If Love Is Painful, You’re Doing Something Right

Image source: S. Bielanko
Image source: S. Bielanko

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. 

-Paulo Coelho

Every damn place you look anymore there’s another article about how you can tell if your love affair is the real deal:

4 Ways to Know He’s the One

The One Deal Breaker When It Comes to Marriage

If You Answer “Yes” to These Three Questions, You Are With the Right Person

How to Know She Loves You For Real

It’s understandable, I guess. We want answers. We need clarity. Lately, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I guess I find myself pondering certain endless galaxies of mystery in an effort to make a bit more sense of the divorce I’ve just come through. Lots of people like to apply a certain batch of check-offs and questions to something like a love affair or, if circumstances dictate, a divorce. They want to be able to run down a list of sh*t someone else came up with and say, “Yeah, that was us,” or “Yep, we did that,” or “Uh-Huh. Nailed it.”

But listen to me, people. It’s snake oil. That’s all these easy-peasy articles really are. Because, if you take two steps back for a second and consider the very reality of love, even in its highest/grandest moments, you’re still trying to aim your little plastic set of binoculars at the freaking sun, okay? You try to focus a juvenile eyepiece on a majestic star and it will blind you in a millisecond, yo.

Love is fifty gazillion galaxies mashed together at once.

Love is not something you are ever gonna understand.

The thing is, love isn’t just this totally selfish man-made notion of happiness/rainbows/fulfilling orgasms/safety/family/contentment that we all go around convincing ourselves it is. Love isn’t always supposed to make you feel great, or even good, you dumbass.

Love, you see, is also a very sick and demented demon syphoning squeamish strings of your marrow straight out of your bones with no painkiller.

Love, you know, is also a very bad thing for you.

And if we ever pull our collective faces out of our laptops or phones for a day or so and think about it, we might have a chance someday at enjoying love a little bit more for what it really is.

Love is a chocolate-covered throat punch.

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I tend to think that a lot of people who break up or divorce or whatever, they probably could have saved the thing if they really wanted to. It just comes down to what you want to fight for.

The love is there, I think, but what’s not present is the desire it takes to keep fanning the flames, you know? People get lazy as hell. You can argue that point with me, but I know I’m right.

You hit certain walls with love because love likes to build sh*t, like a toddler with sand and broken clam shells. That’s where a lot of us lose our way. We get confused. And when human beings get confused by anything, especially something as fulfilling as love, they often get disgruntled and impatient.

And guess where that usually leads?


It’s him.

It’s her.

I can’t take this anymore (even though I don’t have a clue what is happening)!

I’m sad. Where did we go? I smell burning flesh.

I want out.

The great poets understood. So did the wild-eyed philosophers of yesteryear. But most 21st century people are so blind to the history of the human heart that they never ever figure out what beautiful minds have been trying to tell us all along:

Love is pain, dude.

Love is addiction and love is the shakes.

Love is mystery when we need certainty.

Love is everything but everything includes hurt/pain/and times of distress.

This cyber world meme-infused psychobabble notion that love should be something that makes us feel like cartwheeling down the beach or else we should immediately seek it elsewhere, it’s just a marketing scheme. It really is. Someone caught a wild-ass bird and stuck it in a cage and practically destroyed the entire world in the process.

Our lips are like little gummy robots: Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s your flowers. Our reservation is at 7. I love you. Hahaha! LOL!

Our deepest gut is silenced by our fat lazybones: Hey. Why don’t we ever really talk anymore? I miss talking to you. I miss trying to actually hear you speak. We’re changing every ten minutes. I want to watch you change. I want to get off on riding your change like a bucking bronco, baby.

What a shame if any of this is right, huh? What a waste of our potential to love and keep on loving.

Love is supposed to be hard and challenging and enraging and even paralyzing so much of the time. It has to be. We got stoned on some kind of commercial fairy tale dust, we started pretending love is this fantastical thing when really it’s something savagely different.

Then what? Ugh.You know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying by now. Look around you. Look at all the burning ships out there on the horizon, real true lovers who might have made it work, both of them flipping each other off one last time as they leap into the steaming sea. Then what?

We go out to find someone else to love.


We do it again, the same stupid way, hoping for the best, shirking at the true nature of love’s ebbs and flows.


We lose love; we give up on it; we let it rot on the vine right outside the window where we stare right through it every damn day. Because we expected it to be so great all the time but it wasn’t. Because we were lazy and sheepish from the damn start, man.


As if anything that’s truly magnificent could ever exist without suffering for love.

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