about love, when they would much rather be with somebody else.

        I care more about not having had sex on the beach with someone I cared about, or about not taking a trip with a girl and having breakfast in bed in a hotel. I care about the experiences that I haven’t had yet, not about the feelings that I’m supposed to have.
        .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.thesquab.com Shane Mac

      I know you can’t see me right now, but I am just smiling.

      -Shane Mac
      @shanemacsays
      .-= Shane Mac´s last blog ..Twitter Changed My Life – Episode #2 =-.

  • http://thriveable.com Jenny Ferry

    Bravo, Carlos!

    Ok, I’m going to chime in and second what Jenny B said. You absolutely *do* experience love (however you define it…) in new ways as you grow & expand yourself. For me, I look for a person and/or experience that brings me fully alive. Some wild fusion of physical, emotional, mental & spiritual energy that unfortunately shouldn’t get a label slapped on it with a corny little four-letter word. My own definition now includes, without being narcissistic, having this feeling towards myself first & foremost. Not sure if it’s sage advice yet, but take it from this 47-year old mama freshly back in the dating scene: take out the “o” and add an “i” – go for unequivocally feeling A-LIVE!
    .-= Jenny Ferry´s last blog ..fork in the road =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

      Jenny – Wonderful insight! Sometimes the best way to tell love and if it’s good for us is how it makes US feel and how we see ourselves because of it. I know, sounds selfish, but love should probably be something that makes us the best versions of ourselves.

      Sure, sometimes it makes us scream as we fall into a toilet bowl when the seat lid gets left up, but in reality love really does complete us. It isn’t up to another person or anything like that, but the power of being loved, loving in return and most importantly loving ourselves is what makes us whole. Makes us feel alive.

      Reminds me of Joey Lauren Adams song from “Chasing Amy” – I want to feel pleasure I want to feel pain, I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh or come make me cry, just make me feel alive.”

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      The thing that boggles my mind the most is how we are all pretending that we don’t play games. Like feelings is the only thing that matters……like in the movies. There, love trumps it all.

      In reality? We try not to look needy, desperate, horny. We try to cover the fact that we may like more than one people at the same time.

      In reality, we act NOTHING like we say we act, we are the most irrational beings ever since we don’t do what we should do to really get that “love” that we want so much. Especially girls 😛

      I’m gonna stick to the games, they will get me closer to good experiences than faith or belief ever will.

  • http://www.strawberryghetto.blogspot.com Mehnaz

    Carlos, if I had a dollar for every time I tried to explain this concept to people, I would be a comfortably well off woman.

    I don’t believe that love doesn’t exist. I just believe that it is 1. Overrated 2. Unrealistic. We have hollywood ideas of love that I just don’t think work out in the end.
    I’m more of a right fit kind of girl. A guy who connects on more than one level with me is what I’d be looking for. This is not to say I’d never fall in love. I think I might have once and it was the most miserable experience of my life (if by butterflies, we mean vomit, then I’ve been there).

    We put too much weight on love and we forget the other important things that make a relationship. thanks for the reminder :)

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

      Mehnaz – So true! As I mentioned above, love is a pivotal foundation for most any close relationship (romantic or platonic) but it isn’t the only thing to consider.

      Just look at the divorce rates (both here in the US and over the border in your neck of the woods!) Close to 50% of us are obviously planning on love getting us through it all but in reality there has to be something for thinking and reality and all the “un-Hollywood” stuff that comes with it.

      I mean really, who the hell wakes up looking like they’ve had a team of stylist elves getting them all glammed up for an adorable morning bed-talk scene?! :)

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      Unrealistic? So it doesn’t exist. Like I said, I’m not saying that love does not exist. I’m saying I don’t care anymore, I’m saying that is irrelevant.

      I like this part: “This is not to say I’d never fall in love. I think I might have once and it was the most miserable experience of my life (if by butterflies, we mean vomit, then I’ve been there).”

      Girls love bad guys.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://lifeisbutastage.wordpress.com Robert

      Love is like success: you’ve got to define it for yourself and it’s not just an experience/result but the journey/work.

