I’ve Managed To Break Down The Phases Of Love

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I’m no expert on the subject. I failed at it more times than I care to admit. So I guess what I have to say has little to no probative value at all. But I have to write about it. It’s what people do. It spills out you; you can’t help but excrete it… like sweat. So many of us fumble in our attempts at finding it, being in it and recovering from it, that the only way our limited minds can hope to understand it is in the catharsis of letting it spill out of our mouths, down our cheeks, through our hands.

Love is a mystery, defying definition and eluding proper study. So what follows is my humble chronicle of the kinds of love I’ve managed to fall into in the quarter of a century that I’ve lived. I will exclude in this measly and feeble treatise, familial love… it’s not something we choose, it’s genetically wired into our DNA; an exception I suppose. I write on the premise that we choose to love others… that we decide to expand and transcend ourselves because for whatever reason, we can’t help but gravitate into each other’s orbits.

First, there’s Fantasy. This happens when we choose to buy into the mystique of a particular person. Someone says he/she is this amazing/awesome/cool/whatever-other-adjective-floats-your-boat. The next thing you know, you begin to see this other person that way. You build them up in your head and one day you figure you should go for him/her because he/she is exactly what people say he/she is. At first blush, it’s all great! You become friends/more-than-friends and everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be. But then, the mist clears, and they become this totally normal person… the fantasy collapses on itself and you’re left with plain, old reality.

Then there’s Wine. He/she is that friend you’ve always had, your best buddy, the one who knows you in and out. You’re totally platonic. Then one day or over the course of months, he/she morphs. The friend becomes a companion… becomes love interest. The more time you spend together, the better he/she becomes. The person you once thought was your rock, suddenly turns into a diamond! The greatest find! You’re so lucky to have fallen for your best friend. For others this route has seemed effective… they’re still happy and all that. The main problem is, sometimes friends aren’t as synced as they like to think they are. The stars don’t align for everyone… sometimes one falls too early or too late. So when you do make your untimely move, the friendship doesn’t survive and you’re heart-broken and alone, which will lead you to consume vast quantities of wine whilst belting out Adele’s quintessential ballad, “Someone Like You.”

A slight variation of this is Champagne. You meet someone new. He/she and you totally hit it off. Sparks are flying, there’s that irresistible fizzle in the air when you’re in each other’s space. You can’t help but think, wow! This must be the one! But after the initial fireworks, and the two of you just sit and talk and talk and talk… then bam! The bubbles have gone and you’re left with fermented grape juice. You become friends and then you repeat the Wine cycle.

Then of course there’s the Tug & Pull. You don’t quite like or hate each other, but for some reason you just physically click. A few thoroughly satisfying rounds in the sack and you choose to turn off you brain/heart and let your libido make all the wrong decisions. You fight, you fuck, you fight, you fuck. And at the end of the day you’re exhausted. The sex turns bad and you’re left wondering, “why the hell did I even play that stupid game?!”

Speaking of games, have you ever played Chicken? That’s when you meet someone pretty cool, pretty awesome or just plain pretty. But the timing is just a little bit off. Both of you want to make a move, but instead of doing anything, you just stare at each other and wait. Will they? Won’t they? Is there even a they? Both of you just wait and wait and wait… then something or someone inadvertently always comes along. You leave with your pride intact, but not much else. So congratulations! You’ve managed successfully to waste X number of weeks, months, sometimes years.

Now the next one, I have not experienced first-hand. But I’ve watched (enviously) from the sidelines, Destiny play out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy into the whole “you were made for each other”, “the planets have aligned”, “soulmates” bullcrap. This happens when two people manage to work out a secret pattern of signs simultaneously. They imbue totally random events with meaning. They choose to believe that every chance meeting, accidental hangout led to their finding each other. Some people just happen to be in the right place, at the right time and choose to follow the path they stumbled on. Lucky bastards.

This next one, I have experienced. It was an interesting and in retrospect, a rewarding one. I call it, Rehab. This happens when two lonely people, hurting for any number of reasons, meet and manage to help each other out. I’m NOT talking about a rebound relationship though. This one, both parties come in broken and walk out better. Everyone leaves the relationship better than they came in, no one’s hurt, everyone walks out feeling better about themselves… they fell whole again. In fact, you might just gain a friend out of it. But of course, if one isn’t hurting and just happens to actually like the sad shmuck, and then things could turn out messy.

Now my favorite, I’ve saved for last. But before I get to it, I just want to say that this is not, by any means, an exclusive or exhaustive list. These are simply the kinds of romantic love I’ve managed to come across in my short life and I am hoping that these aren’t the only possibilities. If these were… goodness… I might just be better off alone.

So lastly, there’s something I like to call Sitcom. It’s a combination of everything above. He/she is at least two of the above-mentioned experiences but somehow you’ve managed to stay friends. So everyone around you is still tuned in, hoping to see if you guys are finally going to be together or if you guys are finally going to call it quits. God knows how many more seasons you two have left… but so long as you’ve got a rapt audience, even if it is just the two of you, then you’ll be assured a renewal. TC mark

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