2 February 2009

Love is.....

What exactly?

I am not talking about the love you may feel for a particular flavour of ice cream, sports team, car or blog. Or even the kind you feel for your great Aunt Mary or your pet dog Digger.

I’m talking about romantic love. And for the month of February I am keen to get your thoughts.

The love phenomenon has been pulled apart, examined to death and trodden all over by millions of poets, songwriters and authors who have written about falling in love, love gone wrong, unrequited love and broken hearts.

Love is, after all, what makes the world go round.

So much so that we use the word quite liberally in the English language and it is now a double edged sword with many different meanings. We can love someone and wish them well then this same emotion can suddenly turn to hate and we would love to see some harm come their way. It's hardly any surprise that love can be so confusing.

The way we define love may depend on where we happen to be sitting in the love equation. Is it a meeting of hearts and minds, a friendship set on fire, or is it like luck where you have to go all the way to find it or perhaps it’s nothing more than a kind of temporary insanity driven by hormones. What do you think?

No matter how you define it or feel it, love is a universal phenomenon which stretches across cultures. Scientists now admit that human beings have a biological predisposition to love and that it is not just a cultural fantasy. We need to love and be loved.

I think love is a combination of lust, romance and attachment. I think each of these can operate in any order or in any combination. You can fall in love with someone before you sleep with them; you can become deeply attached to somebody and then fall in love with them; and you can have a sexual relationship, fall in love and then become deeply attached. I would hope that no matter what the process taken to get there, the desired outcome is that you share a caring compatible relationship built on trust and respect, no matter how imperfect parts of it happen to be.

Lust comes easy. It’s a craving for sexual gratification, which you can feel for a whole range of people. With romantic love we focus all our attention on the object of our affection. Not only do we crave them, but we are highly motivated to win them, obsessively think about them and becoming extremely sexually possessive.

Scientists believe that romantic love is one of the most powerful neutral systems that has evolved. Even more powerful than sex drive. Thankfully as blissful as being in love is, it’s not really conducive to live in this romantic state for 20 years because you’re distracted by it, you can’t think of other things, you have a conviction that no-one else in the world has ever felt this way before, you forget what you’re doing, you probably don’t eat properly, you don’t sleep well and you go through highs and lows every hour of every day.

My first crush was at 9. His name was Gary. He reminded me of a cuddly koala bear with glasses. I used to pass him love notes and cards in class. My best friend fancied his twin brother David. We had plans of a double wedding and living on a farm together. That was before Sister Eustace put a stop to it and ruined our dreams of a happy ever after. I am sure I had the wedding dress designed and the children’s names selected. Interfering old bat! How dare she put our education before matters of the heart. What if he had been the one all along?

My first serious romance was with someone I met in high school. He was different. His family was different. And my parents kept reiterating that point, loudly and often. He dropped out of school, was a drummer in a band and was an advocate for every alternative lifestyle choice known to man. I thought he was so cool. I went overseas and came back and he was still cool. I woke up one day some years later and saw this girl in the mirror, dressed in a long batik skirt, cheesecloth top, with flowing hair, eating raw foods, considering joining the Baha’i faith, and moving to an alternative community with a rosy cheeked baby on her hip. I wondered what the hell had happened. The pink mist of love lifted its veil abruptly. I was trying to live someone else’s life which seemed to have no bearing on who I was at all. I just wasn’t right for him. No matter how cool he was.

Some of us don’t learn our lessons though. It is normally wise to wait until brain function is fully restored after we fall in love before making a decision to marry or have kids.

When the mist of love eventually lifts and we see our loved one for who they are and we are tolerant enough to accept each other’s failings, we can reach a place of relative calm and security. For half of us long term relationships work. For the other half, its hasta la vista baby and the journey continues.

I think everyone dreams of the great love story. Some of us think we found it only to discover we haven’t. Some of us get one or more chances and many of us don’t find it at all. Some of us settle for whatever love we can find. For every great love story there is also an equally painful one.

My grandmother, who left behind wonderful diaries of her 67 year marriage, always said that if you want the great love story of your life you have to be right for someone else. The best way to do that is to be right for yourself first as opposed to waiting for someone else to be right for you.

I wish you lots of love out there. The right kind of course.

What does love mean to you? Have you found the love of your life? Do you believe in soul mates? Do you have a question about love you want answered by readers?
Next post in the series - Is Love blind?

90 comments:

  1. I'm very lucky to be married to a man I love very much.... but if we didn't also have a lot of common values, think the same way, and find it very easy to 'just be' together, then life would be a lot more work. (I used to be in love with someone with whom I had a lot less in common and it's hard.) So I would disagree with the Beatles and say love is not all you need...

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  2. This was an awesome read Lilly! I do believe my hubby is indeed my true love. We are different, yet similar and so far (12 yrs this year) it has worked. Even through our roughest time we grew closer and I'm forever grateful.

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  3. I can honestly say I have never found true love. Sure lots of love of one kind or another but none that really makes me want to be with one person forever. I am jealous Rachel and Tabitha. Maybe my expectations are too high. It's so hard although I think you are so right about having the same kind of backgrounds and values. One day, one day.

