What Love is Not, and Maybe What Love Is


Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend!

So love. Hmm. That’s a big one to tackle.

I’m going to do what the famous French philosopher Descartes would do—which is to try and remove everything that I know love is not (for the sake of brevity, I’ll omit the obvious ones such as lust, power, etc). Then, maybe, just maybe, we might have something left. If that something left is not love, perhaps it will be an impoverished vista of it … for love is the greatest thing of all, and we should hope not to know all of it.


I’ve been wounded along with the most passionate of us … looking for love. My heart, too big for the body it was born in, has writhed and stretched and squirmed since I was that awkward boy in six grade with a sky-falling crush on Mary Lou. I can still hear that old disco song. You can ring my beeell, ring my bell. But I don’t think I rang her bell, as I can still taste the rejection today as bitter as untaken coffee.

Love is not impatient. So many years, so many failed relationships; they resulted not in lasting love for me. But that didn’t keep me from trying. Or any of us.

Love is not afraid. Fear is dark clouds cruelly blanketing the sun. Oh, the sun doesn’t go away, but it’s sure hard to feel its glorious light when you let the storm sit with you. Cast it away, for life is too short.

Stormy sky over flooded lighthouse

Love is not excitement. An old friend once told me that real love is like an old, worn pair of blue jeans. I thought she was crazy. At the time she told me this, I was in the greatest bad romance of my life (though I didn’t know it then). Oh, it was exciting all right. And it nearly put me out of the game. Oh, I don’t think love is boring; don’t misunderstand me. I’m just saying that I think there’s a big difference between being in like, in love, and in life. And though the old blue jeans simile is a bit over the top, perhaps, I must admit, the greatest love of my life feels pretty comfortable … more joy and bliss though, than Hollywood excitement.

Love is not conditional. What’s the worst phrase of love? “If you don’t do this for me, I’ll …” Sure, maybe it’s not always so blatantly said, but that hint of leaving is always there in the bad romances.

Black Rose in a Glass Vase on Rustic Wood

Love is not an Internet dating checklist. Of course, some of us have to learn this one the hard way. Morgan, the character from PELICAN BAY whom almost every one of my readers has hated, came from a Website. We had so much in common you’d think we could teach the world about love. And it failed splendidly. And I needed a lot of emotional recovery. Hey, but I got a bestseller out of it (LOL). I once met a woman in the Internet dating world who, when I asked her what she was looking for in a partner, said, “I don’t have any preferences at all; I just want it to feel right.” Back then I thought she was insane.

Now …

Love is not boastful. In my past relationships, I remember wanting to tell my friends all about this girl or that girl. Now, I just let the light in me shine, and there doesn’t seem to be too many other questions. In fact, if you follow me on social media, it’s pretty obvious; I don’t have to say anything.

lunar path

Love doesn’t hurt. If I’ve learned anything over my forty-eight years on this earth, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Maybe you can get a bestseller out of some hurtful, even kinky kind of love affair, but if you want to be in life with someone, perhaps you might want to look further.

Love isn’t wordy. Blogs can’t go on and on. Perhaps next Valentine’s Day I can share some other things love is not. Maybe you’d like to comment below on things you feel love is not. But love may not need long dissertations. So let’s end this for now.

But do we know what love is, then? I mean, after all this exploration? I’d like to say yes … but you know I can’t.


But don’t we know something? Of course. Since we’ve skipped the obvious ones, and listed some others above, we are closer. Maybe that’s what love is all about, anyway: getting closer. If your partner brings you closer to that love feeling you’re looking for, if he or she helps you get closer to your dreams, to your real self, that could be the vista we’re searching for … albeit beautifully impoverished.

I hope you all get closer this Valentine’s Day—not just to your partners, but also to all those who you truly love.

Yours in love and in literature,



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