What Is Love?

Love is True, perhaps the only emotion that actually can be. It is not able to be bought, traded, or sold no matter how much people may wish it to be so. It is the feeling of wanting to give more than you receive, and not caring to keep score.

Love is what is left over when you are no longer “in love”. When the animal lust and bodily desire cease to be the entire driving force behind your companionship, yet you still wish to be together, that is love. The entanglement of fates rather than bodies…so often, people confuse the sudden volcanic eruption of hormones and chemicals of lust with the steady ebb and flow of love.

Love is the need to make one’s partner happy, indeed, happier than they have ever been before. It is a soft kiss as you part ways, it is a single caress as you walk by them, it is an embrace that lasts just a moment longer before ending. It is the giving of pleasure in tiny amounts throughout the day. For love, while not ravenous, should yet receive many small tidbits in between meals lest it grow strained and famished. A single flower left upon the bed, a favorite dinner prepared to perfection, an inexpensive but meaningful gift concealed in a coat pocket or bag lunch, to be found at an unexpected time. It is sending the children to a relative for the weekend so your intimacy can be rekindled, it is waking your partner with pleasurable touches and strokes..these are the foods that makes love thrive, not the empty meals that Hallmark or society deem worthy of celebration.

Love is becoming vulnerable to someone, and asking them for their vulnerability in return. It is when you care for another so much that you approach them, naked of armor, and ask for acceptance as you are. There is no deeper pain than that of unrequited love, and no better relief than love returned. Be careful to not give your love to one who has none for you…that path leads to pain and abuse, or at least a life of being taken advantage of. Know that you cannot change others, nor should you try.

There is no such thing as love at first sight. There is lust, care for another, and chemical attraction certainly…but love is a garden that requires tending. It cannot arise overnight, or in a single moment. This is merely the planting of a seed, one that still has needs that will allow it to flourish and grow. I fear too many people forget this, and are surprised when they find their unattended love covered with choking vines and weeds.

Love is being so in tune with another that the room feels empty without them, when even a solitary activity like reading or drawing is improved by their simple presence. It is not making oneself inferior or superior to one’s partner, but instead recognizing them as a being equal to yourself, albeit different. It is learning to live, either temporarily or permanently, with a fellow person who has their own dreams, goals, desires…and accepting them as your own. Of course, they will do the same for you, which makes one’s life exciting but in a more stable way. Love is sharing a life so completely that you’d lay down your own to ensure that their own goes on, and knowing they’d do the same for you.

Love is not finding your missing piece or your other half. You should never seek without what is not partially within. Love demands that you give yourself, as a complete adult, to it. Attempting to use the name of love to find someone to complete yourself can only end in tragedy and resentment. Love is offering yourself…all of your beautifully flawed and talented self…to another, and having them joyously accept you as is.

This is how I feel about the concept of love, or at least what I can put into words. How about you, dear reader? What would you add?

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53 thoughts on “What Is Love?

  1. I hope you have this in your life, or attain it. Can your FWB relationship grow into that? It certainly sounds like he has opened up your personality in ways that you preciously found impossible. That must have required deep trust on your part, he must be quite a guy.

    While your reality is certainly complicated, you seem to be a very good and nice person, very capable of being loved. That puts you ahead of many in the world right now (sad to say).

    Be well, be lucky

  2. With some small exceptions, this is how I feel towards him. I have yet to ask how he feels towards me, but I know he cares about me and that’s enough to make me happy. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m happy while giving, and don’t require tit for tat to attain contentment. Complicated and strange as it may be, my reality is far better for having known him.

  3. “my reality is far better for having known him”

    Oh yes, I see that. He broke your physical isolation (as I read it, in other posts). He has allowed you to find out that you can be physically intimate with men and *cough* enjoy it *cough* a lot. Given where you were coming from, that’s a hell of a feat (for both of you).

