December 11, 2013
by Stephanie Byrne
What is love exactly? J Rule seems to rap often about love being equated with pain, while a scientist would tell you that it is a chemical reaction in your brain that happens when you meet someone with whom you have the biological drive or urge to mate with. Love is merely an evolutionary by-product to get us humanoids to stay together long enough to pro-create and protect our offspring for a certain number of years. Not many years at that either. While both theories (and yes I do believe Ja Rule has a theory about love) are definitely interesting, I tend to lean towards the more Renaissance view of this whole love business. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not cynical about love. I am actually extremely romantic. White horses, knights in shining armor, roses, great feats of gallantry on my behalf….oh yes, I am that kind. So why write this article you ask? What is going on with the eye-catching albeit misleading title of this article? Let me tell you a little bit about my story; I used to truly believe that love without pain and intense emotional highs and lows, was not true love. Bah! What did I know when I was just a young adult eh? I wrote this article for people like me…. or the old me. I wrote it because I would like to clarify that love is NOT pain. Nor should it be painful most of the time. Yes love can have its challenges and it will definitely not be skipping along on rainbows all the time, but you should always be able to skip more often than not down that little rainbow road….holding hands too. The definition of love that seems to be the most popular states that love includes having a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person and an attraction that includes sexual desire. It is also described as the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship and a person you love in a romantic way (Chan et al, 2013).
Let me tell you in a little more detail about my personal journey. I was in a six year relationship with a man that I had this intensely emotionally erratic relationship with. I thought, in my mind, that he was the one. The intensely great emotional ups felt like the lows were worth it, and I was addicted to the emotional rollercoaster we were on…I couldn’t get off. It never even occurred to me that I could have a relationship that was JUST GOOD all the time and not have to be in a constant state of either extreme bliss or extreme stress. I honestly believe that the type of relationship I am describing can be compared to a drug, and the relationship itself is an addiction. There is literature that supports my theory. The moral of my story is this; You can have a healthy relationship with someone who does not drain you of every ounce of your emotion and sometimes even sanity. I met a fella who taught me what real love is, and what it means to love someone unselfishly and fully. To actually lay your heart down at someone’s feet and have them pick you up and hold you. How is this possible you ask? My parents have been together since they were 14. I have watched them go through thick and thin and dark and light. Accepting the fact that people are not perfect is key to having a happy relationship full of love and light. To maintain this love you have to work at it. Tend the embers to keep the fire burning because if you don’t, the fire will go out. Find someone who will also tend your embers and keep your fire burning as well because it takes two to keep the blaze alive. Love should be many things, but pain all the time is not one of them. So my advice: Take the superficial things you think you want in a relationship and toss them out of your mind for good. Find a partner who puts you first, and that you in turn, also put first. Then, and only then, will love turn from what you once thought you knew, into something you never thought was possible!
Chan, K. Q., Tong, E. M. W., Tan, D. H., & Koh, A. H. Q. (2013, September 16). What do Love and Jealousy Taste Like?. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0033758