Love. It's one of the first words that we all learn. But do we ever really learn what it means? To me, there are so many different kinds of love. I don't think they can all be defined in conventional ways. We all know the standard kinds of love as defined by the Greeks: Storge is the natural occuring love between children and parents. Phileo is the love that occurs between friends. Eros is known as erotic love; what we typically think of occuring in relationships. The last kind of love is Agape, which is love for God. But can these be the only forms of love? Can love really be defined so simply?
I mean, what is love really? Is it a feeling? An emotional response? Is it strictly science? Is it innate, or learned? Do we all feel love at one point, or does it only happen to a few of us? Can we only fall in love once? Or can we fall in love a limitless number of times? Is there really such a thing as a soul mate? Will these questions ever be answered? I don't know, but I do know these questions have been plaguing me lately.
I'm a hopeless romantic by nature, though I try to fight this on a regular basis. I think I fight this as a defense mechanism. If I don't let people get close to me, I can't get hurt. Every single time I try to put this wall up, someone manages to knock it down. Apparently my knees are weaker than I thought. Unfortunately every time this wall has been knocked down I seem to tumble right along with it. It honestly has felt like it's my destiny to be heart broken. Yet once again I find myself letting my walls crumble.
I think I've been hurt so many times in the past because I fall before I've really found love. But my problem is I obviously don't know what love really is. Why can't this be an easy thing to define, at least for me. Maybe others don't struggle with this as much. Currently I'm feeling something for sure, but I don't want to slap a label on it for fear of cheapening it, or screwing it up. I know I'm feeling intense happiness, like none before. I can't control my body at times, I honestly catch myself smiling for no reason, and forgetting to breathe. I don't know what to call it, but I like the way it feels.
But at the same time, it kind of scares me. I don't enjoy feeling vulnerable, and not being able to control my body and my emotions around this person makes me feel about as vulnerable as a person could feel. It's terrifying, yet this person makes me feel so comfortable. It's very contradictory, I know. I just don't know any other ways to describe what I'm feeling.
Since we're on the topic of love, where does the line between friendship and something more get drawn? I've recently experienced something with a girl friend of mine that really has be confused. We've not been friends very long, but we've gotten close very quickly. She recently admitted that she has strong feelings for me that aren't strictly platonic. It's just happened so fast I really can't tell if her feelings are legitimate, or if she's mistaking something else for love. I think she's an amazing girl, and I would say I love her as far as friendships go. I'm just afraid she's misreading our great friendship and love for eachother (phileo) as erotic love (eros).
I don't want to lose her as a friend, and I don't want to lead her on or hurt her. I'm comfortable with my sexuality, so the fact that she's a girl doesn't bother me, I just don't feel romantically attracted to her. How can I help her figure out what she's really feeling? Clearly I'm no expert on love if I can't even define it. It's a tricky thing.
So my Questions for you: How do you define love? When do you know it's real? How would you handle a situation like the one I'm experiencing with my friend?
Lindsey. Twenty-Five. Currently pursuing a degree in Professional Writing & Film Studies.