  4. It is. In a way, he gave me new life…or at least one that I never believed I could stand much less enjoy participating in. Is it any wonder, then, that I’d die for him if need be? My world may not revolve around him…but I’d do anything to ensure that the world in general doesn’t lose such an amazing, caring person.

  5. Nothing to add. Nicely expressed, TS.

    Reading the commentary with SG, am very happy for you. It’s such a nice feeling. Rooting for you in this.

    Accept you as you are and will be. Feel the love.

  6. Your view of love is from the feminine sense, far too complicated in my view, but perhaps part of what it is to be a woman. For men, in my view, is what he does for you, not how he feels in the strict sense, as what he does is an extension of how he feels. In other words, you want a gauge of how a man feels? See what he does for you. And that does not mean just obsequiously doing whatever you want (as that is not love, but lust and desperation, (just as you might appear to see though), but putting you in your place if need be, telling it how it is. Yes he is not perfect, he makes mistakes, but he can also have the humility to realise he is wrong if you point it out and he sees the error of his ways. Sometimes lust can be an extension of love, but only if she is special. Hey I’m done.

  7. Hello, Monad.

    It’s actually kinda funny that you say that my definition of love is from a “feminine view”, both because I don’t really consider myself a woman and because there’s numerous men in the manosphere (and ones I know in real life) who say that *this* or something similar is what they feel towards their partners. Eh, but no one said men can’t have feminine traits, right? πŸ˜‰

    I’d never be with a man who feels he has the authority to “put me in my place”, nor would I want one who isn’t open about how he feels or does whatever I want. Where is the equity in that relationship…for either of us? No, my FwB is caring, open with communication, tells me how he feels, and has honest conversations with me. It is actually *I* who is more tight lipped about my emotions, and *I* who shows how I feel by giving small gifts/doing favors. We are opposite of what you think, in other words.

    I appreciate your input though, and hope it works for you and your partner/s.

  8. Dear Tarnished. You may know men from the manosphere who express what you said in the OP as what they feel in real life and you as a woman you might enjoy that this is the case. However, I’m not saying men don’t feel this, but men are what you (and most other women) might not want if they emoted this willy nilly. Do you think I wan’t a woman who just has no opinion, worldly view, intellect and good judgement built up upon her experience living in this hard and sometimes dangerous world? Well, if you’re not sure, the answer is no.

    But that doesn’t mean that I want a woman who uses her sexuality against my (and other mens’) achilles heel of sexual drive towards women. Women have and will always have this as a trump card with men. This is the reason for M3’s post. It is not that men are better than women, because we are not, but women have sexual power over us men, unless we are forthright and honest and be the best we can be.

  9. Oh by the way, you don’t ‘really consider yourself a woman”, well, you are a man or a woman, Butch dyke, Lipstick lesbian, M2F or FtM transexual, but either way you are towards or away from the masculine or feminine. Even dudes who are androgynous or girls who are the same gravitate towards one or the other. This cannot be escaped.

  10. I never would have assumed you think that men are better, nor did it cross my mind that you would want a unopinionated Barbie of a partner. I’m confused as to where my words came off as such. I don’t like people (mostly women, sometimes men) who use sexuality as a tool. Sex is an entirely separate act that is the physical way of showing either love or at least care for one’s partner. Much like M3, I find myself unable to separate the two. As someone who is physically female, but mentally male, my sex drive can surpass that of my FwB and has…even though I’m always “ready to go”, he has begged off at times. I also agree that women hold this trump card, but disagree with how it is used in typical Western culture. It’s unfair to the straight male population, in my opinion. “…unless we are forthright and honest and be the best we can be”. That is what I expect from myself and my partner, no more, no less.

  11. Oh, I completely agree. I just mean that I gravitate towards masculinity far, far more than femininity. Sex is not a spectrum(generally), but gender is. Might I suggest you read some of my posts about this? They’re located here:

    https://tarnishedsophia.wordpress.com/best-posts/

    I’d love to get your opinion, you seem to be very honest and upfront about your beliefs. Appreciate that in a commenter.

