sex & relationships

What is Love?

hearts on sticks
Written by Alex Ramsden

When somebody asks you “What is love?” no doubt you’ll reply “Baby, don’t hurt me”. But it brings the question, really, of what actually IS love? The question isn’t just a cheap joke based on a nineties club hit but it’s something we all, whether we realise or not, strive to find. A complex and abstract emotion that can’t be pinned down to any definitive answer.

To some people, love is the feeling in your heart when you get your dream job; to others, love is the way the dog comes bounding up to you when you come home from university; for a lot of people they feel it is unobtainable- a prize that is so close and yet so far away that they stop looking for it. This is usually when it strikes.

Love is subjective

How many people have you heard talk about meeting a partner or getting a new job or seeing their football team win promotion when they weren’t actively seeking it? The idea that love is an impulsive urge inside the heart of every human being is one that has kept writers, singers and poets in business for years. But, and it’s a big but, isn’t love individual?  

I guess I’m trying to say that where one person could find love, another would find nothing but distress and loneliness; as the door to emotions opens on somebody, it slams shut in the face of another. The problem in the twenty-first century world is a lack of individuality. Everybody is given a label and they are expected to adhere to the stereotype that they have been placed in.

Who says that a middle-aged woman can’t genuinely fall in love with someone in their twenties? This notion of being ‘too old for them’ or ‘finding someone their own age’ is nonsense. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then love is in the heart of the individual. Forget the labels, forget the societal ‘norms’ and forget the way other people might think. If you’re happy then you’re happy.

In the end, the decisions we make, personally, in love, are our own and if everybody worried about what the neighbours might think or they’re scared of breaking down taboo barriers, then there would be so many unhappy people in the world.

So if somebody asks you “What is love?” you can tell them. Love is what you make it. Life is what you make it. If the two things really are parallel lines that humankind strive for then surely two star-crossed lovers can be happy with each other and they don’t have to care about anything else.

It is an emotion as complicated as nuclear physics. If we look inside ourselves, the heart and soul, it is a Rubik’s cube that nobody can ever solve, with each face of the cube bearing the face of love, desire, hope, togetherness.

I can’t tell you what love is. Foreigner are still singing about it and asking. Professors and highly-paid lab coat wearing nerds have been searching for answers. But, through every greetings card and every show of affection, we find our own sense of love.

The heart wants what it wants and nothing can get in the way of finding it.

So, when you feel like your Romeo or your Juliet are miles away over the horizon, just remember that everyone is different and every single one of us has their unique love.