Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Love lies bleeding

Which is worse, I wonder, having never fallen in love or having fallen in love but been rebuffed? Not having had either experience, I can only conjecture, but I imagine the second would be much more painful.

I find it hard to believe someone could never have fallen in love, but such people do exist. Do they just not have the inclination, or have they never met the particular person who gets their mojo working?

Whatever the reason, if you've never known love, I guess you don't know what you're missing so it's no big deal. On the other hand, if you've fallen for someone but they feel nothing at all for you, that must be very distressing.

But then again, do people who've never fallen in love not know what they're missing? Everywhere they look there are besotted lovers who can't get enough of each other and seem totally blissed out. Don't they think they're being deprived of some vital pleasure in life? Or do they simply think these starstruck lovers are suffering from some psychic delusion? Just seeing a very flawed and ordinary person through rose-tinted glasses?

And is unreciprocated love necessarily distressing? Okay, so the other person doesn't feel the same way, but isn't it fun fancying someone and imagining a red-hot night of passion, even if it never happens? How can what is merely a personal fantasy be distressing if there's not the slightest chance of it turning into reality? Even if there's an element of masochism, an unreal substitute for something more attainable, that's hardly an emotional knifing.

I would have thought love that has actually been reciprocated, even for a short time, would cause a lot more pain than love that's never reciprocated at all. For a while there is that heady prospect that you both feel the same way, that there is that magical symbiosis of affection and understanding that connects your two identities and creates something bigger and better than your individual existence. And then your growing hopes are cruelly dashed as the other person makes it clear they don't feel that subtle communion after all.

All I know is that one way or another love can cause deep anguish as well as profound joy. It's an emotion not to be trifled with, not to be taken lightly.

28 comments:

nursemyra said...

Love is dangerous

John Gray said...

nick what a sad post.
I remember once washing an elderly woman in hospital ( I am a nurse...-just thought I would say that if you dont know)
As I sponged her arm, I chit chatted about this and that and said that I hoped that she didnt mind a "bloke" doing the buisness so to speak...

she smiled and said sadly "I dont mind at all!!!I have not been touched by another human being for nearly 20 years"

okm its not a "love " story.. but your workds kind of reminded me of the story

Nick said...

Myra - Love can be sheer bliss. But it can also be a tangled web.

John - Funny, I didn't think of it as a sad post, but I guess it is. Fancy not being touched by another human being for nearly twenty years. I think in her place, I would have died of emotional starvation.

kylie said...

nick,
i am sure the people who have never been in love dont know what they are missing, they might have a vague notion but if they have never been madly and unconditionally loved they cannot possibly understand the full nature of their deprivation.
and following on from that, if love is unrequited then the experience is diminished, the great value of love is in the way it empowers so unrequited it is powerless and therefore the pain of it's non-existance cannot compare with the pain of love lost.

hope i make sense

Nick said...

Kylie - That makes plenty of sense. I think you're right on both counts, on the lack of unconditional love and the pain of love lost. Anyone who has never been unconditionally loved is a seriously depleted person.

e said...

I've never been seriously in love. Infatuated or in lust, yes, and it is heady, as you say. I've also had great sex with people without being in love with them. Do I know what I'm missing? Commitment, acceptance, the one person to whom I can reveal all of me and with whom I can partner and to whom I may be a trusted advisor and helpmate. I think the only people on the planet who are loved unconditionally are children, and only if they are lucky enough to have great parents.

Wisewebwoman said...

long comment now vapourized will return
XO
WWW

Baino said...

Hmm timely.. I fell in love with the wrong man this year but wouldn't swap the time we had together for quids. Still friendly but the relationship's not the same, still I have memories. What memories. Yep I believe it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

Nick said...

e - It's a shame you've never discovered that soulmate you describe so eloquently. I think a lot of relationships do come close to unconditional love, though many more are spoilt by undercurrents of possessiveness and bossiness.

www - Catch you later! Naughty Blogger.

Baino - Better to have loved and lost, huh? That's very philosophical of you. I suppose the important thing is that it was great while it lasted.

Scarlet Blue said...

Whatever in love means....
Prince Charles on his engagement to Lady Di.
So sad, I wanted to save her as soon as I heard him say it and I was only a teenager!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - I remember well the campaign to "save Diana"! Right from the start you couldn't seriously believe they loved each other.