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  4. I feel the same as Rachel. My husband and I have common values and beliefs. We are working toward the same goal and want the same things for our kids. He is the love of my life and even though I met and married him at 19, 13 years later it still works.

    I feel that love is putting someone else's happiness above your own. My husband has this down pat. Someday I hope to be as selfless as he is.

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  5. I think true love exists where you feel so comfortable and safe with another human being that you do grow wings to fly and feel you are capable of anything. Best of all you always know that if you fall someone is there to catch you. To watch out for you. Its real and cannot be explained. Its how you feel. However, I always think that one person in any relationship has to compromise more than the other.

    I also find it scary that lately I have been hearing horrific stories where one party to a relationship thinks things are going along swimingly then they find out their partner has been cheating on them forever. I do not get dishonesty no matter how much is invested in a relationship. Can we turn love on an off so easily? Sometimes after 25 years together?

    I think we grow up with the wrong view of marriage and relationships. I see what your grandmother is saying. If you have a good senes of self and self esteem being with another person is only going to add to your life not detract. If you are with the wrong person you soon know it. If you are not so sure of yourself you dont know it as you are too busy trying to fit in with them and do all the compromising. Suddenly you wake up and your life has disappeared and become an adjunct to theirs. Interdependence is crucial which is harder for women with children to achieve.

    How amazing is love though when you think about it. No wonder its one of the top words used by advertising people to get our attention.

    I cannot wait to read about love being blind. When we are in the first flushes of love we are at our most vulnerable. Tis true.

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  6. More often than not, it feels like my hubby and I are just so busy co-parenting that everything else gets forgotten. Sometimes I'm worried what will happen when the kids are grown and it is just the two of us. That is when many marriages fall apart.

    I think we have friendship, and comfort, companionship and also love and in it all, a very strong relationship. But I don't know if you could call us "over the moon" so much anymore. Not that I'm saying divorce is in the horizon, just that we obviously need to work harder to remember the "us" that is so important.

    Poor Leon tries, though. I'm just so incredibly NOT romantic! lol I prefer comedy to romance, dinner theatre to candlelight, and Friday night soccer to Bed and Breakfast.

    Poor guy's got his hands full with me, I tell ya!

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  7. I love that line about being right for someone as your grandmother wrote.

    "I think love is a combination of lust, romance and attachment."
    --That is very apt!

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  8. @ Rhonda - yep but something tells me he thinks you are worth every second. Go ask him, lol!! Besides you just went on a great holiday together. Of course you are romantic. I saw you and Leon acting like Tarzan and Jane hanging from ropes!!!!

    @ Banoffi - yes you hit it on the head, realtionships sure work better when you have two healthy people come into it, its true. Nice thoughts.

    @ Sarah - you are young keep being you.

    @ Rachel, Tabitha and Alyson - woo hoo, we so need to hear great, real love stories like yours. All of you think the same. You have to share common values and think the same things and want the same goals. And it isnt always easy. Thanks for your comments.

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  9. @ Mmmm - yes I know its a clinical interpretation but too many times we concentrate on the feelings I guess. Oh what a subject it is! Taken your pictures down yet? LOL!!

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  10. I thought I found my one true love 30 years ago. We were supposed to be married for life, grow old together, but that was not to be. Four years ago, I discovered he had found a new love, long before he was finished with me. She is much younger than me. And I was devastated. I truly thought I could not live without this man in my life.

    But I was wrong. The song, "I Will Survive" became my mantra (and my ringtone for a while). I DID get strong! And I got over this man. I was prepared to spend the rest of my life alone.

    And I met John, who is everything Greg is not. He is so chivalrous (and somewhat chauvinistic). He opens my car door for me ALWAYS, he helps me with my coat, he walks on the street side of the sidewalk, he holds my hand in public. He tells me every single day that he loves me. That was something I hadn't heard in the last 20 years of my marriage. He shows me in so many small ways how much he loves me. Every single minute with him is making love, and I don't mean sex, it's just everything he does and says!

    I will cherish every day I have with John. He has had 2 bouts of cancer in the 2 1/2 years since we met. Hopefully, God willing, the cancer will be gone and we'll have 20 or 30 years together. but if not, I have so many lovely memories. I'll never find another like him again. I wish I met him when I was young.

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  11. As you know, Old Dog is my third husband, so I have a less-than-stellar history of marriage, but I believe he is a gift of the loving God. I think, after watching me slam against one brick wall after another, God just couldn't stand it anymore, and said, "Give her him." He tells the truth and keeps his promises and after 12 and 1/2 years of marriage I still think he's the nicest man I ever met. And, he still loves me and likes me and thinks I'm funny.

    So my answer to your question is: sometimes love is a gift that we didn't earn -- it was just given to us.

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  12. @ Joannie - oh I am so GLAD that you got to find the real love of your life. I thought your comment was incredible and should give lots of us who have gone through nasty relationships a lot of inspiration. I too hope that John gets fully well and I know he was as Jeanne said a gift given to you. Woo Hoo I think I love you Joanie, in the non romantic kind of way of course!!