  12. I will have a look later, admittedly I’ve had a few too many drinks and will go to bed soon. However, as you might have a more masculine mind, yet female physicality and are not the norm, from your point of view. Let me put it this way from my point of view, I’m quite emotional in many ways, yet I am also quite masculine physically, I’m also very logical in disposition, much more as I’ve gotten older by default. I’d say I’m quite balanced in actuality. I have a very masculine persona to get a ‘normal’ lol, woman receptive towards me, but they are not interesting in the long term. I have a high sex drive, but as I get older (i’m 37) will tend to reciprocate only with a woman who has more than just her sexuality.

    Does that make you more masculine than me? Fuck no dear. You and I might be closer in our sexual (gender) predispositions, but you are a woman and I am a man.

    Much respect to you Tarnished.

  13. Well then, I hope sleep comes easily. Look at them when you wish and if you have time.

    “…but you are a woman and I am a man.” Precisely. Which is why I may someday fulfill my own wish and live/dress as a man but I’ll never attempt to become a full FtM transsexual. My body may not be what I want I feel it should be, but surgery will not give me what I desire either. Truly, I am stuck…

    Much respect to you in return, Monad.

  14. Tarnished, I can’t comprehend how you feel about where you are, but I will try to empathize.. Maybe you are wonderful as you are? But you can only answer that. I would like to think that as you were born is as you are supposed to be. You are a woman who thinks like a man. Now I would like that to be the case as that is that is the easiest way…and I hope you are happy with that. I would not wish upon anyone having gender dysphoria, that would be hard and many years of hormones and potential surgery. But for whatever reason, only by me briefly conversing with you, I reckon you can be a woman who is masculine, feminine, androgynous or whatever you are inbetween,, if that tickles your fancy, but, while you are a minority, you are unique and have much to impart to the world you life in. No you are not the majority, maybe I’m not either, but we are a mirror to those who are receptive and can spread to others who are as such.

    Much love and respect to you Tarnished.

  15. Thank you, Monad.
    In truth, I only want to be able to help sex/gender relations, both by speaking about my own experiences and by giving a rational/open ear to those who need it…be they men or women of any type.

    Love and respect to you as well.

  16. Hey,’m just drunk, I want you to be true to yourself, first and foremost, I’ll love you as a potential friend as you are, I’m just having fun with you, as I would if we knew each other IRL. All the best friend.

  17. Haha, a very poetic description. If only it would have been more grounded in reality… A trick question: What do these two posts (including comments) have in common? I don’t mean the dragon contained in both blog names. How much would you like to bet that after becoming a live-in lover of your FwB, your feelings toward him would stay the same even five years later?

  18. Well, it’s grounded in *my* reality… πŸ˜‰ My lover and I have been “together” for about 8 years now, and we generally have some form of sex once a week…more if our work/social schedules allow it. We both have high sex drives, and normally I’m the initiator. As for living together…no thanks. I’m innately a solitary person, hence one of my many reasons that I don’t want marriage or children. I am an INTJ personality type, and need my alone time, whereas my FwB is opposite…he adores being in the center of attention. I love him dearly, but I think I’d go crazy from lack of privacy if we lived together for more than 2 weeks (not to mention we’d both be pretty chafed, lol.)

  19. Also, remember that I don’t typically think or act the same way as most cis women do. It is possible that I’d somehow lose sexual interest in my FwB if we lived together (not that I’ll ever know)…but it is also just as possible I’ll win the lottery in a year or die in a car accident next month. Statistics are good for making generalizations, and can be useful for making educated guesses. However, they are not etched in stone rules that occur 100% of the time, nor should they ever be treated as such. You only need one white raven to prove that not all ravens are black…

  20. Why did you remove the links in my comment? Were they offensive somehow? Your blog, your rules anyway. Sigh…. Missed the point of my question, big time. Every snowflake is unique. Take any two of them and they won’t look the same (there are beautiful close-up videos at YouTube, if you don’t believe me). Yet every one follows hexagonal symmetry, if allowed to crystallize unhindered. Coincidentally, glaciology is a valid field of science. I know, people differ in their sociosexual orientation. I also know that there are no exemptions from hedonism treadmill NOR behavioral habituation. Most differences between people are differences in degree, not differences in kind. In particular, we, as humans, all have similar “wetware”. Yet, completion of human connectome project will yield answers to a lot of very interesting questions. You might have been androgynous in your outlook, I have to take your word at face value. Yet, would you admit that this article is applicable to you as well?

