Recently, I ran a keyword density analysis on this blog and made an interesting discovery: though the name of the blog is “Life, Love and Online Dating” and our subject is dating and relationships, somehow Mike and I had gotten 115 posts and about a year into this endeavour without once using the word “love” on our blog. That’s right, not once–it’s in title tags and links, but not one single little time in the body of a post.
Naturally, this kicked off a bit of speculation, and Mike and I each have our theories about why “love” is so underrepresented on a blog that’s theoretically all about love. Perhaps his reasons differ from mine; I’m sure we’ll be hearing about them soon. For me, I think it boils down to this: I think “I love him/her” is about the least significant thing a person can say about a relationship or potential relationship or past relationship.
First, “love” means something different to everyone. Some people use it to describe the early rush of emotion that I think of more as infatuation, or even a simple reaction to things being new and exciting. Some people use “love” very carefully, and apply it to only a few people in their whole lives. Some people don’t believe “love” has anything to do with emotions at all. C.S. Lewis tells us that there are Four Loves and that the problem arises because we use a common term to describe many different things. A person who says “I love you” doesn’t necessarily mean to communicate what the person hearing those words receives; a person who describes a relationship to a third party as “love” may have something very different in mind than the listener’s own experience of love. Thus, the word love doesn’t communicate much at all.
More importantly, sometimes love just doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s a hazardous thing for a relationship blogger to say, but the bottom line is that “But I love him” is a statement that often evokes a “Yeah, and?” reaction from me. Maybe it’s my background. I spent years in the rawest areas of legal practice: child welfare cases, criminal defense, domestic violence divorces. In that context, I heard “I love him/her” as a justification for all manner of bad decisions, and it didn’t take long to lose my tolerance for the fact that the statement was an end point for so many people and not one factor in the decision-making process. I’m sure this isn’t going to be a popular view, but I’ve never been one to live in fairy tales: the fact that you “love” someone says almost nothing about whether or not you should engage in a relationship with that person.