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  13. @ Jeanne - Love is a gift given to us. Powerful stuff. I think that is the perfect way of looking at it and I think we have to be open to accepting the gift too when it ocmes to us. Like Joannie I am so glad you found the love of your life. Truly third time lucky! And of course he would love your sense of humor the rest of us sure do. Thanks so much for your comment!!

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  14. Oh, I think love is all you say and, however desirable it might seem at the time, we would do well to remember that it's like most other forms of madness - treatable! You just have to keep on taking the tablets for long enough :)

    By the way, I think if all we did what you suggest and waited until the pink mist clears before deciding to marry and have kids, it would be a very good idea. Sadly it would also mean that the human race would probably die out within a couple of generations.

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  15. I didn't believe in a "soul mate" until I was 2700 miles away from home....and sat at a table next to a complete stranger. He was from Massachusetts, I was from Utah...we both happened to be in New Jersey in the same restaurant. We struck up a simple conversation and exchanged pleasantries...had dinner together the next night..then both flew home. After that we spent four years of long distance phone calls, conversations on the computer, and 3 or 4 visits per year spending time together. Finally my last child started college and we were able to get married and I moved across the country to New England. We've been married for 8 years now and he is my best friend. Never a day goes by that he doesn't make me laugh and make me feel more loved than a human has a right to be. He is EXACTLY what I didn't even know I needed. And he thinks I'm pretty cool too. We are truly soul mates. And I'm one lucky and blessed lady to have him in my life.

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  16. Lilly, great topic for February. I think I'm like Rhonda...67 years, your grandma is amazing and gives great advice.

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  17. Love it getting married on Valentine's Day until I realized his plan was not as romantic as it was that he can't forget our anniversary because everywhere he turns there are reminders of the day, put out by retailers etc... Smart or Cheapo ~ True Love or Just Smart love... LoL

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  18. Lilly, such a well written, thought provoking post!! But why don't you pick a tougher subject next time? lol This has to be one of the hardest subjects to write about, because you simply cannot put into words the things you are feeling when you are in love. It just isn't possible.

    I, unfortunately, am in the "still waiting" group. And with my family's track record I am not holding my breath that I ever will. It seems sometime back in the early days of my ancestors someone must have put a curse on my family because we just don't do well in this area. Maybe we are just too independent for our own good (I know I am).

    I still hold out hope, but the longer you have to wait the less likely you will recognize true love it it does happen to you. Hopefully it's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget how but you go back into it a little cautiously.

    Wonderful post, Lilly.

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  19. This was so very interesting to read, Lilly. I was glued to your train of thought all the way.

    To be honest, I thought I met my soul mate before I met my husband. I was passionately in love with him. He was in my thoughts constantly. However, something didn't feel right. We didn't seem to be at the same place. I don't know how to explain it.

    When my husband came along, I just felt safe. I could trust that he would always be there for me... would try to make things work. He has for 36 years so it's about as right as it could be for me. Do I love him? He doesn't have to be in my thoughts because he just feels like he's a part of me. It's a lovely feeling.

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  20. I found the love of my life at the young age of 19. We are still together, 22 years later and my heart still skips a beat each time I see him for the first time after work or when he sneaks up behind me and touches my back or kisses me on the head. I still stop each time he hugs me and just enjoy the moment, just because I want to smell him and feel him close.

    We grew up in the same town but separated by a major road, so we went to different schools. All those years that I was "looking" for love he was only 1 mile away all along.

    Many people told me that I was so young and that I "missed out" because I decided too early that this was the man for me. I disagree. I didn't have to have that "love" that made me cry wanting him to show me the love that I wanted, or the one that had me begging for his love or the one that had me making promises that I didn't want to make or that I couldn't keep.

    In the last 22 years we have grown together. We were kids when we met but we knew very early on that this was the relationship that we wanted. We discussed everything from money to kids to hopes and dreams and retirement, long before we got married. When we said "I do" we meant forever and have never thought for one second that it was the wrong choice. Even when the other is being particularly annoying (and the annoying one is always him--LOL.)

    I have not always been the easiest person to live with, and I am moody as all hell. But when things are really bad with me, the one thing I can always count on is that he will be there to hold me and stroke my hair, telling me that together we can make it through anything.

    I hope everyone has the opportunity to find the kind of love that I found.

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  21. This a very sore point for me Lilly.
    It seems like my whole life I've been starving for it...

    And not having that romantic love/that sould mate mutual connection - no matter how much you fill your life with other thngs or good friends, none of that really makes up for its absence...

    If I hear one more person say "why haven't you ever been married ?" GRRRRR !!!

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  22. Lilly-

    Fantastic post!

    I found the perfect love in the man of my dreams at 34 years old. Let's not forget I was mother of 13 and in the process of a painful divorce.

    But fate took a chance on us. We were both involved in a four car accident on the freeway and fell in love on the side of the road filling out police reports.

