A Few Truths About Love

22 Aug

The truth about love is that there is a part of you that honestly believes that giving away all of your love will – no, must – result in receiving some kind of equal love back. If you didn’t believe this, your love would be impossible. How else could you justify all of the heartsick tears, the sleepless nights, the work and play that you’ve neglected?

The truth about love is that it’s not a physics equation. There is no law of conservation of love. Love can be created; love can be destroyed. The love that you put out into the world will not last forever, ricocheting between atoms, shifting shape as needed. A thoughtless heart can stop your love cold.

The truth about love is that someone can love you very much and still be careless or hurtful. Love is not a charm that protects you. Love is not magic. Love is not inherently good.

The truth about love is that your faith in it is misplaced; love is not a god or a system of belief or an altar at which you should kneel down and sacrifice. Love is a wild, dangerous force – exhilarating, yes, but also destructive. Loving someone else is like standing at the edge of the water in the middle of a hurricane; the waves that smash against the shore are mesmerizingly beautiful, but the threat of drowning is very real.

The truth about love is that it is a slippery beast. A slippery beast with teeth like razor blades.

The truth about love is that it is so bound up with regret that it seems impossible to separate the two. You regret the words you said, which you didn’t realize would come out so badly. You regret how vulnerable you let yourself be, how you cracked open your chest to reveal your still-beating heart. You regret all the chances you gave, the forgiveness you bled so freely. You regret the time not spent together, the days you sat side by side on the couch both engrossed in your laptops. You regret the time wasted arguing or sulking or spent in a state of deliberate misunderstanding. You regret the beginning, because it could only ever lead to this. You regret the ending, because of everything you’ll never get back. You try so hard not to regret everything in between, but you do. You do.

The truth about love is that so many of us have a hard time differentiating between love and habit.

The truth about love is that it’s not a panacea or a cure-all. You can have all the love in the world and still be just as broken as ever. Being in love will not fix you; after the first flush of romance you will find that you are in exactly the same place, except that now you have to worry about dragging someone else down with you.

The truth about love is that we talk about it as if it’s something we’re somehow owed, but really, it’s not. People deserve to be treated with decency and respect. People deserve basic necessities like food, shelter and clean water. People deserve to feel safe. No one deserves love.

The truth about love is that you would do it all again.

Vintage Photos of Hurricanes and Their Aftermath (4)

33 Responses to “A Few Truths About Love”

  1. Whoredinary at 1:35 am #

    Reblogged this on Whoredinary and commented:
    This is a truely amazing post. Beautifully written and every word I wished I said myself. Thank you Bell Jar.

  2. LittleMissLola at 1:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Dating Dramas Of A Thirty Something and commented:
    Truly beautiful.

  3. A Free Spirit at 2:08 am #

    As always Belle Jar, beautiful post. But, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Well, on one part anyway.
    “No one deserves love.”
    If you look up the definition of “deserve” it says “to be worthy of.” We all value in this world, we are all worthy of love. So many emotions like happiness or respect are directly tied to love. A synonym for love is respect. If you were to walk around this earth and not once feel love in any shape or fashion you would not be with us long. You would die too young, like so many people do, of a dehydration of love. Love drives us. Love is sprinkled in to everything we do. It is not always the hurricane you speak of. Sometime it is calm, unnoticed. We are all worthy of being loved, even the most mangled, fucked-up of us are worthy of some kind of love.
    I whole-heartedly believe that.

    • bellejarblog at 2:20 am #

      I mean more so romantic love, although it was hard to word it that way. I do agree that everyone deserves the love of, say, a parent or caregiver. But we don’t deserve the love of a partner just because we’re good people or we have good jobs or whatever. It doesn’t really work that way.

      • A Free Spirit at 2:27 am #

        Oh yeah, ok, I agree with that. I think that all the time. That I’m dragging my partner down with me.

  4. AmazingSusan at 2:09 am #

    “The truth about love is that it’s not a panacea or a cure-all. You can have all the love in the world and still be just as broken as ever.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Great post. Really. Really. Great. Post.

    ❤ ❤ ❤ Love, Susan

  5. Kara at 2:16 am #

    “Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.” Zadie Smith, White Teeth

    Loved your post.

  6. Elisira at 2:46 am #

    This feels like the “I hate love” speech from Gaiman’s Sandman. And yet, it’s not the same. You still collapse much of your armor. You still give someone a piece of yourself at a terrible, terrible risk. But this post says that the pain is worth it. It’s like what the character from Sandman would say a few years later. It’s not completely derivative, though. It’s beautifully your voice. Thank you for posting, as always.