      Of course love exists, by my definition, love is connecting. Wherever we focus our attention in a positive way is an act of love. It seems though, that here, the discussion is about the by-product of the act of love, the emotional residue, the deep sense of bonding that comes from the act of love.

      Does anyone just up and experience these feelings? I’ve never felt these feelings without putting in a lot of love. Maybe I thought I felt them-lust- but that was shot from my mind as soon as I shot my load.

      Sure hollywood puts on a fantasy, but it does they blow up everything. I say love is like success because few people put in the work. I guess hollywood cut out too much of the fighting and makeup sex scenes; consequently, everyone forgets all the work involved. I’ve experienced the hollywood fantasies of love-though it was still lust- but only after I proactively worked to see them

      • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

        “Maybe I thought I felt them-lust- but that was shot from my mind as soon as I shot my load.”

        Awesome.
        .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

  • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

    Maybe love is simply something a little quieter, a little more subtler than the heady rush of emotion and passion that is on the screen or in the pages. That extreme passion seems so much more like lust to me – we get caught up in it all and crash down into the boring. Maybe love is a little more basic because it is about finding someone who to be comfortable with without the chaos of confusing love and lust.

    That said, beautiful post – everything in life is about finding what works for you and not what it’s supposed to be or how it’s supposed to go.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

      Christina – Sometimes comments come across that I stare at trying to write a response more engaging than “Yep.” But I’m at a loss, you summed it up quite nicely.

      The only thing I’d offer, and I don’t think it is what you are saying but the way you said it made me think…sometimes being comfortable gets in the way of finding that basic love. Cause we stay in places that are comfortable to us (single for fear of commitment, bad relationships for fear of being single again, crushes for fear of rejection, etc.) and miss out on opportunities for something more. Even if something more is just someone to do the NYT crossword puzzle with in jammie pants on Sundays. :)

      • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

        Definitely should have clarified “comfort” – I meant comfortable in a way that isn’t habit or based on fear of the unknown, but comfortable in a way that makes us happy each day – something that feels right without feeling like we have to impress or put on masks, and in turn also makes us want to make our partner feel the same way. Sure there is work in a relationship, but it’s sort of like a job – every job has the awful and mundane chores – it’s the fact that we love what we do that makes the bad okay.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

          I figured, I just wanted to be able to spark more conversation and thought off your awesome comment! :)

  • http://www.needlemeethaystack.com Andrew

    Love is irrelevant because it tells only a part of the story.

    Liking someone is critical: do you actually get along? Do you enjoy their company? Can you stand to be around them for extended periods of time? Are you okay with their quirks?

    Becoming involved with someone is about more than smooching in the rain or dramatic professions of devotion shouted across rooftops. Attraction, passion, tolerance, understanding, friendship, devotion and even complacency – these are some of the pieces, and they’re what’s really important.

    How you arrange the pieces together and what comes out of it? Sometimes that’s love. And sometimes it’s not. Your definitions are irrelevant as long as something exists.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..And Here’s the Post Where I Alienate a Bunch of People =-.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      “Sometimes that’s love. And sometimes it’s not. Your definitions are irrelevant as long as something exists.”

      FINALLY someone that read what I said.

      I would be a in a love-less working relationship anytime over a 6-month relationship full of love and nothing else.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Andrew – I agree with you that there is so much more to a relationship than just loving someone. I’m always amazed with people who get married and have never lived together. I know some can do it and live happily “til death do us part” married lives together. I know that the first time someone puts the dishes away the wrong way I’ll get irked and by the third time I’ll flip my shit.

      But what causes you to stay with someone after you flip your shit? Cause believe me, I’m a shit-flipper.

      Saying love is an irrelevant part of the equation for a recipe is like saying baking powder is an irrelevant part of chocolate chip cookies. It isn’t the only ingredient, it isn’t the most memorable or even greatest “amounted” ingredient. But without it you have flat pasty cookie pucks to eat.