    We moved in together 6 days later. I know I know... Not the smartest move, but it worked for us.
    We are going on four years and are still truly, madly, deeply in love. I am a LUCKY woman!

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  23. - CJW666 - lol the interesting thing is that scientists believe the pink mist exists for that reason - supposedly it lasts between 12 months to 2 and a half years - that way we get to have a child at least. I just love the whole evolution of love scenario!!! But I think I am one of the cynical kinds. However, with stories like some of these I think I could be convinced that trule love really does exist for lots of people!!

    @ Nikkicrumpet - oh my your story made me a little weepy. How wonderful, truly, truly wonderful is that. It's like a made for TV movie . I can just imagine I would be sobbing all the way. Oh we so need to hear stories like that! I love it, love it, love it. Now what restaurant is that again? LOL. I loved your line, "He is EXACTLY what I didn't even know I needed."

    @ Christine - lol you are the practical kind I know! But you do love flowers and my grandparents were girl friend and boy friend from when they were five. My parents have been married for more than 50 years and my siblings as well. I appear to be the only one who didn't get that kind of staying power gene...lol

    @ The Mind of a Mom - well he may not be a cretive thinker but he sure as hell is sensible plus he only has to remember one date. I love it! Enjoy your soon to be anniversary!

    @ Matt - I know but you are looking at an expert. I have been through it all but never the happy ever after kind. Bu tI havent given up all hope and am working on me who is clearly the trouble. My family is the opposite all happily married. I kind of wasnt standing in the same end of the gene pool or something. Bu tyou got to read some of thes posts to know that osmetimes it takes a few goes at something before you get it right. I love it - look at Nikkicrumpets story - now isnt that wonderful?

    @ Oh Kay - I know what you are saying just from reading your blog. And you hit it on the head, that feeling of being safe. LOVE IS BEING SAFE. That speaks more to me than anythng else. Thank you for your comments. I always enjoy and learn from you.

    @ Me - another truly wonderful story and it made the hairs on my arms stand up - congratulations to you and your husband and well done you for believing in yourselves to get married and keep holding on to one another despite everyone's good advice. I think these positive stories are great to hear so thank you very much for sharing yours with us.

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  24. @ Loving Annie - Well I hope you read some of these stories and know that it can happen when you least expect it and it is a gift we have to be ready for. Its true I agree its something we yearn for but never give up.

    @ Sandi - OMG what a great story is that. I never knew that before now. Listen it wouldnt have happened unless there were cracks big enough to jump through anyway in current relationships. Oh we could do a whole book on some of these stories. How people fell in love. I love hearing love stories. Good or bad but particularly the ones with the happy ever after!! Glad you and your kids got lucky girl truly!

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  25. I have found the love of my life. I believe in soul mates, but not that there is only one person on the planet. When you are in love you should make that person your soul mate, it doesn't happen overnight.

    An Arkie's Musings

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  26. @ Richies - thanks for your comment and well done to you and your wife too. I like your thought about making it so even though its hard work!

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  27. I think your grandmother had very good advice. I believe Love is a choice we make...a choice to stick it through even when times get tough. We only find true love when we are truly ourselves, authentic and honest, and then when we fit with someone else it can be a love that will last.

    Really lovely blog! You're a great writer and your page is tons of fun :)

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  28. PS: Love that kiss picture :) Really nice!

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  29. @ The ChikGeek - why thank you and I agree. Its taken me a long time to reach that point but you really do need to have your act together to get it right and then be willing to put in the hard work. Yes the pic is a gorgeous one.

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  30. Whew! Big questions. I do feel I've met the love of my life, and I even think it's possible to have more than one--the same goes for soulmates. A few months ago, I never would have believed it.

    I think you know it's true love when you can look at the person and see absolute perfection--in kind of the same way that you look at your kids.

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  31. @ Vegas Linda Lou - have you been holding out on us girl. Must go and pay your blog a visit to see if there is an update! Great news indeed!

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  32. "My first serious romance was with someone I met in high school."

    Yep, and I have been thinking about him a lot this past year. I hope he's happy. :)

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  33. @ Leslie - its funny how the memories come back. I know mine is and thats a good thing. Do you know any Italians perhaps who have vineyards in Tuscany?

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  34. What a classic question! The answer could become an ongoing blog. Loving human kindness...selfish love and unselfish love of self...sacrificial love... I think one of the great challenges is when the love that starts as romantic, sexual, obsessive love begins to fade and you need to make the transition to a lasting connection, giving up intensity for permanence.

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  35. I am married to the love of my life. It's just very natural and right.

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  36. @ Butler and Bagman - and it will be an ongoing blog for most of February in one form or another. I really like your comment. Enjoy Italy an dyes I am so jealous!!!

    @ The Blonde Duck - well done and I wish you much happiness!!

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  37. hi lilly
    this was a great post...and quite honest too...

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  38. I do believe in love at first sight-it just never happenned to me!

    Love to me, means acceptance..just simple acceptance. We cannot spend our lives trying to mold and change people into what WE want or need. Its our responsibility to provide our own needs and desires, and a partner in my mind just enhances that.

