Sunday, 21 February 2016

What is love?

Any fellow singles out there will be all too familiar with the questions posed by well-meaning sympathisers: 'Awww, you'll find love soon' or, 'You just haven't met the right person yet'. It's assumed that you actually want to find someone and/or you haven't looked hard enough and/or you're an 'undesirable' it's as easy as bidding on a jumper on eBay.

My experience with men is much like my experience with buying shoes. I find some I really like, I envisage a lifetime of outfits to combo with said shoes, only to be thoroughly disappointed that they don't do them in my size.

What is it that makes people nutty about love? Fairy-tales tell us they'll die for it, kill for it, commit adultery for it and lose their dignity over it. BeyoncĂ© was crazy in it and the Black Eyed Peas asked where it was. It's one of our main purposes in life and when we've 'lost' it we get ourselves in a right pickle desperately trying to claw it back like a priceless irreplaceable artefact.

For me, lost love is like having to claim on your insurance for a replacement laptop. It's a pain to have to go through all the paperwork, but you know there are new laptops which are shinier, faster and can run on Windows 10. It's the mentality that's bred into us from a young age which plays a big part in how we feel we should live. By mid-thirties if we don't have a partner, a child, a little doggy and a fish called Bubbles we're massive failures and we should, quite frankly, give up.

Three floating hearts
I can tell you what love isn't. Love isn't forced, suppressed or guilty. It is not governed by class, or race or gender or height. In its simplest form love is a strong connection, a willingness to be near someone, to make them laugh, to make them happy and a hope they feel the same in return.

So what does that mean for the single parent? It means we've had to look at the rules of a lot of 'conventional' process like love and redefine them. I've learnt that love comes in a multitude of forms and from a number of different directions. And that is OK.

If you think about it, even without a partner you already have that kind of connection. Love for a family member, love for a friend, love for that delectable 22 teaspoons-of-sugar's worth of caramel hot chocolate from your favourite coffee shop. Love is that knowing corner-of-the-mouth smile, that glance, the feeling you know what each other are thinking, that you can finish their jokes and the cavernous space where your stomach used to be when they're gone.

Perhaps it is not the need for love itself, but the need to always want something more. The continual search, climb and achieve mentality in humans that drives us to live rather than just exist manifests itself as an addiction? Love is one of the most intense feelings of satisfaction and thus the strongest addiction.

Just. One. More. Hit.