10 Feb Why I Write About Love and Relationships
I still remember the words of a writer on Medium who expressed distaste towards those writing about dating and relationships amid political upheaval, climate change, and global suffering. Maybe they thought it was frivolous or self-indulgent, or just a waste of space on the internet. I understand where they were coming from, but for someone writing about relationships, it still stung. I also think this individual was wrong.
Love matters now more than ever. If we can’t find and nurture love in our own lives, how are we supposed to love the world? Our community? Maybe some can have crumbling and painful intimate lives but still love beyond the four walls of their inner life. I know this is not the case for me, and for many of us.
Love is not easy. The more I dive into the exploration of what love is and how to lead with love in my own life, the more I realize this. It is challenging and it asks the ego to stand down to make room for something softer and greater than ourselves. In the words of Erich Fromm:
“Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.”
I write about love because I am committed to the practice of it. Writing is part of this practice for me. I am also motivated to share what I write, for a few reasons. I am going to summarize those reasons below:
I have read A LOT of bad relationship advice over the years
What is bad relationship advice? Well, I think it is when someone takes their experience and makes it out to be a universal experience. It is advice that speaks with unearned authority or claims the work of someone else as their own. I now know to be a bit more discriminate in the information I take in. I realize, however, that not everyone has time to read relationship advice from the experts themselves and for many of us, Google is the first place we go when we have a question or problem.
Google was my relationship teacher for years. I was young. I was desperate. I wanted my advice fast and in a listicle and I wanted it to save my relationships. I now realize that the articles that pop up first on google are not necessarily the best or the most helpfularticles, they are the ones that rank highest in the search engine.
I can’t guarantee that what I write will be helpful to everyone. Who knows, for some people, my writing may be dumped into the bucket of “bad relationship advice on the internet.” All I can do is write something that I wish my younger self could’ve read, and that helps me to hold my writing with care and tenderness.
I felt alone for years
For many years, I hid the reality of my relationships from everyone. At one point in my life, I withheld the details of a toxic and abusive relationship from my counsellor. Why? I was ashamed and I wanted her to accept me and the relationship I was in. I wanted her to believe that I had finally figured this whole love thing out.
I felt alone for years. I thought that there must be something wrong with me and that no one else around me was having the same kind of problems. All of the advice on the internet would’ve urged my partners to leave me. I was toxic. How could I not hate myself? Yet, the only way out of the trap I had found myself in was love itself, especially for myself.
When I write, I try to be vulnerable and honest. There are still stories that I haven’t told because I don’t have the words, or because I am afraid. I hope one day to be able to tell them and that hope keeps me writing. One of my biggest hopes is that maybe it can help someone out there feel a little less alone. Even if it is just one person—it’s enough for me.
It is relevant to my work
I hope to be able to work with couples one day when I become a counsellor. When I read about the psychology of better relationships or the philosophy of love I am not only thinking about myself and trying to make sense of my past, I am also thinking about the people I will work with one day. There are people that have dedicated their lives to studying relationships and working with couples, and I want to learn as much as I can from them.
It is not only relevant to my life’s work as an aspiring counsellor, it impacts everything I do. Spending hours a week reading and writing about love softens me. It reminds me of how powerful relationships can be and I take that with me in all of my interactions. The people I walk by on the street, my volunteer work, and the children I work with as a support worker. Writing about love means I am continuously learning about it and finding ways to apply that knowledge not only to my personal relationships, but to my work. It’s a win-win.
I believe in the power of love
Cheesy, I know. Ugh. It hurt me to write the subheading. I know it is cheesy but I’ve learned it is nearly impossible to write about love and avoid cliches. It’s also true. I am motivated to write about love because I believe in it. I believe it is one of the most powerful and necessary parts of being human.
I am not about to “love, light, and positivity” you right now, though. I do not think love is easy. I think for some people, love is something that is incredibly painful. Some children grow up in homes where the impact of their parents’ trauma is stronger than that of their love. Some of us never learned what love is. We might be terrified of it or we might cling to it and lose sight of everything else.
As much as I believe in the power of love, I also believe in the destructive forces that can come in in the absence of it. When hate prevails it spills out into the world around us. I am not sure I would spend as much of my time reading and writing about love if I didn’t believe in it as much as I do.
There it is. That is why I write about love. I have tried writing articles not about love and they ended up being above love. For example—I interviewed my friends, co-founders of a successful software company and ended up writing an article about their friendship (which is one of the most loving friendships I’ve known). The Case for Starting a Business With Your Friend taught me that I should probably stay in my lane.
It’s also such a vast topic. I write a lot about primary love relationships but love expands into all parts of our lives. Love and work, love and friendship, love and family…. the possibilities are endless. I can’t see myself ever running out of topics to explore and books to read but only time will tell. Until then, you will find me here, writing about love and relationships.