      It certainly isn’t the ONLY ingredient nor the most important. But it is a part of it, and that can’t be ignored. If you want to have good chocolate chip cookies at least. :)

      • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

        Why is the msot important? Because it sounds so pretty? I’m sorry, I believe language, sex chemistry, money situation and age will destroy 99,9% of couples in love.

        And not even get me started on marriage 😛
        .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

          I think you misread me…I said it ISN’T the most important. It is a part of it. But for ME it is an important part. Those other things you mention can be JUST as fleeting.

          Basing a relationship on ANY one thing is a recipe for disaster.

      • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

        But there are many different type of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there – many which don’t require baking soda.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

          So you want a relationship without love?

  • http://www.ryanjknapp.com Ryan

    Love is all about the boring stuff. After the honeymoon period of 6 months, you realize that this is going to be more than just wanting to rip each other’s clothes off everytime you see them.

    I just got married in October and married life is pretty boring. As I type this my wife is laying down watching HGTV while my dog sleeps on her bed and I sit in my recliner. Pretty much sums up most nights around here.

    Our lives are not filled with movie scenes. The movies don’t explain what to do when you struggle with money, when you have to argue who wants to do laundry, who cleans the dishes and who gets up at midnight to take the dog outside.

    When you realize that love isn’t these ridiculous movie cliches you will do okay. I’ve never searched for movie love nor really gave a crap about it.

    For us, our love is being secure with ourselves, but also knowing that our lives are better off together because together we can achieve more.
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..Where Would Soccer Be Without : Forums/Message Boards =-.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      Maybe you are right, but I hope not. It’s a definition too utilitarian for my taste. I prefer a relationship without love and without boredom.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Ryan – Thanks for bringing in a married opinion on this. I definitely think that it is an important one to have because I have many friends who love their spouses but also live the life of comfortable love rather than the constant passionate kisses in the rain love. Sure, those moments find their way in but the *reality* is moreso recliners and HGTV.

      It does make me wonder…what is the foundation of it all? When the money problems or laundry problems or other problems come up what makes you decide to push on and work to stay together. I want to say love, but is that too idealistic?

  • http://theoptimalists.net Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists

    Los,

    Seems you need a another man’s perspective in this conversation. When I started reading the post, not knowing it had been written by you, I kept thinking, ‘Man, this guy sounds just like me’.

    “I’ve only loved the impossible.

    I have screwed up every relationship with every incredible, beautiful, smart and funny woman that I’ve been with.

    I’ve only felt the passion of love with those that lived in other countries, that were way older than me when I was a teenager, and with many other examples of complication, some definitely not safe for work.

    I even overcame the impossible with some of them, only to get bored after wards.

    Yes, I am a mess when it comes to feelings, relationships and vulnerability, I’ll give you that. But there’s another reason why “love” has been so hard to find in my life:

    I have no idea what love means.”

    Man, can I relate? My last three relationships (more like misadventures in seeking the impossible dream) have been with women that were nowhere near my area code. They weren’t fitting the rest of the puzzle that is my life. One was from Finland. Another from Turkey. And the other… well … you get the picture. With all of them I had this feeling of inevitability that things couldn’t work out in the end, but i kept forcing myself into bad situations thinking I could make them work. Thinking the more challenging it was, the less it made sense, the more powerful the happily ever after.

    I used to be, and in some ways still I am, a filmmaker. So I prescribe to the Hollywood state of mind to some degree. I find myself often thinking of my life in scenes and acts, wondering how the story ends. For a long time I scoured the Earth searching for that love. I defied logic and reason seeking my slice of the eternal fruit. But after several tries, and as time goes by, I’m not sure it’s there. And if it is, I’m not sure it even matters.

    I no longer seek it out, but am open to the possibility that it may come to me. Generally I find, it’s not the way it works. From what I can tell, you never end up with the girl you would shake the Earth and cross ocean’s for. You are more likely to end up with the one that is waiting for you when you get back.
    .-= Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists´s last blog ..THE OPTIMAL QUESTIONS | Photographer Salvi Colom =-.

    • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

      You’re not willing to shake the Earth, but we’re supposed to wait?

      Thanks, but no thanks!

      It’s so easy to fall for the ones that can’t be – we know going in that it won’t work out and don’t suffer in the long run (I’ve certainly done it, and still do!). I sometimes think love is less a feeling and more a choice – the thing is, if you won’t choose the shake the earth, I’m going to choose find someone to wait for who will. All that waiting is just another side of the Hollywood mythos (or brainwashing).

      • http://theoptimalists.net Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists

        I think I did not express my point very clearly. And for that I apologize. I didn’t mean that I am resigned to just sitting around waiting for something to come along, and that when it does, I am not willing to go to great lengths for that person, or to move and inspire them as i would the one that ‘got away’. Or that i will not love them the same, if not more.

        What I meant is that I need to be more patient. I feel at times I have jumped the gun on the things that weren’t, in the end, what they seemed to be at the start. And several of my relationships have suffered for it, and so have I. Then you risk leading someone on, and leading yourself on. In my case it has gone both ways.
        I am learning to move more slowly, to really understand what is shared, and who the person is before I start realigning the planets (if that makes any sense).

        I see many of my friends, who are married, and it’s clear they went with what was safe. Both men and women. They went, not with what they loved, but with what they knew they could count on. That’s why I made the point of ‘ending up with the person that is waiting for you when you get back.’ I wasn’t talking about me.

        Sometimes I wonder if they know something I don’t. Or if its the other way around. In either case, I have chosen to wait. But not sit at home and be comfortable type of waiting. I want to chose the person I love and spend the rest of my life with. I don’t want to be with someone simply because they are standing six inches in front of my face.

        I like that you say that love is a choice. The women I have loved, it is because I chose to. Even if at some point thereafter, for whatever reason, we chose to unlove each other.
        .-= Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists´s last blog ..THE OPTIMAL QUESTIONS | Photographer Salvi Colom =-.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      Or you end up alone. I’m fine with that as well.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Gianpaolo – You are very correct. We sometimes search the world over for earth moving-sky shattering-movie scene riddled love and relationships. We pass right by the folks that maybe aren’t as flashy and in our face, but I’m a firm believer in the choices we make. We probably aren’t with them because there are other things we have to work through first.

      When the other pieces have fallen into place, and we maybe have learned a bit from our love escapades, then we seem to be ready for the person who was waiting when we got back. Or we met when we got back and were ready to settle down a bit.

      • http://theoptimalists.net Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists

        Really what I meant was more the latter of thetwo you describe. There not really waiting, but that seems to be when we tend to meet them.
        .-= Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists´s last blog ..DONT THINK WHAT IS | Think What You Want To Be =-.

  • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

    This conversation is fascinating, so I’d like to continue it…

    @Christina: I absolutely adore the fact that you bring up the Greeks — what a great contribution to this debate! Different meanings for different words in order to express the different levels of emotions. I agree with you there. How we care for our family vs how we care for our friends vs how we care for our significant others all vary — when you strip away all the details, what you have there at the very core of all of that is love. Plain and simple. Just love. I do believe that it encompasses all. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to define — because it’s such a huge thing.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to define it. Literary figures and philosophers have been trying to do so for centuries. So maybe it’s not a question of “does it exist” but “where do I find that in my own life.” Maybe it’s not asking “do you love” but, rather, “how do you love.”

    Really looking forward to reading your continued thoughts.
    .-= Susan Pogorzelski´s last blog ..Resolution For Happiness =-.

    • http://theoptimalists.net Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists

      Christina,

      You make an excellent point. “Does it exist?” is irrelevant. The word itself is irrelevant. Love. A series of symbols put together in a specific combination to make a sound that we can understand when heard. There is absolutely no point in trying to define it. I would take that off my to do list. Philosophers and poets (though I love their work) have been wasting their time. Love, the concept, is not communal. It is individual. It does not come from without, but manifests itself within.