  21. They were not necessarily offensive, and I’d gladly have kept the second one but it got removed when I corrected a bit of your grammar. As for the first link, it goes to a site that I personally dislike very much and find fairly deplorable, and did not want any traffic coming from my blog. Apologies, but it is what it is, I’ll not go into it any further. Perhaps you could just *state* your question then, instead of insinuating and beating around the bush…? I prefer conversations that are direct and unmuddled, if you can’t tell by now. Yes, I know about snowflakes and glaciology, lol. Okay, so you’d be willing to admit that cis men may also get sexually bored with their partners, and divorce them or suffer from lack of arousal in their presence because of this, too? Just following your logic of “no exemptions from hedonism or behavioral habituation” and “differences in degree, not kind”. I wonder if you’ve yet read my posts on gender dysphoria/being the incorrect sex? It sounds like you have not, but doing so may help you understand where I’m coming from. They are located in the top section of my Best Posts page. As for your link, it also disappeared when I corrected your “coincidentally” mistake. Sorry about that. Anyway, I prefer links to be put in full so people can know ahead of time if they want to visit that particular site, rather than being hidden in words. If you give me the second link from your first example, I’ll edit it into the comment, as well as the article from your last comment.

  22. Personally, I don’t like leading questions, because I see them as a form of manipulation.
    Here are the links:
    http://www.blackdragon-blog.com/2013/09/29/women-get-bored-with-their-monogamous-men-even-more-scientific-proof/
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201101/how-womens-brains-are-calico-cats
    Still, statements in the blog of Sunshine Mary evolve from being more wrong to less wrong over time. That’s a good sign, don’t you agree? I prefer reading Rollo Tomassi.

    English isn’t my first language (nor a second one), so I prefer linking ideas to rewording them on my own. It tires me and the result is not worth the effort, usually. And for using hyperlink labels, it’s simply neater that way. Could you imagine Wikipedia articles without them? I’m accustomed to posting with forum software. Using blog comments seems very clunky in comparison. This is how you keep text formatted: http://www.quackit.com/html_5/tags/

    Not hedonism per se, hedonic treadmill – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill
    Also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociosexual_orientation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habituation#Examples_of_the_habituation_process_in_animals_and_humans
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Connectome_Project

    ^ Looks ugly, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

    I commented quite a lot at the blog of Judgy Bitch this year, starting in March. She was more tolerant to dissent than I expected of any woman. Well, our fields of interest overlap too little to keep my presence there.

  23. I agree, manipulation accomplishes nothing in my opinion and is often a deterrent to true conversation. Thanks for the links back, I did read both of them, coincidentally. I have some weird history with SSM, and I disagree with just about everything she says. Not only is she a bit of a…overly vocal…type of Christian, but much of her posts contain a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) misogyny that I find extremely off putting. So, I stay away…As for the messiness of having the full links, I’m willing to put up with it if it means another reader doesn’t waste time visiting a site they dislike already. It’s better for everyone involved πŸ™‚ Again, I’m unsure what is so special about the psychology article…? It’s just basic biology, what do you feel it proves?

  24. Haha, you could say that the point of Blackdragon’s post is “basic biology” as well.

    I think that neither is “basic” biology. It comes as a surprise to many people, sometimes to their detriment.

    And continuing the topic of outliers, I was diagnosed with schizoid personality long ago. I am an InTp with Introversion and Thinking both “cranked up to eleven” at Myers-Briggs test. I score 100% at both scales. It takes much to offend me. However, someone else deciding in my stead what is good and what is bad for me to read clearly belongs in that category.