    After what I've been thru with Baldyman, i know love isnt explosive or always exciting or over the top...sometimes its just being, accepting the imperfections of another human being and showing our children that true real love is much like Jesus love for us....putting up with all of our faults!

    For me personally, there are times where i feel like i have the of my dreams and then there are times I wish he would go golfing for 6 months out of the year...but also at the end of my life here on earth, I know if i go first-he is the man I want to say goodbye to me.

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  39. @ jyotsana - thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

    @ Dawnie - I have followed your story for a while and have been inspired by your extraordinary honesty and insight. Your thoughts are lovely and true. Thank you for sharing.

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  40. I LOVE your post. I also LOVE your ability to raise some very pointed questions!

    Interesting that you say love is a universal phenomenon. You know we can go from culture to culture, country to country. We can even travel between different ages - different centuries that is. And you will notice that men and women are always driven by the same basic emotions - love, hate, jealousy, honesty,....

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  41. The first time I saw my husband I knew that I would marry him.

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  42. Hmmm... my first crush was at five, and it was Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. Being that I didn't notice the huge age difference and the TV show was in black and white at the time, I was throughly disappointed when he didn't return any love my way after my frequent attempts to send him fan mail.

    Hey, it was 1977. I got over it and went on to bigger and more ridiculous crushes.:)

    PS You've been tagged!!

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  43. I've had lust, I've had obsession. Now I have common sense.
    I wonder which one I enjoyed more...

    Pearl

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  44. Yeah, it's me, back with something else to say. :)
    I just wanted to say, if you have someone in your life and you love that person, TELL THEM. Tell them every day that you love them. Don't take it for granted that they know.

    I was married for 23 years to a man who never said I love you. Oh, he'd say it if I told him first, but he never told me first. So after a few years I stopped telling him. I still loved him with all my heart and I thought he loved me too. And he tried to use that as one of the reasons he was leaving me... that I never told him I loved him. So I replied that when I never heard it from him, I stopped telling him. That shut him up. He had no reply because I was right.

    I said before that John tells me every day that he loves me, and he does, quite often in a day's time and I just love hearing it. And I tell him too, and we never tire of hearing it.

    So, don't be afraid to tell your love that you love him or her. Just be sure you mean it when you say it.

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  45. First, some of my favorite love quotes:

    "Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat." - Joanne Woodward

    "The question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it, from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love, because love is not just something that happens to you: It is a certain special way of being alive. Love is, in fact, an intensification of life, a completeness, a fullness, a wholeness of life." - Thomas Merton

    Next, What does romantic love me to me?

    Everything.

    If I didn't have that love I would truly be nothing.

    I have a hardwired desire to love and be loved.

    And I am lucky enough to be married to a man who makes me laugh every day.

    I know I do the same for him.

    He also makes me want to pull my hair out at times.

    And yes, I definitely do the same for him.

    Balance.

    Peace - Rene

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  46. Hello there Ms. Lilly! I must tell you about a love that I never thought would be possible. I have a special needs son who is 47. He has never had a relationship, lives with me and though I know he has been longing for someone to love, it didn't happen. UNTIL NOW! My son and a co-worker have fallen head over heels in love and became engaged last month. A wedding is planned for Oct 10. His fiance is also challenged, but like my son, not in a debilitating way. She drives/my son doesn't, she lives in her own place so they will live there after they are married. Our families are completely thrilled with this .. even though we know these are two people who will still need a support system. I feel such joy for my son - who is really one of the best men in the entire universe. Love - it's in the air!

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  47. Lilly;

    Loved this...you nailed it.

    I believe that my husband is my true love...I felt it from day one. He tells me everyday that I'm beautiful and wonderful. Of oourse he's Irish and maybe full of blarney. We have certainly had our ups and downs..but have always trusted each other enough to get through. When the Dr told us that I had leukemia, my husbands face told me everything that I needed to know about love!

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  48. Ok which is better -
    love at first sight
    or
    fools rush in

    Check this funny ad and then answer the question
    question of love

    Did you get the superbowl covered downunder?
    thanks

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  49. I'm no expert but...
    I think love starts with infatuation and finding out if you have some things in common. (it's hard to be around someone all the time who doesn't share some interests, values, etc, with you.) After that, I think it's a choice. Sometimes we have to choose to love even when we don't really feel it.

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  50. I love my husband of 9 years very much. But the truth is that love is WORK, it is hard, it is heartbreaking at times. The Bible says love is patient and longsuffering - among other things. I believe that is an accurate picture. The work in making it work though is worth it. It creates a lasting, deep intimacy that can't even be compared to lust, romance or even love. True intimacy - a goal worth fighting for.

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  51. Excellent post. I love you.

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  52. My husband tells me all the time
    "Saundra, you're not the marrying kind..." I ask him what he means and he hits the nail on the head everytime.

    He says I don't NEED him, that I am stubborn and strong willed enough to do everything myself... out of spite... that I'm not the typical woman that likes romance, and flowers and mushy stuff.

