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People — especially young people — love love. They love being in love.


And that’s lovely.

However, if I hear another person go off on how they love another person “because” of this or that, I’m going to jump out a window.

Fortunately, I live on the ground floor. My injuries will likely be limited to a few cuts and contusions. Maybe a broken window.

As if you cared. Do you care?

Anyway, love is a confrontation. If you really love someone you are looking directly at them and they are looking directly at you. They see all the good and bad in you and accept it whole, as-is. You’re doing the same with them. After you do this, you go on your way together, hopefully. You’ve found the person who knows you and can support you. They might insist you work on emphasizing the good while repressing the bad, but only in the ways you yourself would wish. You do the same for them. Feelings grow from this honest confrontation, where all artifice has been stripped away.

Nothing outside of this confrontation affects the feelings that grow within it. You’ve seen each other naked, emotionally, mentally, probably physically as well (though that part actually matters least). It’s a wonderful, horrible, shameful, and elating experience all at once. You suddenly aren’t alone anymore. You’ve been revealed as a half of an organism, and now that you’ve found your other half, nothing can be the same again.

But the mistake I made again and again when younger is the same mistake I see younger people still making again and again: They love someone else “because” of some third factor. It could be attractiveness, wealth, how they think they look as a couple to others. Maybe the loved one gives the lover the sense of having attained worldly success. The lover’s friends think he’s soooo cooool to have bagged this hot blonde chick. Maybe the hot blonde chick is thinking “Wow, he’s from a really good family and has all these connections and a really good career. I’ll be able to have a Volvo station wagon and be a lady who lunches and have a great wardrobe from J. Crew! Score!”

See, that’s bullshit.

The hot blonde chick is slowly turning into the dumpy old woman her mom resembles. It’s happening by the second. Once she goes off on some tirade about how lame your friends are, she’s not going to seem as hot to you. I guarantee it. If she does it in front of them, you’re not going to look good to them at all. Especially if she starts talking about your penis. And sister, good luck with the Volvo and the J. Crew stuff. If that’s all you want out of life. Chances are you’ll get to keep most of it in the divorce after you find out that hubby was thinking of you as more presentable version of “Cinnamon” down at the Hi-Liter, whom he kept on the side through the ten years of your life you threw away on him.

The mistake is in keeping this third thing off to the side of your relationship: The “because.” When you really love someone, you don’t need a “because.” It’s just there. It’s seen in the confrontation. People are often treating love like it’s a triangle, when really it’s just a plane. Two people on a plane. Not an airplane: A geometric plane. Flat. Graph that out, will you? That’s the formula for love. As long as there’s some third thing keeping you together, it’s not really love. You’re both serving that third thing and using it to manipulate each other.

Some call that “codependency.”

So┬álove is an honest confrontation with another — warts and all. And if you can share absolutely everything about yourself with another and they only respond by saying “I know. And I love you,” and you can say the same right back to them, you might have found the one for you.