  25. Hmm, see I saw Blackdragon’s post less as a biological origin and more of a societal origin issue. I think that the advent of no-fault divorce and the overwhelming sense of entitlement that many men and women have nowadays is far more to blame for what he describes than the mere presence of two X chromosomes. Nurture rather than nature, if you will.

    That’s an interesting personality type, especially at such high levels of I and T. I am guessing it’s sometimes difficult to get others on the same page? I know it is a continual problem for me.

    I wouldn’t want anyone deciding my reading material for me either! You’re correct…that is pretty offensive.

  26. What do you think of this study? It was conducted in Germany, not the US.
    Sperm Competition and Female Procurement of Male Resources
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=9468802673318624960&hl=en

    “In the samples of 30- and 45-year-olds, male sexual motivation remains constant regardless of the duration of the partnership. Female sexual motivation matches male sexual motivation in the first years of the partnership and then steadily decreases.”

    Your guess it correct. I don’t see it as a problem, though.

  27. I’ll have to read the entire study later, but I have heard of this happening…mostly from my married (male) friends. It seems counterintuitive though. Think about it; As a woman ages, she slowly but steadily loses estrogen as she nears menopause. This leads to hot flashes and mood swings, but also increased muscle mass as the testosterone in their bodies becomes more balanced with the remaining estrogen. Since higher levels of testosterone have been shown to have a positive effect on sex drive…shouldn’t women age 45+ be wanting *more* sex, not less?

    It’s all odd sounding to me, at any rate. I mean, sex is AMAZING. Why would anyone who has a loving, trustworthy partner not want to partake in it as much as possible?

  28. What if it isn’t the function of age? What if it is as Blackdragon wrote, that with the next partner the woman becomes horny again?

  29. Yes, I suppose that could (and does) happen. I know of men who’ve cheated on their wives with another woman, women who’ve cheated on their husbands with another man…heck, I have heard of people who had same-sex affairs.

    To me, this just boils down to the fact that homo sapiens aren’t necessarily meant to be permanently monogamous. If you look at our closest biological cousins, the bonobos, they do not choose a single partner to have exclusive sex with. Now, are we a different species? Yes, of course. But I believe that our modern notions of permanent romantic love and permanent sexual partner exclusivity are purely cultural, and not based in biology whatsoever.

  30. Or that the womankind isn’t necessarily meant to be socially monogamous. Compare gay and lesbian couples. Lesbian committed relationships are almost twice as likely to dissolve than gay ones. Quite telling, IMO.

    I wouldn’t put much importance into mating/parenting patterns of our closest surviving “cousin” species. Common chimpanzees are almost as much genetically close, and gorillas are not far behind. Each species follows a different system. Why not humans as well? For me, humans are more like social birds in that regard. Additionally, in a modern society it takes at least four times as the most common period of limerence to raise a child successfully. Don’t you see a problem here?

    Look at the favorite anti-feminist “mascot” and its closest relative – spotted and stripped hyenas. Does it take much genetic divergence to follow different mating/parenting systems?

  31. Really? I’ve read, seen, and heard the exact opposite…that gay couples are more likely to dissolve, are more prone to sexual affairs, and that many gay men never enter into a committed relationship in the first place, preferring to simply have a series of one-night-stands and random partners. The book “The Velvet Rage” seemed like an excellent source for this, as it was written by a gay psychologist and contained many excerpts from conversations with his gay clients.
    I honestly think that neither men nor women are meant to be monogamous their entire lives *for the most part*. The concept of marrying a single person and staying exclusive to that person for the rest of your life is a very recent version of marriage. Even moreso the concept of marrying for love, rather than to build bridges between families, condense resources, or the like. Again, see the video I link to.*

    We can and do follow a different mating system, but I just think it’s interesting how our closest relatives act, and shouldn’t just be poo-poo’d away. Of course there’s a problem…humans have an absurdly long childhood period! πŸ™‚

    How are hyenas “anti-feminist”?

