Ask Kayy

Dear Kayy,

I’m pretty embarrassed asking this, but . what is love? My friends and people I know talk about it, but I don’t really get it. How do you know that it’s love that you’re feeling? I’m confused.


Dear Lovestoned,

I received this question quite some time ago, and have been avoiding responding (no offense, Lovestoned). I love my job – helping people out when their girlfriend is cheating, or their boyfriend has self-esteem issues, or if they want to catch the attention of the person of their dreams. I’m pretty knowledgeable about gynecological issues, orgasms or first-time jitters. I’ve penned articles on many different issues . but I had no clue where to start with this one!

Love is something that needs to be experienced. It can’t be explained. It’s like trying to explain the color red to a blind person. Okay . that’s a tad melodramatic. Love is everywhere: in romantic comedies, selling lingerie in store windows, spouting from the mouths of poets and in Hallmark cards.

If love is ubiquitous, why is it so hard to nail down what it means? First of all, all emotions are complicated and there are many things that can be mistaken for love like passion, loneliness and even horniness. Even in one of the oldest love stories of all time, Juliet and her Romeo, it has long been disputed: Was it true love or youthful lust? And how do you tell the difference?

When it comes to love, there are more questions than answers, but maybe that’s a good thing. If we all looked to a specific, static mold of what true love is we would never feel like we measured up. You can’t define something that is different for everyone – some of the greatest love stories have been complex, drama-filled and way complicated. I think the greatest thing about love is that it’s unique to each couple.

People fall in and out of love with the change of seasons, we make vows and don’t keep them, we think we’ve found “The One” only to be sadly disappointed. We “think” we’re in love and then we break up. Then we fall in love again and think that this new love is real and the first one was not. (Is your head spinning yet?) We tend to talk down about our past loves, maybe because of pride or maybe as a defense mechanism. Or maybe that last one really wasn’t love and this is.

Either way, I say love isn’t a feeling. It’s a moment. And if you feel “it” in that moment – some feeling in your gut or your awakening subconscious – you should wrap yourself up entirely in it and enjoy it. If that moment decides to last five minutes, five months or five lifetimes you are lucky to have felt it.

My hunch is that you’re writing for one of three reasons:

1) You think you’re in love but are afraid to fall. What are you waiting for? Sure, admitting it is opening yourself up to getting hurt, but if you don’t learn to put yourself out there, you’ll never be happy. I wouldn’t trade my thousands of mistakes and heartaches for anything because they eventually led me to my current partner.

2) You’re writing because you’ve never been in love. Relax, it’ll hit you when you least expect it.

If you just don’t feel it, pretending you do or forcing it will only make you miserable. Love takes a week for some and months or more for others to develop, but when you know it’s not right, you know. If someone loves you and you don’t feel the same, you’re doing them a favor by letting them go. You deserve to be dazzled, too.

3) You’re in love but other people are telling you you’re not. Screw ’em! Love is different for everyone and can only be seen through your eyes. Love is not comprised of one person’s qualities plus another person’s qualities, but the complex chemical connection created when they are intertwined. If you feel it, it’s real. Hey, if Romeo and Juliet said they were in love, who are we to judge?

Enough beating around the bush. You asked me what I think love is, so I’ll tell you. To me, love is being so comfortable that you never want to move. I don’t mean “safe” comfortable or orthopedic shoes comfortable, I mean wanting to lie with someone forever, feeling like every molecule in your entire body is drawn to this person and that your skin on theirs is perfection. It’s being happy just to know that person is alive. It’s caring more about them than yourself. It’s feeling incomplete in their absence – not a clingy, adolescent covetousness, just the slight sensation that something’s missing, like when you wear a ring every day for years and then take it off to wash the dishes. It’s wanting to write a thousand poems but having perpetual writer’s block.

Hope that helps! And remember: always make love, not war.