      The only thing I would say is, when it is there … you will know it. That is when you make the CHOICE. You surrender to it … or relinquish it. That’s the easy part. The hard part is defining the reasons for doing one or the other.
      .-= Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists´s last blog ..THE OPTIMAL QUESTIONS | Photographer Salvi Colom =-.

      • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

        Why will you know it? We love these Hollywood expressions, like “you’ll know it” and the only thing they do is make us keep waiting for something that there’s no logical reason it will happen. Desire does not make reality.

        I embraced reality, and are having way too much fun to go back to dreaming.

        • http://theoptimalists.net Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists

          I’m with you Carlos, but if something came along and slapped me in the face, I would remain open to let myself feel the pain, or the ecstasy…
          .-= Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists´s last blog ..DONT THINK WHAT IS | Think What You Want To Be =-.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com Sam Karol

    Oh Carlos, always making us think! I can’t write everything I want to write in response to your post because it would totally give away my post for this series, but I can say that I disagree with you. Love is not irrelevant. Far from it. Love doesn’t have a dictionary definition. It has many different meanings to different people. It’s not just about romance, there’s much more to it than that. Love is rarely anything like they portray it in the movies, and that’s what makes it so amazing. Even you, my friend, the passionate cynic, will one day find love. It’ll probably be when you least expect it.
    .-= Sam Karol´s last blog ..The Little Voice Inside My Head =-.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      I love how people took what I wrote, and decided to ignore some excerpts of it. I have felt love. It’s just not enough.

      I’m guessing all these people that are telling me that they have found love are already married and will stay with these people forever, because otherwise they are just proving my point
      Love is irrelevant in the sense that it’s just not enough. I care more about other more concrete things that I can appreciate.

      • http://www.lifeschocolates.com Sam Karol

        @Carlos Fair enough, and you’re obviously entitled to your opinion. But, so are other people. All I was trying to say is that you may feel love is irrelevant now, but that won’t necessarily always be the case.
        .-= Sam Karol´s last blog ..The Little Voice Inside My Head =-.

        • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

          Good point, the future may prove me wrong. But that’s the worst reason to do something. I prefer to focus on what the past has already proven me so far.
          .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

          I commented before in the series that you have to know where you’ve been to know where you are going. People say that they “had to go thru” things in the past to learn the valuable lessons for their future. But that, in my opinion, is bullshit.

          You have to LEARN from the lessons to have them be valuable. Otherwise they are just events that we happened to bounce off of as we floated through life. For me, I learned from about 8 years of uncommitted and passionate flings that love exists in different planes and different ways. I know I want something MORE now, but I’m still not sure what “IT” is.

          Here’s to the future, and each of us knowing enough about ourselves to make it a future that is good for both people.

  • http://diamondkt.blogspot.com David

    It’s easy to get caught up in all the rainbows and butterflies. Which is why it’s easy to mistake love for what is really just a strong crush, infatuation, or even lust. Sometimes we are in love with the idea of being in love. Meaning, you like the fantasy/romance idea of it all. The idea of being in love with someone, but not REALLY in love with them as a person per say. It’s difficult to distinguish between the two – when you are really in love or just heavily in like. Although they say you can’t truly love someone until you’ve seen them through the flu. That’s right. See them pale, weak, and vomiting. If they still make your heart soar even in their darkest moment, then you know it’s love. (That’s according to my Grandma.)

    It’s true that Hollywood tells us what love is SUPPOSED to look and feel like. I blame all those chick flicks, romantic comedies, and Hugh Grant. Unfortunately, we live in the real world where both life and love are unscripted. I think everyone’s definition of love varies and every relationship is different. But that isn’t to say that ridiculously, adorable girl that makes you feel like your chest is going to burst doesn’t exist! I have been in “crazy/head over heels/can’t live without you” love once before. So I know it does exist. And if you’re lucky, it finds you. Or you find it. Not sure exactly how that works? But feel blessed if it comes your way. Anyway, that is why I stay open…because you never know when lightening will strike!
    .-= David´s last blog ..Doodled Her Way Into My Heart =-.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      The fact that love exists does not make it relevant.
      I felt that same thing. I have felt love, if we are going to define it as “crazy/head over heels/can’t live without you.” So? It didn’t work out. And I’m guessing yours either, because you are not with that person anymore.