Jenny Woolf said...

I thnk we probably classify a lot of different emotions under the name of "Love" don't you? Sometimes they overlap. It is all about being into someone, anyway.

Must be really boring to have lived a life when you never fall in love! Unreciprocated love seems to be an occupational hazard of being a teenager, but considering the people one tends to fall for as a teenager, perhaps that's just as well.

Nick said...

Jenny - You're right about teenage love. When I think of some of the incredibly unsuitable people I fell for, it's embarrassing....

Rummuser said...

Nick, I honestly believe that 'love' as our generation understood it is increasingly absent among the young. Here is something that coincidentally came my way just a few minutes before I read your post - http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/27/kate-bolick-women-marriage-relationships

My son is the male counter part for Kate Bolick. After being married for five years, he and his wife decided to divorce by mutual consent and remain friends which they are. My son has since been in two long term relationships and neither he nor the ladies involved seem to be interested in 'love'. I know any number of other such cases and I have blogged about them. I think that materialism has won its last battle.

Suburbia said...

Better to feel something than nothing at all I think, that way you know you're alive.

Nick said...

Ramana - Funnily enough, I also chanced on Kate Bolick's article. Very thought-provoking. She's saying she's not interested in marriage any more, she doesn't see any point in it and she's happy being on her own. And there are lots of women who feel much the same.

Intriguing that your son has a similar attitude towards love and long-term relationships.

Suburbia - I heartily agree. If you feel nothing, you're only half-alive.

Young at Heart said...

but what is your definition of love? The crazy lust of dream-making-heart-breaking first six months of a relationship? The silent knowledge that no explanation is needed you've known each other so long you simply understand everything?

Nick said...

Young At Heart - I would say love is the second myself, and the first is just the mad-crush phase where you're getting to know each other and finding out whether the apparent intimacy is real or not.

Grannymar said...

Do we choose to fall in love? I'm not sure that we do.
If you have never tasted chocolate, how can you miss it? Surely it is the same way with love.

Nick said...

Grannymar - Definitely we don't choose to fall in love. Either it happens or it doesn't. You can't make yourself fall in love, as many a disillusioned bride has discovered when it's too late (and it tends to be brides rather than bridegrooms).

Liz said...

I find it hard to believe there is anyone of our age who hasn't been in love. Maybe that is less painful but would you forgo falling in love to avoid the pain? No, nor me.

blackwatertown said...

Head or heart - which to follow - I still don't know.
The pain of having loved and lost is the worst - but worth it.
Nick - it was a melancholy post - and why shouldn't be.
We can't all be boasting about the great sex we've been having like e.
(Admittedly I may just be jealous.)

Nick said...

Liz - True, failed love may be painful but like you I would rather the pain than not having loved.

Blackwater - Surely when it's love, you have to follow your heart, your head has little to do with it. Only your heart can tell you if you really have that special bond with the other person.

Terra Shield said...

I somehow think that 'real love' doesn't actually exist, there's always a 'but', or 'if you change that one thing about yourself, then you'd be perfect' kind of thing in most relationships I've observed. So for now, never having fallen in love is probably a better option.

Nick said...

Terra - Well, I suppose there's always something in the other person you'd like to change, however much you love them. But I guess if it's real love you accept that shortcoming as part of who they are. If you don't accept it and keep nagging at them to change, that's not real love, it's an attempt to control them.

secret agent woman said...

Okay, about a third of the time, I make a comment and it disappears. I left a lengthy comment on this post, but damned if I remember what I said. I do know I voted for love, even if it doesn't last. Love is worth the risk.

Delirious said...

I really do believe that those who have never known love don't know what they are missing. I think they are lonely, and miss the idea of a relationship, but I guess it's kind of like becoming a parent. You don't really know what it's like until it happens to you.

I've been in love when that love wasn't reciprocated. I do think that is very difficult. That is a pain that is hard to overcome. But sometimes I think the biggest pain is the question we ask ourselves constantly, "Why don't they love me?" It's coming to terms with not being accepted, as much as it is coming to terms with losing a love.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Why do people's comments keep disappearing? I wish I knew, it's really annoying.

I agree, love is worth the risk. Even fleeting love is such a delight.

Delirious - You're right, half the problem is not being able to accept the other's rejection and their freedom to love or not love who they want.