a hope design

What is love?

In Life is Random, Relationships on May 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

…and yeah, you are supposed to say the title like this.

I have thought about love the past two weeks for a lot of reasons.

Monday, my second ex-husband called to tell me that he had made the decision to have “our” dog, Lucy, put down. He and the vet discovered that she had advanced heart worms that had gone undetected in previous blood tests. No one suspected heart worms because she has been on HeartGuard since we adopted her in August of 2003.

I love Lucy

Thoughts of the day we brought Lucy home from Wellsfest that hot day a month after we were married led to thoughts of our relationship and why it failed. We had a good relationship. We talked. We enjoyed some of the same interests. We had similar musical tastes. Then  things changed. Shit happened, as it is wont to do. Eyes were opened, mistakes were made, and we grew apart.

We ended it before ugly words, restraining orders and police were involved. Way before. Maybe none of that would have ever happened because we are both peaceful people who communicate calmly, but I saw War of the Roses in the ’80s. I was influenced.

I like that today we can sit together and discuss our daughter without bitterness and strife mucking up the conversation. I like that we astound onlookers at parent/teacher conferences and school plays.

I like that we met at the veterinarian’s office and both had our hands on Lucy while she breathed her last breath. She was our first child.

Just, please, don’t ask me to live in the same house with him. Ever. Again.

We had an awesome relationship at the beginning.

But was it LOVE?

What the hell is love, anyway? I loved that dog! I love my kids. I love a lot of people in general. I feel emotion and want to hug a lot of people and tell them I appreciate them. Is that love? Both of my husbands told me they loved me…a lot. However, their actions didn’t line up with their words. Their words, as a result, felt hollow.

I guess the bigger question in my mind is this: What does it take to make a romantic relationship work? How do you know if you can go the long haul with a person? Is that a different thing than LOVE?

Here is a conversation that took place this week between my boyfriend and me via text:

Larry: I’ve been thinking about the word love. [That] it’s much more than affection. It’s a commitment word. How much loyalty you’re willing to give. Love is a word that implies that you are attached. An extension of you. Joys, sadness, pain and pleasure. The other will never suffer without [the person] feeling it themselves. They regard the other as much as themselves. Is anything less really love?

Alana: I think that is what love is supposed to mean. I don’t think that is what “love” is for most people in relationships today.

When you said last night that I still love Jason, I don’t think of him that way. I “loved” him, past tense, but that feeling was destroyed by circumstances involving his lost job, his attitude toward Jeramie and his lack of deep emotion. [More reasons involved, but, hey, it was a text, and I couldn’t list everything.] I care about him and his happiness, but my heart is closed to him. I cannot give him the emotion nor the commitment required for “love.”

So, if pushed to say I “love” him, it is a brotherly, humanity-type love that a caring person can feel for friends and family. I wish him no harm. I want him to be happy in life. I do not want to share my life with him. I respect our memories.

What I feel for you is much different. I feel it is tempered by my past experiences in relationships. I feel deep emotion when I am with you. I don’t care what name you put on it. It doesn’t change the depth of my feelings to call it love, like, respect, choose, care for, want to be around…

I feel as if I have my eyes wide open and am making an educated decision. Sure, that is not out-of-control, fairy tale, sweep-you-away…maybe not even romantic, but I can put all the reasons I want you in that special place in my life down on paper, in ink, read it out loud and feel confident that it is a good decision. Every conversation, every hour spent on projects together, every time you kiss me… [censored] reminds me of that list of reasons.

I don’t know what the future holds, and sometimes I get a little afraid of feeling too strongly for you. Saying I love you isn’t as sweet to me since you told me how you feel about the word [Previous conversation: the word is overused and doesn’t mean as much anymore], so I may not say it too much anymore. But don’t mistake that for a change of heart. The word is useless. Actions are what matter.

Larry: That’s got to be one of the most romantic things I’ve ever read. I’m driving now.

Alana: Don’t wreck.

Larry: 🙂

Is that LOVE?

I don’t know.

I guess time will tell.

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