    *At this point in my life, I’ve had 1 sexual partner and would only take another if we decided to part ways as lovers…for me, finding a different cis man to trust might be difficult, idk. When/if we do “break up”, I may try to find a lesbian or trans partner rather than another cis man, since I’m bisexual. I’ve never really dated before, and certainly haven’t since 11th grade…I’m afraid I wouldn’t know the first thing about it, lol.

  32. …that gay couples are more likely to dissolve, are more prone to sexual affairs, and that many gay men never enter into a committed relationship in the first place, preferring to simply have a series of one-night-stands and random partners.

    Doesn’t contradict my initial point. Gays, who want to enter committed relationships, tend to stay in them more than lesbians. I wrote nothing about gays preferring singledom (which could very well be the majority of gays in general).

    Anti-feminists make fun of feminists, pointing that female spotted hyenas are very testosterone-high, compared to other female mammals. Similar to feminist role models, smashing through the “glass ceiling”. As portrayed in the 2nd wave classic, “The BITCH Manifesto”: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/bitch.htm.

  33. Okay, I’ll have to do some research on that, your initial point contradicts everything I’ve ever read or personally seen. I’m willing to accept your hypothesis, but need evidence to do so. I also wonder if American gay men and lesbians are different than those from other countries?

    No, I get that anti-fems make fun of feminists. That’s obvious. But what does a dig-like animal with a large clitoris have to do with feminism? Are they trying to insinuate that feminists have large sex organs or something? It just seems weird…

  34. I’d search for raw stats on dissolution rates of homosexual civil unions, divided by gender.

    A pretty inconvenient article for social conservatives, isn’t it? πŸ˜€ I’d like to see how they would deal with it, barring outright denial.

  35. Spotted hyenas have reversed mating rituals. So, in the feminist paradise where predominantly women would be at the top of social hierarchies, it would follow that also women would have to spend all the effort of wooing a potential partner.

  36. Ah, I see. I thought you were referring to the fact that most female hyenas have large clits/genitals. Confusion abated!

    But yeah, I dislike double standards. See my post about chivalry for example…you can’t want to be treated with kid gloves in one situation and like an adult in another when it suits you better. Sorry, I believe in taking responsibility for one’s decisions and actions, especially after the age of 17.

  37. In that case I wonder what is your opinion of the GendErratic blog. In my eyes it’s so much evenhanded view of explosive issues as it’s possible for a human. Quite funny as well. πŸ™‚

    I agree, with one exception. One apparent double standard is justified, IMO – default preferential treatment of pregnant women. It might even extend to women not yet undeniably indicative of the condition. It’s quite easy to affect negatively the future life of carried fetus, even without bad intent.

  38. I haven’t yet heard of this blog. I will check it out and report back though. I agree, but I probably wouldn’t call treating a pregnant woman as such a double standard. Pregnancy is a state that *only* women can be in, and yes it affects the growing fetus. Thus, I think that if men could get pregnant too…but society still gave preferential treatment to soley pregnant women…THEN it would be a double standard. In other words, a double standard can only exist for something that both sexes are already capable of sharing, like intercourse/eating/working/etc.

  39. Well… “apparent”. It’s quite late for a pregnancy to show, say, in winter clothing. As a rule, it’s the beginnings that the most “delicate” time. If one is allowed to err, it’s better to err on the safe side.

  40. What do you think, what could explain correlations between the degree of fluctuating asymmetry, facial attractiveness, and various psychometric variables? Would you slap the label “lookism” to this issue, or perhaps allow for the possibility of it having some deeper meaning?

    For me, it’s not only about colloquially named “genetic quality”, but also about environmental factors that were affecting a given person during their development in mother’s womb.

    Is it okay to be discriminate about the attractiveness of potential romantic partners? Funnily enough, it seemed to arise for a reason.

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