    And I'm not. He's right.

    We have been married for 17 years, together for 19, and I love him.

    I don't get the goosebumps, and my heart doesn't skip a beat when I see hime like so many other ladies say they do... but he is the yin to my yang. he puts up with sooooo much with me. We are still kind to each other in the smallest of ways that matter.

    I don't think ANYONE can get the all emcompassing passion and all or nothing feel of new love. At least I can't. I'm not even sure I want to. It takes a lot of work, and strain, and mending, and laughing, and hugging, and kissing and babymaking get to the place we are now.

    Love is funny. I means so many different things to everyone.

    There is no right/wrong way... unless you are mismatched.
    I suspect Bill and I are a tiny bit mismatched... but it isn't enough to be a deal breaker.

    I loved this post. I love you.

    Thank you for writing and finding my blog. You have enriched my life since your first comment.

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  53. @ L. Venkata - thanks for your viit and comments.

    @ Rebecca - and your love for him is clear to see. Its wonderful!

    @ BIBI - too funny - practice makes perfect. Thanks for the tag, I think - must go check it out.

    @ Pearl - mmm I think that it needs all three. Common sense first but then we need spikes of the other two as well and that to me is love of the romantic kind anyway!

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  54. @ Joanie - yes thanks for the reminder. Three of the most important words in the English language. Your ex was clutching at staws by saying that to you hey but so glad you have osmeone who says it and means it now! Thanks Joanie.

    @ Rene - lovely quotes - I really like the Joanne Woodward on - humor is everything to me too. Especially if a man can laugh at himself. Balance, like it! Thanks Rene

    @ Helen - oh my that is an amazing story and you all must be over the moon. Love is a gift it is true. Thank your for sharing your son's love story with us. Imagine the wedding there will not be a dry eye in the house. Congratulations!!!

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  55. First off, I love, Love, Love the new look. Did I use the word liberally enough. Really I do.

    For me love is that base emotion, that offers a reason to work for a valuable relationship. I can't describe it, it's comfort, companionship, friendship (yes different from companionship) longing, and lust all wrapped up in one. The relationship does take effort and a level of working commitment. Nothing worth while is ever easy ya know, LOL.

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  56. Love is loving someone without expecting anything in return; no judgments, no restrictions; no limitations; no expectations!

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  57. I think love is embracing differences and discovering ways in which to build a common lifestyle, share decision-making, and taking equal responsibility for the results.

    I kind of like this Woody Allen quote as well - "I was nauseous and tingly all over. . . I was either in Love or I had smallpox."

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  58. All I can say on this subject at this moment (due to my total preoccupation with editing) is that I love you, Lilly!
    You are a friend in the truest sense of the word!
    Your comment on my blog this morning came at just the right moment.
    Love,
    Jlo

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  59. @ Peggy - yes I think that is so true its in our darkest hours where true love come sot the fore. I am glad you have him by your side!

    @ lisleman - love at first sight and fools rush in - is it one and the same perhaps at times? I do believe in love at first sight yes.

    @ Julie - I think your exprtises speaks for itself - I like your definition.

    @ L - thank you - true initimacy is worth fighting for - love your take on it.

    @ susan - and of course the feeling is mutual!

    @ Saunda - wow what an awesome comment. Bill sounds like a great man and allows you to be you and be your own person. I like it!

    @ Eric - oh I just decided to change the banners every month but havent decided how to do a redesign am thinking that thrugh a little more. I like your definition but then you are one of these good communicators who express themselves well.

    @ Magee - equal responsbility - like it!

    @ Jlo - oh you must be up to your ears in your book - it will be over soon and then you can sit back and relax a bit.

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  60. thanks for the visit and comment but I have multiple blogs and I think you didn't see the ad related to this love topic - the link was in my comment
    it was a funny taco bell ad
    thanks anyway

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  61. @ Lisleman - apparently you can only see the ad in the USA....

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  62. sorry about that - I didn't think that was going to happen.

    stupid outdated lawyers if you ask me.

    Hey there's an idea lawyers in love, oh wait didn't Jackson Browne come up with that.

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  63. @ lisleman - yes he did and I love Jackson Browne and even named a dog after him!

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  64. I bet your grandmother's diary is a great read. So Lilly, I guess I never thought about it before, but are you married?? Is that too personal of a question for someone living a million miles across the ocean from me?
    I have a couple love posts scheduled for this month, so I don't want to give them away, but even though I may not have too many years under my belt, I can say that love is one of those many holes that is extremely easy to fall in, but if you want to stay in the hole it takes a lot of work. Loving for life takes work, determination and effort.

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  65. All I know is that it is hard to explain, but I have been lucky to have felt and understand all that you explain about Love.. It sucks when you loose it, but the love you find of yourself is priceless because of it.