    • bellejarblog at 2:53 am #

      Oh thank you! I LOVE Sandman, seriously. Which one is that in and who makes the speech? I have to find it now!

      • Elisira at 2:57 am #

        Ahh, so glad you do! I haven’t read it in a few years, but the Internet is telling me Rose Walker said it in issue 65.

  7. I wish I’d written this. I wish I were even the first person who wished they’d written this!! Well said. THANK YOU Very much agree with the comment you added above, also – ” I do agree that everyone deserves the love of, say, a parent or caregiver. But we don’t deserve the love of a partner just because we’re good people or we have good jobs or whatever. It doesn’t really work that way.e ” YES.

  8. theclocktowersunset at 4:28 am #

    Very insightful, love is fraught with regret. It’s saddening that something so beautiful is so deeply intertwined with something so painful. Maybe we could throw a little hope in there too. Then we could say..’I hope I don’t regret this love’…..hope..:)

  9. The Dream Well at 11:55 am #

    Firstly let me say I love your blog! I feel the pain you write with, but I think the word you use in not accurate, better to say the truth about “romantic adult relationships.” Love is a far bigger word, a greater idea than to be diminished by regret, or to be stopped by a thoughtless heart. Yes, everyone deserves to be loved – all the time. And yes, if you are broken, love is the only thing that wil heal you. The Dalai Lama said that love and compassion are human necessities, we cannot live without them. The closer we move to love – to loving ourselves, and extending that love to all, the more we realise that it is not love that hurts, or bewilders, or bights. These are other things: fear mainly, but also other distractions. The truth is that love does not depend on anyone else outside of us. Do not seek it there. May you find all the love inside you need imside your heart to heal you, my friend.

    • allshrink at 6:27 pm #

      aye aye

  10. musingmolly at 5:26 pm #

    This is so thought provoking and beautiful, definitely given me inspiration for my own blog, thank you so much

  11. isitjustmenadine at 3:38 am #

    Reblogged this on Is It Just Me? and commented:
    Anne is brilliant, this piece once again describes how I’m feeling so poignantly.

  12. isitjustmenadine at 3:40 am #

    Brilliant Anne, this post came to me at the perfect time. Thanks again for writing what I’m feeling. I can’t wait to read your book!

  13. Draco at 3:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on draco007 and commented:
    So beautifully written and so true I had to share this one.

  14. Olga Segura at 4:33 pm #

    This is just absolutely beautiful!

  15. purplesus at 11:50 am #

    Thank you for this post, made me smile and I kept smiling. The thing is, we keep going it don’t we … this love thing.

  16. allshrink at 6:13 pm #

    you must mean love to be no more than some sort of illusion, I differ; as only true love is not an illusion and also that mundane love is like diving in a bowl of masala curry , …you are never sure of the ingredients that make up the curry…….

  17. Stacy Davis at 1:04 am #

    Love is subjective to say the least. People with hold it, they associate their past experiences with it and it affects their perception. The opposite of love is fear. It’s fear of regret, fear of being hurt, fear of not having love returned. Love without fear. Put it out there if you feel it. Love is not love if you expect something in return. Love isn’t the problem. Expectation is.

  18. lilavanhoe at 4:29 pm #

    I nominated you for the Shine On award! Peep the rules on my blog. Thanks for ruling. http://whyrecover.wordpress.com/

  19. jennysch15 at 6:42 pm #

    Can’t stop reading and re-reading this post! It’s like you finally said aloud the truth that no one around me would dare to admit..yet I somehow always knew to be true. Thank you!! I love your blog.

  20. jennysch15 at 6:43 pm #

    Reblogged this on A day in Wanderland.

  21. alice-in-wonder at 5:58 pm #

    Very powerful writing.

  22. mackyou at 9:53 am #

    Reblogged this on MackYou.

  23. StacyMichelle at 1:33 am #

    such an eloquent & powerful post. this is truth.

  24. Rachel at 10:31 am #

    This is a truly beautiful post. Something I needed to know, that everyone feels this. “You regret the time not spent together, the days you sat side by side on the couch both engrossed in your laptops.” I wish my partner could understand this.


  1. 2013 In Review: Part 2 | The Belle Jar -

    […] – A Few Truths About Love […]

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