Not down with love

Annabel Sanz, Issues and Ideas Editor

Of all things one would expect to be damaging in large quantities, love is not one of them. How could it be? We are introduced to movies where the answer to the main conflict is love, starting from the age of two. Either the princess must experience a “true love’s kiss” to wake her from her impenetrable sleep or she waits around all day until Prince Charming comes to slip a fragile shoe on her foot. As teenagers, romantic comedies teach us that we should ideally strive to balance school and friends, all while maintaining an all-consuming relationship. As adults, romantic dramas remind us of the struggles of making a marriage work while simultaneously keeping the spark alive. The concept of love envelops us from the day we are born until the day we die. When we are not looking for it, we are determined to keep a tight grasp on it. If we are taught that love is the answer to conflicts, that it has the power to move people, shake them to their cores to the point that they are willing to change their beliefs for someone, how could it possibly have negative effects?

As with all highs, there are inevitable lows. Addiction is commonly associated with vices like alcohol, smoking and gambling, not with something as innocent as love. Love is not something that can be bought at your local bar, it cannot be experienced through inhaling the contents of cigarette, and it cannot be spent and lost in a single night. But it can make one feel dizzy and lightheaded, it can damage you and it can drain you in a matter of hours. It is as easy to become addicted to love as it is to become addicted to heroin, except the side effects are not as pronounced. What once began as a normal relationship can transform into an obsessive need to see the object of one’s desire. It becomes hard one to breathe without their partner, hard to see reason. Many know the feeling of losing a friend to a relationship that consumes them, changes the person they knew and transforms them into a neurotic shell of who they once were. Love, powerful as it is, can take hold of someone and coerce them into doing irrational things.

Like with a drug, a strong enough passion can completely change a person- for the worse. Take Chilean Grace Guajardo for example. When Guajardo’s boyfriend informed her that he would be leaving her to take a job in Madrid, she was way past furious. As opposed to trying to compromise with him, she instead called in a bomb threat minutes prior to his plane taking off. As a result, the 312 passengers onboard were required to evacuate the plane while police searched for the supposed bomb. When no such explosive was found, Guajardo was arrested. Of course, her boyfriend was disgusted that she would stage such a disturbance just because he wanted to leave, right? Wrong. He responded by saying, “I can’t be angry, I have to support her. What she needs is love, nothing more.” Guajardo’s actions were clearly erroneous and uncalled for and put hundreds of people in danger all because she could not prevent her boyfriend from leaving her.

Love is not always rainbows and butterflies. Overdoses of it have led people to lie, cheat, steal and even kill. Many quit their jobs and end friendships for their significant other. That is not what love is truly about. No one should have to throw away their values or change who they are to make someone else love them. Love should not be crazy and dangerous. No one should have to feel like they might need to make a trip to rehab because they cannot control themselves.

Maybe we should put a warning label on falling in love. Perhaps it would allow us to think things through before getting in over our heads in a relationship. If we saw love for what it was instead of the picturesque version that we are presented to in movies, we would be more cautious with it. We would not lose sight of our goals, we would not throw our entire lives away for something that comes and goes. Love is the sneakiest of all addictions and it creeps up on the most unsuspecting. That is not to say that we should be weary every time we feel those butterflies stretching their wings in our stomachs or whenever someone shoots us a smile from across the room- just that we should keep in mind that all things are good in moderation- even love.