Love, and other Incurable Diseases

      16 Comments on Love, and other Incurable Diseases

Lily Tomlin

I’ve had a lot of love thrown in my face lately, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

Not that I don’t want to be loved.  Of course I do.  But loving someone?  Truly?

Love…  Well, let’s just say love is a bit like Mike Tyson.  It’s batshit crazy, it packs a mean punch, it fights dirty, and when you’re a contender, it’s a damn good idea to cover your ears.

See, lately everyone (okay, maybe not everyone – but *at least* two people, and that is {1} more than enough, and {2} as annoying as listening to someone crunch carrots) is all “Oooooh, I’m in luuuurv” like it’s some kind of coma-inducing sugar high.  And you know what?  THAT’S NOT WHAT LOVE IS.  (What the fuck is up with that, by the way?  I thought springtime was when all the twitterpated idiots took to the streets.)  Love is not a when-it-feels-good emotion that comes and goes with the wind.


I had a conversation with a fellow blogger recently about love, about recognizing love for what it is.  I said, in part:

People are far too casual about throwing their words around. “I love you” does not mean “I think you’re neat and as long as everything stays fun, I will still love you.”

No. “I love you” means, on your worst day, I would walk through hell with you. It means I will be there when you don’t deserve it, and I will hold your hand and help you up when you fall, even if the proverbial trip was over your own two feet, and you deserved every scrape you got. It means caring for the whole person, the REAL person, regardless of their flaws. Perhaps because of them. And “I love you” is never NEVER about what you get. It’s what you give.

Sure. That'd be great. I'll take one of those, supersized. With fries.

Sure. That’d be great. I’ll take one of those, supersized. With fries.

Love is caring deeply for someone even when they don’t deserve it.  It is wanting the best for someone when they are at their worst.  It is not a feeling.  Or rather, it is not *only* a feeling.  It is what you have between two people (or more, if you’re into that – but I have decided opinions about relationship constructs and how emotions develop, and I don’t have time in this blog post to get into all that, so for now we’ll stick with the idea of two, mmmkay?) when the honeymoon is over, when the skeletons are out of the closet and rattling around the living room, when the money is gone and the patience has run out; it’s what you have when s/he draws the last (short) straw and places it on top of the load you’re already carrying, knowing it could break your camel’s back.

No, I’m not saying you look like a camel.  (I’m not saying you don’t, either…)  It was a metaphor, people.  Work with me, here!

We want to believe that love is easy.  That it’s a fuzzy blanket we can wrap around ourselves and that it cocoons us from all the frigid uncomfortable-ness of reality.

Ideally…  Sure.  I can buy that.  And sometimes, it is that way.

But have you ever had your heat go off in the dead of winter, when the winds are howling outside your window at gusts of 27 miles per hour while the snow and ice pelt against your drafty door?  A fuzzy blanket only goes so far in those situations.  And when you have to be someone else’s fuzzy blanket in the middle of a blizzard, your own hide goes unprotected.

And that’s the thing about love.  It leaves you unprotected.

I’ve had some rough patches in my love life over the past couple months.  My paramour made a unilateral decision that left me reeling, and my spouse…  Well, let’s just say he committed a major infraction.

There were tears.  On both occasions.

I.  Don’t.  Cry.

I fucking HATE crying.

I suck at touch-screen typing. But you get the point.

I suck at touch-screen typing. But you get the point.

We (the respective we’s) worked through it.  And if there’s one thing I am NOT afraid of, it is Work. Which is a good thing, I suppose. Because just loving someone? While it can be complicated, it doesn’t necessarily require much effort.  But acting on love? Showing it?  Making a successful relationship out of it?  That is a full-time endeavor.

As anyone who’s seen the beginning of the movie Grease knows, Love is a many-splendored thing (cue Olivia Newton-John running on the beach in all her tanned Sandra-Dee glory). But also, in the immortal words of The J Geils Band:  Love stinks (yeah, yeah).

And I know what some of you are thinking.  You’re thinking, “But but…  But love is warm and lovely and heats you from within.”

*insert gooey mushy endorphin-filled but-s/he/they-is/are-so-AWESOME blah blah, here*

Okay.  I can go with that.

Love = Heat, a la Comedienne:

Love is a fire.  But whether it’s going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.

~ Joan Crawford

Here’s a clue:  If you’re on fire for someone, that’s cool.  (Actually, it’s hot.)  But if what you’re feeling is dopamine-fueled, sex-induced, brain-addled melty-ness…  I strongly advise caution.  And if that *feeling* (and the feeling alone) is what’s convincing you that you luuuurv this person…  And if you have a desperate “need” to have your feelings reciprocated…  Come down to earth, please.  There’s a huge difference between love and limerence.

Nothing like having realistic expectations.

Nothing like having realistic expectations.

And, thanks to Completely Unrealistic Expectations, fueled by Disney, romance novels, poor relationship models (thanks, Mom & Dad), and beer, a lot of people cannot tell the difference. Especially if the ‘honeymoon phase’ lasts longer than a few weeks, because the unthinking masses average person has the attention span of a gnat and has been brainwashed by popular media to believe that anything that lasts more than a few weeks is somehow REAL.  And MEANINGFUL.  And OMG, if s/he’s shown me their best side via text and Facebook and a date or two for three.whole.WEEKS, they must be THE ONE!