    Happy Love to all:)

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  66. @ Kate - yes her diary is amazing. A love story. Her husband was a prisoner of war for five years and lost half his body weight. He wrote her beautiful love letters. I am now single and no there are no problems asking. I haven't given up on the whole relationship thing but after breaking up with my ex I am enjoying being on my own fro a while. I havent chosen so wisely in the past and am a slow learner lol so I need to get it right sometime before I die! However, I have been surrounded by family who all have stayed married and for long periods of time - I didn't get the 'staying' gene, just the good role models. I will be interested in your posts.

    @ Leigh - 'It sucks when you loose it, but the love you find of yourself is priceless because of it.' I like that Leigh. Things happen the way they are meant to and I think our journey on earth is a personal one. We all have lessons to learn and things to discover. It's kind of very cool to be honest. We take ourselves too seriously at times!

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  67. In the immortal words of Tina Tuner....what's love got to do with it..loves just a second hand emotion..
    all it got me was 3 ungrateful kids and stretch marks.

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  68. @ Yellowdog granny - he he, I can always count on you to say the sweetest things. Wish you were my next door neighbour!

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  69. I've always struggled with love.

    I look at my daughter and I KNOW what unconditional love is all about. I know there will be days when I don't want to be physically close to her because I'm angry, but that dissipates quickly. And it doesn't take away from how much I love and adore her. The question is: Do I love her because I HAVE to? Do I make it work because if I don't, things will unravel quickly?

    I don't think so...truly. I didn't feel the 'bond' that a lot of women feel when they have a child. Not right away. It took a while to develop and I can remember the moment I felt that the word Mommy 'fit' me.

    As far as relationships are concerned, I've loved a couple of people wholeheartedly and I probably will again. But I don't think I've ever been truly loved in return. I've yet to meet somebody who makes me feel like my WHOLE life adds value to theirs.

    I love my sisters very, very much even though we spent most of our youth apart. There is one in particular that I just NEED. Have you seen the movie In Her Shoes? Well, I can relate to her when she says, "Without her, I just don't make sense." I laugh harder with her than every other person except for my daughter and I never have to explain things in detail. She always just knows exactly what I mean even when I don't think I'm being clear.

    I don't offer up the word love easily with reference to another person. I'll say I love chocolate, but I tell people I care about them if I don't feel that deep, heartfelt desire to say, "I love you!" I find it complicated when it's used too casually.

    I know I'll find my match someday. It may not be how I imagine it now, but it'll make sense when it happens I'm sure...

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  70. ahhh love. My husband and I are destined.We were college classmates. There was something about him. Hahh. I don't know it feels light and comfy when he's around. then 5 years after our school graduation our path met.Yey! Soulmates find one another no matter how far they are from each other!

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  71. To me, love means acceptance, patience, and strength. I'm not sure I believe in "the love of your life" but maybe that's just because I didn't find this yet. I was shocked (destroyed) to discover a few years ago someone who I consider to be my soul mate. And he's not my husband. Now I feel lucky, blessed to have found him, and be married to my husband. My life is in a really great place because of these two wonderful people.

    Love makes us rethink everything.

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  72. @ Simplicity - I really enjoyed reading your comment and can understand totally what you are saying. What we feel for our kids is about as unconditional as it gets. You are young and the journey has a long way to go!

    @ Lunahemizphere - great story it really is - love the happy stuff.

    @ Chistine - lucky you. You are right a soul mate doesnt have to be our life partner either. Interesting twist. Thanks so much for commenting!

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  73. Thta was beautiful Lilly
    I, too, am very lucky to be married to a man I love very much...almost 19 years.
    On the whole (I love this bit your wrote) ...
    'the desired outcome is that you share a caring compatible relationship built on trust and respect, no matter how imperfect parts of it happen to be'... hope it is more than that LOL

    this too

    'When the mist of love eventually lifts and we see our loved one for who they are and we are tolerant enough to accept each other’s failings, we can reach a place of relative calm and security'...

    I will have to tell him this.
    I think he is my soul mate and I hope I am his ;)
    He is the love of my life ...for better and worse.
    I guess you have to know the 'worse' to know it can be better.

    We only have a roaring fire every now and then LOL.Mostly the candle in our hearts burns slowly and we warm up in it's glowing.

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  74. Hi Lilly,
    It never fails that I'm the last one to comment again.

    It is very interesting to read all of your readers' comments. I took exceptional notice of Joanie's comments. As if it's her life story I'm writing in my novel. Hmm...

    Love, so universal, yet, so hard to truly define it. Love to me encompasses different elements: lust, respect and admiration, self sacrifice, willing to meet halfway, trust, friendship, and dedication.

    I believe I've met my true love and soul mate, since hubby still has that ability to make me feel weak and mushy when he gets kind of romantic with me.

    I've written a very long comment, but I think it's more appropriate for a post. Therefore, I'll be posting something in lined with this subject matter.

    This is truly a wonderful post. It's the kind of topic everybody loves to talk about. It captivated me throughout, including the all comments.

    Have a great week,
    Tasha

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  75. @ Trish - that was a lovely comment and I know through your blog the kind of love you share with your partner. Thanks so much for sharing.