      Love is irrelevant, because you can’t make a relationship work just with love. For example, I think sex and money make more people stay together than love. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      David – Uh oh, if a boy has to see me sick to decide to be with me forever we could be in for some trouble. Not only does no one look cute while sick, but I am NOT an enjoyable sick person to be around. Oh dear…

      You are so very right…so many people are more in love with the idea of being in love. They don’t really know what “it” is or moreso the other pieces that are associated. Just love isn’t enough. Nor, do I believe, that any other “thing” is going to be enough. It’s everything together. But I really do want to believe that love is the “base camp” you keep coming back to. That way when everything else seems to fall apart, love really IS all you need cause it is what makes you decide whether you want to work at it or not.

      Sometimes the love even makes you realize that you need to give up on the relationship to keep yourself and/or the other person happy. Love doesn’t always mean that you are together no matter what. It’s more…

      • http://diamondkt.blogspot.com David

        YES! You said that perfect, Elisa! Once again you snatched the words out of my head that I couldn’t articulate. Thank you!

        While a host of other things (like money, personal beliefs, hobbies, sex drive, etc) may matter and do in fact play a part in a relationship, I think you’re 100% right that the base of the relationship has to come down to love. Because when the honeymoon phase wears off and you have money problems or whatever the hiccup may be, being able to love the other person through it all and being able to keep the relationship together is what really matters. Sounds cheesy, but the love is what will make you fight to work things out. It helps you weather the storm.

        And like you said…sometimes setting someone free is the ultimate act of love. Caring about someone else’s happiness enough to do right by them even if it means you have to let go. That in essence is why my “almost fiancée” and I broke up. That might be TMI, but it helps make my point.
        .-= David´s last blog ..Doodled Her Way Into My Heart =-.

  • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

    Regarding the reply to Christina:

    Elisa, you are assuming that love is the most important part of a working relationship. Maybe it’s not. I said on the post, and I’ll say it again. My relationships with “love” lasted very little, they were bursts of passion. My relationships without love BUT with all the other stuff lasted way more.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Again I ask where did it say that love was THE most important part? I said that love was an important piece, but I most definitely do not agree that it is the only piece.

      As I stated in my original post to kick off 2010, I think that there are many different ways to love. And many different outlets for it. For myself, I was engaged and about 8 months outside of a wedding. And I called it off. So as much as you wonder why people think you’ve never been in love I sit in awe wondering where anyone would get the impression that I would think that love is some magical pill that will make everything better.

      For me, I want it to be AN important piece, but I don’t want it to dictate my life/relationships/emotions and override any sense of reality or reason. I love myself too much for that.

      My questions to Christina was merely because I wanted to clarify what she was saying. In questioning the importance of baking powder, I was trying to follow the logical argument but making sure that’s what she meant (ie no baking powder in a cookie would equal the analogy of no love in a relationship)

      • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

        “Love” as we’re all talking about it is an extremely modern concept. Until very recently in mankinds history, relationships were not about love at all – Marriage was for security, finances, children and the idea of marrying for love was laughed at – because love of the bells-and-whistles passion variety was fleeting. If couples were in love, it came with time and the decision to make the best of each day by respecting your partner and the company they provided.

        I do like the idea of love as I interpert it, but others have a completely different interpertation which is what allows for such a wide variety of relationships to exist. What some call love I call complacency – it’s all a matter of viewpoint and what in life holds value for you. Love might be nice but if other values, needs, and wants don’t match-up than it is doomed love.

