It’s the nature of the beast. And let’s face it, love is the biggest and possibly the most menacing of the all the monsters we battle during our lifetime. It’s scientifically documented that romantic love is addictive. Once a person has a taste of it there is never enough.
Robert Plant sings: Your lights are on, but you’re not home/Your mind is not your own/Your heart sweats, your body shakes/Another kiss is what it takes
Speaking from personal experience there is nothing quite as amazing (or terrifying) as the burning desire for one more kiss….
So what’s the struggle and where is the challenge?
Giving your love to another is easy, what’s hard is the ongoing upkeep, and sometimes knowing when to walk away from a bad relationship. And then there is having the strength required to get over a broken heart if that should occur. Not that love is dark and scary, but it does require equal parts fearlessness and gritty resolve to go the distance.
Going back to Robert: You can’t sleep, you can’t eat/There’s no doubt, you’re in deep/Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe/Another kiss is all you need
But is that enough to weather the demands of love? Are us mere mortals equipped for the real deal?
I don’t know how the love challenge compares to the search for self, what do I want to be when I grow up, or the over-arching and often all-consuming, what’s my purpose in life, quests, but I’m certain, for some, it can be one of most troubling of the journeys in life. It’s not an exact science. It is the one lesson most of us over complicate and can take the length of a lifetime to understand—maybe, but only if we’re acutely self-aware and have a four leaf clover in our wallet. I suspect a vast percentage of us pass to the unknown no wiser, and the remaining few wonder seconds before their last breath if perhaps they should have loved without expectations.
Is it the same for all types of love? No!! Phew.
Love in any form is complicated. It doesn’t matter the type of love—romantic, friendship, or family—all varieties pack a punch. Falling in love is staggeringly euphoric. During my plunge into the abyss, I floated in and out of consciousness. I walked around perpetually punch-drunk, plagued by the occasional tightening across my chest and constant shortness of breath. And much later when I became a mom I discovered instantaneous love. Parenthood isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s love on steroids.
Creed summed it up nicely in the song, Arms Wide Open: Well I don’t know if I’m ready/To be the man I have to be/I’ll take a breath, I’ll take her by my side/We stand in awe, we’ve created life
When the midwife placed Caitlin into my arms the rush of emotion nearly drowned me. Later the enormity of my love for someone I had only known for two minutes made me dizzy. Sixty seconds after that, a dread so consuming gripped my dwindling control, and stopped my internal organs from working. Panicked flooded in, what if I couldn’t protect my child from life’s tribulations, Cupid’s broken arrow? The lightening speed in which love took control of rational reason freaked me out. I’m less manic about her these days but my worry for her life continues. It’s love on an entirely different level. Do not make the decision to be a mother lightly. Consult with other expert first. Talk to your own mother.
Love wasn’t designed to be a big mystery or overly complicated, and definitely not something we are challenged to unravel. The complications, we humans added. Love is one of those supernatural forces not definable or controllable, which causes uncertainty and a little crazy. I know a little bit about love crazy. Who doesn’t? The brain in love is a science all its own. It’s studied, talked about, written on, sung about. There is an entire publishing genre dedicated to love and then there are the self-help books.
And there is Robert’s wake up and smell the coffee line: Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah/It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough/You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love
And what do the experts have to say?
I have my doubts on self-help gurus telling me how to love, etc., but since the emotion remains a mystery to me, who am I to knock ‘em. I recently viewed Helen Fisher’s The Brain On Love on Ted Talks. She does a nice job explaining how love is or can be highly addictive. It’s worth a listen if you’re showing the signs of addiction. Clearly the three million plus viewers who’ve watched were equally curious.
As for my issues, I opted for self-therapy to manage my addictive behaviors for the lanky, come-hither types. Writing novels and short missives was preferable to joining a Carmelite Order or checking into the Betty Ford center.
What’s your favorite love song? And for bonus points, do you have a favorite break up song?
Tina Turner’s rendition is my favorite..