Why Love As We Know It Is Just An Illusion

Gabby Orcutt
Gabby Orcutt

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, and it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” ~ Louis de Bernières

This quote about the concept of love always bugs me and reading this makes me feel like it is the most elusive concept in the human history. Let me tell you a little bit about what I think love is.

When I was a very young lad, my Sunday school teacher taught me a number of notions about what love is. We were literally forced to memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and me being the sharp chap that I was, used to memorize it like a song: Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, blah blah blah! I know y’all know the drill. Well, I grew up believing in the perfect kind of love. We learned a lot about love: agape love, unconditional love, that God is love, love is the greatest commandment and many more ‘lovely descriptions of love’. In short, we were taught about what love is supposed to be, as opposed to what love really is and honestly, this, according to me, was the genesis of all the teething troubles that happens in most relationships. Nobody took their precious time to tell us the truth about what love truly is.

Children are taught about love just the way you would explain how a pizza tastes to a person who has never seen one before. And you keep wondering what may have caused your last break-up? Oh, my friend, it is not your fault, the whole idea of love is just super-overrated.

My rough definition of romantic love is where a boy meets a girl or a girl meets a boy and they both (without their knowledge) stop using their heads and rather use their hearts to do their thinking.  Well, I am not disregarding the fact that these days a boy can make a boy ‘stop using his head’ or the same for girls too and I am not saying that the same is impossible between a man and chicken or even a man and a coconut. Yeah, these things do happen!  I’m just going to focus on the boy/girl kind of relationship and the madness associated with it.

I’m almost certain this could be happening in all the other types of romantic relationships too—except the coconut one. Human beings can really get weird! And human beings do crazy stuff, all in the name of ‘love.’ The concept of romantic love keeps evolving on a daily basis but, there seems to be a pattern that never changes: We fall in love and we either stay in love or, we fall out of love. It is just the reality. You meet someone, you two feel like you are great together, you feel like the person is the ‘right’ person and if all goes well, you propose or someone proposes to you and one thing leads to another and you may tie the knot and live ‘happily ever after.’ Well, there is one little piece of information that lacks in there. The missing fact in the whole ‘happily ever after’ story is that shit happens. The problem is that even if you tell two people who are in love to not really let it cloud their judgement, it really doesn’t change anything because, remember my definition—they prefer using the heart to using the head?

It is like asking the ears to see and the mouth to smell. You simply can’t convince a person ‘in love’ that it is just a mere illusion.

Two people fall in love and just flow with the tide and before they know it, they are on the lifelike trail of falling out of love. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t successful couples out there. Yes, there are many successful couples except that sometimes you wonder if they are together because of being too freaking in love or because of being two good liars.

Well, does it matter anyway? If you haven’t listened to a song entitled ‘Everybody Lies’ by Jason Walker, do so after reading this and especially if you are a bit skeptical about romantic love like I do.  Walker says in his song that “The only truth is that everybody lies.” If you have never lied when in a romantic relationship, you just won yourself a Nobel Prize! The ugly truth is that, even when you think that you are being honest with each other, you end up realizing that you are just lying to each other and letting your emotions confuse you. Meanwhile, the brain hasn’t been working since the time you two ‘lovebirds’ started having a crush on each other. The big question is: Should we stop looking for love?

The most intriguing thing about romantic love is that no matter how you started,—that is, whether you both agreed to just have a fling, or you are just in a Friends-with-Benefits kind of relationship, or a serious relationship or even a long distance relationship—you always end up having to deal with some form of battle. It could be jealousy, trust issues, cheating, not replying to text messages, and many other fights. Something just doesn’t seem right about romantic love. What is love? What is true and real love? Is it the one we see on TV? Is it the one described in Bible? Is it the one described by Louis?

There is one unique ‘romantic’ love that I call one-way-traffic kind of love. I bet some of you have experienced a period where you thought you were truly, deeply and madly in love with someone but that someone never reciprocated the feelings or the love. You either got friend-zoned, brother-zoned or perhaps he/she led you on and dumped you mercilessly when you started showing signs of wanting something ‘serious’. You chose someone who would never in a million years chose you and that is terribly awful and it sucks.

In case you are wondering, this relationship happens between two people who could be potential ‘lovers’ but one person doesn’t feel the same way or perhaps he/she is being ‘restricted’ by some other forces and that is why they can never express how they feel about you. In this case, you are using your heart to think for you yet the other person is actually using the head for its God-given purpose and in the end, you feel like you are insane. It is worse if the other person leads you on and this time he/she takes you to cloud nine and the next day releases you to fall on a hard concrete surface.

Well, if you ever get your senses early enough and realize that this may happen to you, don’t wait for the cock to crow in the morning, wake up from your stupid fantasy as early as you can and leave before you get insane because the more you stay in this kind of one-way-love, the more you will end up losing your mind completely. You will end up looking like an obsessed maniac suffering from love sickness or the worst case scenario, a stalker.

I know we all have got our stories, but I have a feeling that a great majority of people who put themselves out there in any kind of relationship end up experiencing heartbreak at one time in their lives. Some people call it the analogy of kissing several frogs before you meet another frog that may as well dump you. We have all had our hearts broken sometime or we may have broken some other people’s hearts and if you haven’t yet had your heart broken well, I don’t mean to be the prophet of doom but it’s definitely going to happen. But the good thing is, there is always something called getting over it. It is a hard thing to do but until you experience it, you will die believing in the illusion of perfect love. A great author once said that “love can sometimes be magic but magic can sometimes just be an illusion.” You only see the illusion once you fall out of love and not when you are in love: that is the ugly truth.

What nobody told me before, is that love is not something that can be defined and anyone who tries to define it is a big fat liar.

Love is just what it is.

I have some advice though, when you fall in love or when you think you are falling in love, try to make things work but always remember -if it doesn’t work out, there is a hard but better option: fall out of love and stay focused because after all, you will get your brain back into doing its assigned role of thinking. Love is an immensely overrated illusion, the greatest of all time. Falling out of love makes you sober. Falling in love might make you insane, but the choice is yours. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog