Recently, I came to the realization that what we know of “love” or a “relationship” falls short of a priori truth nor knowledge acquired via experiencing emotion. While popularly understood as something emotive and something that actually exists (ie. discovered not created), the notion of love is in fact purely a social construct that consists of ideals perpetuated by mass media and exist as societal norms. For one, why has fidelity been inextricably tied to love? Why is it that I can’t love two men equally without being denigrated as unfaithful? Does that deny the validity of my “love”? It seems nothing more than a construct to ensure social order, alike the sanctity of matrimony, aimed at the simplification of legal dispute re finances, property, maintenance of children etc that would arise with polyamory or polygamy. Nonetheless we are taught to believe that somebody who truly loves you must give you everything you want – time, attention and patience – and give it to you and you only.
However, not only can one person love more than one person, in actuality, it’s also only a matter of time and the diminution of novelty that somebody can decide he has stopped “loving” you and “loves” someone else instead. And in this vein, something society insists should be everlasting (i.e. “to death should us part”) could be destroyed overnight – one party might be forsaken, one party might actually have never committed… On the other hand, an unwilling party could remain in a relationship purely out of his commitment to matrimony. Thus, at its very core, love is a rational decision, not something nebulous and emotive, and relationships subsist on nothing but rational and intentional commitment.
Many make falling in love sound so accidental and so unintentional, but it is in fact an extremely intentional decision. You choose to love somebody, meaning you choose to accord to a person what society seems requisite in a relationship – time and attention etc. For instance, stereotypically boys make the decision to get to know a particular girl in a sea of people, while girls make the decision to reciprocate the goodwill of boys who pursue them. Choosing to get to know A does not mean you could not have loved B. Choosing to break up with A to get together with B, also does not mean you do not, or cannot still love A. Love is not special, it is ubiquitous, and everyone is replaceable. Unlike family, there’s nothing to hold you back in terms of free choice – choosing who to date is entirely up to you.
How you label your relationship is a whole other fiction. You can serial date one after another, you can have fuck buddies, you can choose to be with somebody for 10 years and never choose to be in a “relationship”, and you can also have a family with a person of the same gender and have society deny legal validity of your union and choose not to give its existence recognition. What then does the term “boyfriend” or “husband” etc necessarily entail? Is it one of form or substance?
Many have come to believe in this notion of love, but ultimately it is a social construct to ensure the reproduction of mankind and the preemption of social problems that could result from “imperfect” or “illegal” unions. Choosing a boyfriend or girlfriend is alike a college application. Being told “I love you” means absolutely nothing – alike every college application which will state that said school is their top choice. Yet you could be but a safety school since he couldn’t attain his first choice, you could be the result of a scholarship, he could transfer schools, he could drop out, etc.
Ultimately, the creation of concepts like love and relationships have merely created a need amongst humans for love, not unlike the invention of post-its and our current reliance on sticky paper.