Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Foolish Heart's View of Love (Part One)

"You are what you love, not what loves you."

If you've been following along with me for any length of time you'll know that I'm generally a big mushy sap. Most of my poetry and short stories (as well as many blog posts) revolve around relationships, emotional and physical attractions and love. Yet after all this time I realize I've never shared my views of what I think love is. Some of it may come as a surprise to you, because while there are many things I romanticize I also don't cling to some commonly-held notions. I will say one thing, love is incredibly complex. I'll break this down and hope I'm not too random with it all...

Love at first sight

As much as I Iike the idea I don't believe in love at first sight. The notion that you can love someone with just a look doesn't compute for me; other than physical appearance what are these feelings based on? Physical attraction, lust and everything related is delicious but it's not love. Now, if you were to see someone showing kindness to a child or rescuing a puppy from a burning building (or better yet rescuing a child with a puppy from a burning building) and it moved you emotionally then yes, I could understand how it could stir something inside you. But is it real love? I don't think so.


Again not so much. Maybe there really is such a thing as a soulmate for each of us, but in a world of almost seven billion people what are the chances of finding that person? While I completely agree many of us find a partner who seems perfectly suited, are they the only one in the entire human race for us? And if we have found our soulmate, why is it they're almost always placed geographically close to us and not on the other side of the world?  I love the romantic notion of soulmates, I really do, but the realist in me has a hard time buying into it.

Platonic friends

It's been said a million times that men and women can't just be friends; sooner or later one of them will want something more. I don't agree it applies all of the time, but I also know it's happened a million times. Make that a billion. As far as on-line friendships are concerned maybe it's a bit different having the physical closeness removed, because although I've developed some close relationships with my blogging friends and in some cases we've admitted a fondness for each other, we keep our friendships in check. They're very caring and mean the world to me, but they're not romantic.

At the same time I've never felt threatened when friends have expressed romantic or sexual feelings, if anything it's flattering. I've never been too concerned about it, because in the end it won't lead to anything further unless those feelings are reciprocated. Before I met Sandy there was one particular female friend whom I used to hang out with. She was a lot of fun, very cultured and intelligent. I wasn't attracted to her beyond this, but she felt something for me. I knew it, her best friend pointed it out, my circle of friends said so. But she denied it.

When Sandy came into the picture she picked up on it right away. From my point of view the dynamic of my relationship with this girl hadn't changed, I had romantic feelings for Sandy and we dated exclusively.  My friendship continued but... she continued to deny how she felt. Sandy felt threatened by this, and rightly so because she couldn't trust her intentions. I can't recall the circumstances but within a short time that friendship faded. I wasn't blind to the fact that their views of this situation were far different than mine.

Friends with benefits
Has nothing to do with love, I'm just including it here because..God...I wish I'd had more of it when I was single.
Being "in love" vs. loving

After all this time I'm only beginning to understand the difference, I've always had a hard time defining it. I'm going to keep this part short because honestly I'm still unsure. How do you differentiate between being "in love" with someone vs. loving them?

Next...is there enough for everyone?


  1. Hi Barry. Absolutely great post. Sounds like a lot of "thought" went into it. And thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers to a fabulous 2011.

  2. I love this post. Couldn't agree more with you, when it comes to relationships & love the two are too complex to try to personify in words or "common" situations.

    Everyones story is different.

  3. These are great...

    For me falling in love with someone and loving them are so different but in very subtle ways. This could take a whole blog post for me to articulate but for an example...
    When you are falling in love with someone you tend to overlook their faults, where as when you are loving them you recognize that everyone is flawed. Also I think the act of falling in love is based on a feeling where as loving someone is made from conscious decision. (even if that doesn't sound so romantic)

    If that makes sense.

  4. Thanks Heather! Hope 2011 brings all you wish for. :)

  5. You're right Legs, everyone has a different story to tell.

    Marisa, I think I get what you're saying. If you ever decide to blog about it let me know, I'd love to hear further thoughts from you. :)

  6. It was interesting when we were first dating. Since our "introduction" (since i refuse to qualify that as our first date) was not good, but then several months later reconnecting, and then spending so many hours talking before we actually got together again, I had started to fall in love with you.
    I sometimes think that online friendships are no safer, no less complicated than personal friendships. It's so easy for women to get caught up in things. And it's actually easier I think to fall for someone when the physical is removed.
    Just my opinion....

  7. Barry honestly speaking your posts always make me think about things I have not thought about in years . At least not in this way. I loved reading every bit of it and looking forward to the next segment.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Tashrin from Toronto, Canada

  8. Honey, in many ways I can agree with this. Being on-line allows us to project who we are; when we're removed from someone else we're able to reveal our best sides and sometimes appear more 'perfect' than we are.

    Tashrin, thanks for this. I'm not looking for anyone to necessarily agree with what I write, but if it gets you thinking it's the best thing I could hope for.

  9. I really like what Marisa said, she said it so much better than how I was going to.

  10. Barry & Sandy, happy new year dears.may this coming year bring you all what you wish and keeps you healthy.
    now, barry, I agree with your point of view regarding soumate and geographic place.you know i hoped to find mine elsewhere than home.but you know what, it never worked out.the distance was always a barrier for both of us to get to know eachother better.if practically i am to look for a soulmate now, I HAVE to stick to my choices here, becuase otherwise there is no chance.
    which made me decide not to look :)))
    can't imagine myself married to an arab man

    me too. always wondered about the difference between being in love and loving someone.
    when you know the difference, i'd be grateful if you share the knowledge

  11. There is a lot of wisdom in your words - I agree with what you've said, with regards to platonic friends, soul mates and love at first sight. In many cases love grows slowly (it's hardly love if simply based on superficial physical beauty), but I also think there's something to be said about forming an instantaneous connection with somebody, a bond if you must, where conversation flows more easily and freely with someone than it does with another. Although, it's unlikely that love happens after a few short conversations, I also think there's something to be said about the strength of the bond we form with someone who puts us at such great ease, so quickly.

    You are brave for wanting to explore friends-with-benefits territory. For whatever reason, I've never quite been able to digest the idea of it, because I know me and I would always want something more - an emotional connection; this arrangement would simply never be enough. Maybe this is because I am a woman. Also, I would wonder, am I not good enough to pursue in a relationship? But then again, maybe this is my overly feminine nature speaking. :)