We now interrupt this broadcast for an important announcement:

FEVERISH ADVISORY:  Do not marry someone you’ve only known for 6 months.  It is a Very Bad Idea.

You would think people would know better, but…  Nope.  I have known several people who have been blissfully happy in their marriages when they said their vows after a very short acquaintance.  Ecstatically happy, even.


For approximately three months.

And then shit gets real.

Real ugly.

Because the rose-covered glasses lose their pink.

A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.

~ Friederich Nietzche

There’s a reason they say love is blind.

And sometimes what we do – or think we *have to* do – is done equally blindly.  When we’re “in love” we do things towards Taking The Next Step that just serve to shove our loved ones (and our relationship{s} with them) into a pre-packaged set of parameters, and the result is that all of the beautiful, wonderful, unique, free-thinking qualities you love about that person become…  Squished.

I hate feeling squished.

I try very hard not to squish people.

Unless it’s between my thighs.  But I can’t really help it that I’m strong, and that I’m slightly sensitive, and responsive…and that’s not what we’re talking about right now…

*pulls mental meanderings back to the topic at hand*

Going back to the blogging conversation I mentioned above:  It’s easy to get caught up in the “We love each other, so what now?” cycle of Following The Standard Plan.  But…  As I expressed to my fellow conversant:  WHY?

Love… Well, it’s not quite the same thing as Togetherness. So I understand what you mean about “What then?”, because I think we have these Expectations about Commitment(s) and Next Steps and Joining Our Lives, and really… Maybe – just maybe – that’s not where the focus should be.

Stand together a while. Choose a direction. Take a step. Re-evaluate. Be side by side and take it all in. Choose a direction. Take a step.

Go on like that a while, without creating unnecessary forks in the road. See where it takes you.

You choose your own path, and you grow along the way. Why rush for the highway of Love = All The Things We Must Do? You needs must do… Nothing. Anything. Something. Everything. Different.

Dare to be different.

Go ahead and feel.  But dare to think.

Say the words.  But dare to act on them.  When things are *not* fantabulously PERFECT.  [insert fangurl squee, here:  __________ ]

Think about the future.  Make plans.  But do not follow the road less traveled.  Instead, dare to make new footprints along your own path.

Thrill to the butterflies that dance in your heart when you’re at your height.  But dare to not let go during the lows, and hang on for the ride when the rollercoaster corkscrews.


And, lest you believe I am one of those “never let go” people, let me state it clearly:  I do not believe that love means Always Holding On.  There are times when the healthiest thing to do is to let go.  (And that…  I have thousands and thousands of words I could write about that.)  But my point here is this:

Love – Real Love – is the absolute best and most terrible condition one can find themselves in.  It is one of the simplest, most complicated, easiest, most difficult things you will ever do in your life.


And when your ardor gets a bit arduous, or your emotions too onerous, step back, breathe, and if all else fails, channel Winnie-the-Pooh:


Proper Credit and All That Jazz: All images jacked from Google.

16 thoughts on “Love, and other Incurable Diseases

  1. dokurtybitz

    As always, you hit to topic square in the head, in your own meandering ‘squirrel!!’ way, you’ve taught me that love is open and giving and feels oh so right. Love the post and love you lady :-*

  2. cb

    Excellent post. Seriously excellent post.

    Love is hard work.

    “Love is caring deeply for someone even when they don’t deserve it. It is wanting the best for someone when they are at their worst.” – Yes yes yes

    The Mrs and I joke about sticking it out through thin and thin.

    Love is Real. Real, in a Velveteen Rabbit way. … That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

    * * * * *

    Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

    ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

    ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

    ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

    ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
    ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

  3. Dawn D

    Hey! I LOVE your way with words, your humour and what you have to say.
    I followed the link to limerence. It was very interesting. It is funny, because in a way, there is much I don’t know about love, having never really experienced it before (of course, it took me 20+ years to figure it out). So I wonder, I doubt… reading some articles you led me to helped me decide: yes, I am in love. And I think he is too. Considering we don’t fall in many of the symptoms of limerence and we do check a good few of the ‘what love is’ boxes.
    So this is bringing lots of relief to me and I can’t thank you enough for that. Yes, that conversation and this post were both eye and mind opening 🙂
    Now, as I wrote yesterday night (or was it this afternoon?) I have no idea where we’re going, nor at what pace. But I’ll enjoy strolling alongside him for as long as it goes.