        It’s not a matter of a relationship being without love, it’s a matter of finding a combination of ingredients that works for each of us whether they’re vegan cookies or hace ice cream sandwiched in them, or dark chocolate chips vs milk chocolate, etc. Love isn’t the baking powder, it’s the cookie – what makes my cookie just might be vastly different than yours (btw, my cookies are wheat-free, dairy free, and have darkk chocolate chips. And while they are good, I prefer cupcakes)

        • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

          I take that back – it’s late and I’m typing on a tiny phone. I do like what I wrote though – pretty.

          Love is the baking soda. And I can take it or leave it.

          Example – I don’t want children – at all, ever. That changes the dynamic of every relationship I have unless he too doesn’t want children. No amount of love is going to save a relationship where he wants kids and I don’t because if one of us gives it we will grow resentful and ruin the love that had been there. And I don’t buy into the “I’d have rather loved and lost than never loved at all” idea because i’d rather recognize upfront that we’re better off as friends and letting him go off to find someone to have babies with.

          As an alternative, I have a loveless life as far as romantic relationships – which is what we’re talking about – go. I’ve been very happuly single for three years and it works very well for me even if it means being without romantic love.

        • http://www.stackedblog.com Christina

          I should really just go to bed now.

          Ultimately – final word before I talk myself into more circles:

          Love is baking soda. Not all cookies require baking soda to be successful. But some do. And simply adding it to a recipe won’t necessarily make a good cookie.

          Good-night.

        • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

          Haha, I’ve totally done the late night/early morning commenting that made sense when I typed it then upon re-examination made me go “Huh?” I’m gonna try to respond, but mostly to the last one (if THAT makes any sense!)

          I would agree with your assessment that it is more about the combination of ingredients. I would actually call someone foolish to try to make a lifelong commitment not wanting kids when their partner desperately wanting them. As I mentioned before, sometimes love is loving yourself and the other person enough to realize that things aren’t going to work out and making the difficult decision to separate instead of trying to cling to something that inevitably will fail. And generally those things fail in a big messy hurtful “unloving” manner.

          I’m glad that you have found cookies without baking power that you enjoy. I’ve lived without baking powder for a LONG while, so I’ll see your 3 years and raise you 8 more. I know totally what you are saying. What *I* am saying is that baking powder IS important for some people, and who are we to judge that. Only time I judge is those folks who cling to a dream without accepting the reality beating them over the head.

  • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

    @Christina

    No children? Calling other people’s love complacency?

    I think I’m in love.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..The Success Thing =-.

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  • http://www.simplystatedsolutions.com Nichole Bazemore

    Best line ever: The rationalizations of the people that have settled are hurting those that are still looking.

    The bigger question: just what have those who have settled settled FOR? Some people are in love with the idea of being in love, and no matter how much hell they might be catching on the inside, they’ll stick to it.

    As always, fab post, Carlos.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      Good question.

      They are settling for safety and avoiding the fear of being alone.

      They are terrified of looking for something better.

      They are using love as a way to justify their poor choices.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Love Is Irrelevant =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Nichole – That was one of my favorite lines from the post too. And I think it is the crux of the matter when people seek out things based on this romanticized concept of “love.” And all the people who gave up the things that were important to them because they were “in love” and settled into a relationship for safety/fear/ignorance have set far too low a bar for the rest of us.

      That’s when love becomes irrelevant…when we make it that way. The best thing any of us can do is accept reality (the ups and the downs) and exist within it. Hopefully with a love all our own.

  • http://doniree.com/ Doniree

    I like the notion that knowing yourself is much more important. I know myself better this year than I ever have. And it’s redefining my perspective on love.
    .-= Doniree´s last blog ..2 Legit [Lijit] 2 Quit (hey…hey…) =-.

    • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

      Doni – So true, how can we be fair to others in matters of the heart when we aren’t fair to ourselves. It is really in knowing ourselves and more importantly accepting that that we can truly begin to let others love us. Which I’m learning is a HUGE part of loving in return.

    • http://www.owlsparks.com/ Carlos Miceli

      Not only regarding your personality, but what you truly want. Do you want to have fun? Travel? Have great sex? I wonder if love, whatever it means to you, includes all that. Maybe love is not the best objective.
      .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Love Is Irrelevant =-.

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