My friend fell in love in the back of a police car. She got there because of me. I wanted to see a haunted asylum.
That’s how she met him, a bartender who’d come along with our group. Even in handcuffs, they couldn’t stop flirting. They went on their first date right after the cops let us all go with a warning.
A year later, they got married.
We never should’ve been there. But if we hadn’t, they never would’ve met. The lesson here is simple: Love is fundamentally stupid. It’s not juggling chainsaws stupid. It’s two people flirting in the back of a police car stupid. If you want love, you have to kick off your logic. You have to let go of your self-preservation instincts, and let yourself be naive.
That’s how it works.
Love is a series of stupid mistakes.
One of my other friends moved to Oregon last year to be with someone she loves. They didn’t get engaged first.
She just flew out there.
That’s stupid when you think about it. No part of her decision made sense to anyone. That’s the thing about love. It’s the opposite of reason. You take big risks and see how they work out.
So far, my friend’s doing fine. She knows what she’s getting herself into, even if she doesn’t. Love is about improvisation.
There’s nothing practical about love.
Humans used to get married for all kinds of reasons—money, land, political alliances. Love had nothing to do with it.
Throughout history, we’ve been skeptical of love. Something changed in the last hundred years. We came up with this silly idea that you should enjoy spending time with someone and get to know them. You might even have sex first, to see how it goes.
Even then, that’s still not usually enough.
You have to feel something you can’t quite put into words. Love is one of the few decisions we make that we can’t explain. We don’t even know why we’d rather be with someone than alone.
We just do.
Normally, you’d call that kind of thing stupid.
We can’t define love.
Ask someone to explain love, and you’ll get a different answer every time. Nobody has a clue what it really means.
The closest I’ve come up with is this:
It’s not about your happiness. You enjoy making them happy. Making someone happy makes you happy. When you think about it, that’s ridiculous. If you tried to explain that to a computer, it would probably explode. And yet, we all nod in agreement. We don’t even know why.
It’s because we’re stupid.
There’s nothing tangible about love.
Love is one of the few words that has no physical referent. You can’t point to anything in the real world and go, “That’s love.”
You can’t measure love.
You can’t touch it, see it, smell it, or quantify it. Sometimes you’re in love with someone, and you don’t have the slightest idea.
How stupid is that?
There’s nothing consistent about love.
If we were smart about love, we would standardize it. Nobody has come up with a way to do that yet.
You learn to love one person a certain way, then the relationship ends. You meet someone new. Turns out, you can’t love them the same way you did the last person. You can’t love your wife or husband the same way you love your kids, and you can’t love any of them like you do your pet. If you try, you wind up hurting them, or worse.
So stupid . . .
Love goes against your self-interest.
If we were smart, we’d stay away from love. It’s gross and painful. It gets us into all kinds of trouble.
It’s expensive and time-consuming. Even when relationships last for years, they’re never quite what we expect. There are all kinds of hidden problems we should’ve seen coming. You have to act against your own self-interest, and sometimes your own preservation. You give and give. Honestly, there’s no logical reason to love anyone.
We do it anyway.
Love makes you feel stupid.
To get good at love, you have to get used to feeling stupid. If you can’t, then you’ll give up before you ever figure it out.
When you think someone’s flirting with you, and you flirt back, and you’re wrong, you feel pretty stupid. You feel the same way when you ask someone on a date and they give you a lazy excuse, or when you try to kiss someone and they turn away. You feel that way anytime someone stands you up, or ghosts you. You feel stupid when you accuse someone of cheating, then find out that it was just your own insecurities talking. You feel stupid when you think someone loves you, and they don’t.
There’s no way around it. When you go after love, feeling stupid is what you do. It never ends, no matter how good you get.
Love is a trick we play on ourselves.
Nobody knows what they’re signing up for when they decide to love someone. If we knew how all of our relationships were going to turn out, we’d probably never go on a date with anyone. We’d focus on our careers. We’d save our money. We’d make wiser investments.
We don’t fall in love so much as we fall for love. We trick ourselves into it. We think it’s going to be more fun than it is. We should know better. We don’t, though, and that’s a good thing.
If we were smart, we wouldn’t love anyone.
We’d choose loneliness.
Love is a game of chance.
Imagine if someone ever came up with an algorithm that predicted your actual, numerical chances of finding the right person, and building a real relationship with them. Imagine there was a machine that told you exactly what you needed to do. Would you want to use it?
I know I wouldn’t. I’m not sure anyone else would, either. And that makes us all stupid. Only an idiot would turn down knowledge like that. We probably turn it down because we know our chances are next to nothing, and we keep trying. That’s the definition of stupidity.
Love isn’t that different from lotteries and slot machines. We play and play, and we rarely win. But when we do, it’s amazing.
Love is all about stupid mistakes.
Love is stupid, and that’s fine.
The more you think about love, the less it makes sense.
That’s the whole point.
We’ve written tomes on love, and we still haven’t figured it out. We probably never will. Just when you think you understand love, it changes. In the end, there’s no good reason to love someone. You just do it. So the best relationship advice in the world is this:
Don't get too smart.
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