    Now… I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say about more than two people being in love 😉

    1. Dawn D

      Also, I think the biggest thing for me is not all the boxes we tick, but… when I described my relaltionship to a very dear friend whom I don’t get to see very often, I told her “He touches my soul”. I think to me, that’s the proof. And it’s been like that from even before we actually met. Maybe that’s what they call love at first sight? Just seeing him across the room tickled my soul. And… it’s still being tickled, just more so every day…

    2. Mrs Fever Post author

      You have put a good deal of thought into what you are feeling, and it is through the sister lenses of Heart and Head that you are viewing (and interpreting) your experiences, both physical and emotional. That alone puts you miles ahead of the rest in terms of knowing – and understanding – your own feelings, and where they are leading. 🙂

      You say it’s taken 20+ years. One thing I’ve realized as I’ve matured is that when people end long-term relationships, they often revert back to the expectations and behaviors they had before said long-term relationship began. Which is why so many 40-yr-olds behave like adolescents when they re-enter the dating world after divorcing their spouse of 20 years. It’s an inevitable regression for most. But it doesn’t have to be. It takes self-awareness and a genuine desire (and effort!) to move past the past. But it can be done. From what I’ve read on your blog, I think you are very much in the present. 🙂

      As for the multi-love thing… It’s all a rather sticky wicket, but at its core, there is always a You and a Me and The Relationship Between Us. Even if there are multiple You’s, the base unit is always the triad: You, Me, and The Relationship. Can that be expanded? Yes. But a foundation is a foundation. And as any fan of Pythagorus knows, it takes three, and those are it.

      1. Dawn D

        Thank you for your reply.
        You are right, it has taken me a lot of work to get to where I am. I was determined to not reproduce the errors of my youth. What’s the point in leaving an abusive relationship if it’s to slide back into another one right away? Maybe the fact it was abusive and I managed to see it in time actually helped, in so far that it made me determined not to reproduce the same pattern. If it had only been a falling out of love (or limerence), then… it may have been harder!
        I still behave like a teen if you ask my husband, being irresponsible with many things. But… I can’t wrok on all fronts at once! However, feeling supported gives me energy to do the work, so I have hope 🙂
        And I love Pythagoras. Yes, I understand the triads. But… how do you make the triads fit together is another problem 😉
        Or you make a beautiful flower.
        I’ll have to think more about it. But not right now. Right now is sleep 🙂

  4. Fatal

    I’d like to say a lot about this. But for now the only thing I can formulate is that this was well needed and more than well written. As always, dear, you have a way with words.


  5. vixenincognola

    Mike Tyson… Preach on sistah!

    I think my whole “issue” with love is that once you love someone, truly love someone- what do you do with it?! I hate to continuously bring up Lopez, but in that case – I knew he loved me, he didn’t act on it (his fault) but all my love for him came with actions and thoughts and “things”…. Now I’m like “okay, where’s the shed to throw this in and burn it?!” I’m kidding, no actually I’m not…. It’s like “now what”

    1. Mrs Fever Post author

      And that is the difference between Love and Togetherness. Being “in love” and being *with* the one you love, creating a unit… They are two different concepts. Sometimes they work hand in hand. Other times… One person is holding their hand out to the other, who is – for reasons oft unfathomable – not only NOT reaching in return, but is looking in another direction entirely.

      I’ve shared some thoughts previously on this blog about the different ways people fit together. Sometimes we walk parallel paths, and can reach out and hold one another as we’re moving in the same direction. Other times, like cogs in a clock, we fit seamlessly together for a time. It feels right, and the fit is perfect, but then time marches on, and we realize we were only meeting while on two separate rounds. Relationships like that… The clock keeps ticking, doesn’t it? And one day perhaps those cogs will come back together again. 🙂

      I have my own ‘Lopez’~ someone who said and, for a brief time, showed love. But for whatever reason (and I truly do.NOT.get his reasoning, and I never will – not leastwise because he never explained), he stopped. Stopped giving, stopped showing, stopped doing. And for a long time, I kept giving. I kept acting on the love I felt.

      But you know what?

      Love – like any living, breathing thing – requires nourishment to grow. Relationships do not survive on air alone. I was giving sunshine but receiving no water. The roots of my affection were digging deeper into desert earth, but its flower could no longer bloom. And so, no matter how valiantly I tried to prevent it from happening, the petals dropped off, and the vine dried up.

      But you know what? Love, like the desert rose, is resilient. The seed is still there. When someone waters it, my sunshine can make it grow anew. But each incarnation is different. And, if we’re lucky, our hearts can re-seed, and we can share love with multiple people. A rose garden, in which no two blossoms look the same. 🙂

      Love can take root. It is alive. It can grow and flower when it’s nourished. And if it’s neglected, it can die.

      What you were missing with Lopez, you’ve found with another. Love is very much alive in you; it is growing in new ways, reaching toward sunlight you never felt until you turned your face toward it.

      I know what it is to bear the WHY?!? I *get* the desire to have Togetherness be part of Love. And I know exactly how it feels to have a thousand tiny things you *want* to DO, to SHOW, but to no longer have the ability to demonstrate that. It’s frustrating and disheartening and can lead to self-doubt at best and streaks of recklessness at worst.

      I have no wisdom to impart. I wish I did.

      All I can say is that loving does not mean winning. Giving does not mean getting. And sometimes we scrape our knees when we fall down, but when we look up we can see things from a new perspective.

      It’s called being human. 🙂

      And you are a beautiful human being, love. <3

  6. Mr Modigliani

    Such a spectacular, thoughtful post. I have been pondering this subject for years and I feel you covered it very well.


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