    @ Tasha - yes aren't the comments fantastic? Joanie needs to write her story and Helen's son's story is wonderful too. We need to hear more of the 'good stuff' so I cannot wait to see your post on this very thing. Must come and visit and see where the novel is up to!!

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  76. This is a wonderful post, Lilly! I enjoyed reading about your first loves. I bet your grandmother's journals are fantastic reading. What a treasure you have!

    Love from England :-)

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  77. What a powerful post, Lilly. Obviously by the number of comments you received. Love to me, is someone that cherishes you, adores you, appreciates you for who you are and doesn't ask you to change. They love for your goods and your bads. They do not judge you, but respect you. And if you find this, no matter the distance, you will FEEL the love and know it is true.

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  78. Lilly, to your question above. no, I have not yet. I suppose the comments help me feel that maybe I can leave itup but I have an urge to tear it down. We'll see.

    anyway, great comments here. Wow. That's a lot! I'm glad you don't write every day as it would be too hard to keep uo with not only your long posts but the great 'discussion' it often elicits here in your comments.

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  79. Lilly
    Love this post.

    I meet my husband Frank when I was 17. I've been with him half my life now.

    In the beginning it was really exciting, now it's really comforting. Lust doesn't go away, it just changes. Both of you change also, and as a couple you have work on the relationship.

    It's a matter of choice. It's not easy being with the same man all the time. My single friends feel I'm missing out. But not I, one night stands don't interest me. The most important and lasting things in life take time and nourishment. Marraige is no different.

    Love is not lust, it doesn't have to be exciting all the time. It can be as soft as a gentle kiss.

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  80. Hola from Sits! I love my husband. He is my one true love. Anyways....I just thought I would stop by and say hello!!! :o) Have a good day!

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  81. @ Just a plane ride away - yes the journals are amazing. I may post something here with my mums permission. Hope you are not freezing where you are in the UK.

    @ Paris - that is a ssweet and lovely comment. True.

    @ Mmmm - keep the photos or at least one up. Yes I always think about making my posts shorter but it kind of never happens. People's comments have been amazing. Lots of love stories. Helen's story still wins for me though.

    @ Cleo - yours is a great story too, as is your blog!

    @ Stephanie E - thanks for dropping by. I can tell by your photo!

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  82. Interesting post. I've always had a similar question on my mind - What does being in love mean to you? Is it the same question? But to answer yours...

    What does love mean to you? "Is it a meeting of hearts and minds, a friendship set on fire?" Yes, it's along those lines. To me having a deep friendship, mutual respect, hopefully good communication, plus a good dose of chemistry is a good love mixture. Plus some similarities so you can understand each other & like similar things, but enough differences to find each other interesting.

    Have you found the love of your life? Yes, but it only lasted about 4 years. It was many, many, moons ago.

    Do you believe in soul mates? Yes, she was my soul mate, but I hope that I find another. *sniff, sniff*

    Do you have a question about love you want answered by readers? Hm,...Do you think that you can love someone of the same sex. ;)

    PS - Are you starting a dating service? Where can I sign up? te he.

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  83. @ Awake in Rochester - of course you can love someone of your own sex. You have and you will again. Dating agency? LOL I think there is way to much competition out there as it is.

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  84. Is it wrong to be in love with two people at the same time?

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  85. @ Mike - I guess not as long as people know where they stand. I think we can love people for different reasons. Are you planning a life of polygamy Mike lol!!!

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  86. Lilly! Enjoyed reading your blog today ... I do believe that love is truly chemical. And for that one special person, it creates a synapse of electrical waves before we are even mentally aware of them. Love is similar to addiction in that way! I believe in soul mates & how that person affects you,not only physically, but mentally & spiritually. And with true love there is a built-in respect & adoration.

    I think many men & women confuse commitment with love, when it's both that we need. And true love is eternal.

    Oh yeah, I believe love is blind sometimes too. If we were all perfect, love wouldn't have to be blind! ;)

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  87. @ JULS - I like your thoughts on this too and the mention of love being chemical. Like it!

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  88. simplicity writes: "I've loved a couple of people wholeheartedly and I probably will again. But I don't think I've ever been truly loved in return. I've yet to meet somebody who makes me feel like my WHOLE life adds value to theirs."

    --Wow. that is so sad. To feel fully loved is so amazing and to then love in return out of that. I can't say I am fully there now really but I know what that is like....I think!

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  89. @ Mmmm - yes but sometimes its something within us that stops that from happening too. I honestly believe in the idea that we do have to love ourselves wholeheartedly to experience love with another person fully. She is young with lots to offer and she will get there. Its a journey for many.

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  90. Dear Lily,

    I've always been the hopeless romantic type who falls in love with the wrong people- you can never imagine! Some of them are not even in my world, or my own universe.

    Now that I'm married and found the person who I want to spend the rest of my life with, I think that love is a continuous process. It never stops.

    Falling in love was never as ideal as I thought it would be but it is real.

    ps
    i'm not sure why my blog isn't allowing your comments, i've checked the settings. hmmm, let me go check again.
    it's good that i'm catching up with your blog too! i've missed a lot.

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading what you have to say.