Love Has a Price; Is it Too High?

Crystal Jackson

Everyone loves a love affair, but few of us want to pay the price of admission. And, as with any magic, there’s always a price.

Of course, the kind of love affair I’m talking about isn’t the kind involving infidelity. I’m talking about chemistry, connection, romance, infatuation, and love. Experiencing attraction, desire, and intimacy with another human is often longed for and yet can carry a hidden price of admission.

Nearly every fairy story will tell us that magic has a price. There’s a cost to getting what we want, particularly when it comes to other people. The price of admission to the magic of love is the potential for pain.

Love hurts. We’ve all heard it said. It’s true though.

Love means vulnerability and risk. Love means taking the chance that we’ll feel it, and the other person won’t. Or that we’ll fall, and then they’ll change their minds. Or that we’ll fall together, and it will be scary and spectacular and like nothing we’ve known before.

Love means fear. It means risk. It means pain. But it also means, well, love. It means a deeper connection. It means a bond forming and sometimes holding.

Romantic love carries with it companionship and sex and a feeling of belonging with someone else. It even contains within it the possibility of forever, which feels like safety even when it’s not. It’s a beautiful process, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less terrifying.

Potential pain is just the cost of admission for the exhilarating rush that is love. Perhaps the pain will be insignificant in the face of the enormous amount of love we give and receive. Or maybe we’ll just end up hurting after loving the wrong people. Perhaps the pain will be the magic elixir that transforms us into who we were meant to be all along.

Maybe it seems like the price is too high. Maybe the risk seems like it’s just asking too much. Maybe we don’t want to get hurt anymore.

But let’s flip the script. Maybe the love we experience is everything we ever wanted. Maybe they return it, and they don’t change their minds, and they never, ever leave. Maybe the trip is worth every single moment of fleeting pain for the chance to feel that kind of love.

Maybe it’s even worth it when the love doesn’t last. Maybe the transformation is worth the price because the love was the push to become who we needed to be and only the pain from the love moved us beyond the fear of failing.

We’d fallen already, right? Another leap pales in comparison to the one involving love. We grow, we change, and maybe we wouldn’t if we hadn’t loved the wrong person for a little while.

All I know is that we have opportunities. The right ones will serve us well, even when they don’t work out. The wrong ones never will, even if they do.

We choose and choose again, and if we’re lucky, somewhere along the way we start to listen to what we really need and honor that for ourselves. Love doesn’t hurt less, but we stop self-sabotaging it. We open to it and let it in, but that doesn’t mean we betray who we are or abandon ourselves at the door of love.

We love, and we pay the price of admission because we know that love is the answer. If this is the price, we’ll pay it. If that’s the risk, we’ll take it.

We know it’s worth it because, by this point, we’re not engaging in any more toxic love affairs. We wait to see if we’ve found our soulmate or another lesson, but we learn all the while that love is perhaps the greatest magic in all the world. And magic always has a price.

I’ll pay it. Will you?

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails:

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