My kids hate to listen to the radio with me. Okay, they’re adolescents and they hate to do just about anything with me, but the radio brings special angst. That’s because practically every song is either about love or about sex, unless it’s a song that’s ostensibly about love but really it’s about sex (which is not the same as love, but who can blame kids for confusing the two when every songwriter in America has). And the songs that are about love all seem to have a similar message about how damn much love hurts but, as most of these songs emphasize, you just gotta hang on, hang in, stick it out, stick with it. At which point I think, Stick with it? Until what?? It’s dead and stomped into the ground??? And quite often I do more than just think that, I actually say it out loud and that right there is why my kids hate to listen to the radio with me.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. I’m here to talk about this week’s topic: Love Hurts. Except that I think, it shouldn’t. Not romantic love, anyway. But I think an awful lot of people out there think it should. And I blame that in large part on the whiny songwriters who are putting out all these songs telling us all that it does. And I know there was a time when I believed it too. I certainly had my share of incompatible, mismatched, doomed relationships (okay, it was ONE doomed relationship but it went on for a very, very long time) and it hurt. Oh did it ever hurt. And we just kept hanging in there, sticking with it, working it out over and over and over again well past the days when it was dead and should have been stomped into the ground. But we were young and in love – and listened to the damn radio – and believed that even when love hurts, it’s worth fighting for.
And here’s what I tell my kids – when they’ll listen to me, which isn’t very often anymore (as I said, they’re adolescents): love shouldn’t hurt. It should make you laugh and lift you up. Love should give wings to your dreams and help move you along to your destiny. Love should make you a better person, a happier person, a healthier person. If it doesn’t, then love yourself enough to move along until you find the partner who does all that for you. Because that’s what we all deserve.
It took me many long and painful years to finally extricate myself from my own love hurts relationship. And that’s when I met the Oneonta Sweetheart – you’ll meet him in FIRST COMES LOVE, THEN COMES MALARIA. And, no, he’s not the one that I share my happily ever after with. But he is the one who taught me a very important lesson. That love doesn’t have to hurt at all. And for that, I am forever in his debt.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. And I truly wish all of you love that lifts you up and makes you happy.
8 Replies to “Dedicated to the Oneonta Sweetheart, by Deb Eve”
I know exactly what you mean, Eve! You’re so right. Love should make you happy, and I know my husband does.
I maintain even good love hurts sometimes but maybe that’s because long-term, committed love takes hard work and anything fraught with so much emotion — even passion, even romantic love — is bound to be hard and even occasionally painful.
However, the kind of “love hurts” I’m talking about is NOT the kind described by those confused songwriters who romanticize bad relationships.
Love is complicated, and I think that’s why it makes for such a great topic in fiction (and memoir…)
Eve, if you ever need more kids to lecture, please feel free to borrow mine. We can do conference calls, video chats, or instant messaging. Seriously, though, this is a good point. Love shouldn’t hurt. If there’s anything I want to teach my girls it’s that they shouldn’t be looking for Mr. Right, they should be looking for Mr. Right for Them.
Real love doesn’t hurt, it simply can’t. Perhaps there’s occasional disappointment, but that’s also a two-way street.
But what’s this about the Oneonta Sweetheart? Hmm, still two more months to wait for FIRST COMES LOVE… Now THAT hurts! 😉
Kris – I can certainly agree with you on that long-term committed love takes work – sometimes (year 13 was particularly difficult, as I recall!).
Tiffany – I will lecture your kids, if you want! Just ask my (mortified) teenage daughter! I’m the mother who has her nose in all the kids’ business!
Ah, Larramie, yes, there IS an Oneonta Sweetheart. Two months … and counting … ’til you can all meet him.
Evie, your post reminded me of one of Big Jeremiah’s rants against romantic songs. He used to say exactly what you said about the lyrics and how they shaped Americans expectations of love. And for him that was a lot, and this was usually after one of his long thoughtful Irish silences.
Anyway, what happened in year 13, and I just loved the Oneonta BF too, he was a real mensch, as it St. John.
You’re so right, Eve! When kids go into relationships thinking their significant other is going to make them miserable, it’s a self-fullfilling prophecy. And too many women (and men) stay in unhealthy relationships because they think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Marriage and relationships are hard work (I always say), but they should bring you joy. Hope everyone has a happy V-Day!
A note to you has been at the top of my to do list since the EAGLE Scout ceremony of Brendan and Joey in early January. John (sorry but I knew him way back when and I can’t do “St. John”…yet) shared the fantastic news about your book!! I am so thrilled for you. The bonus of the evening was seeing Jeremiah too.
I have spread the news to everyone from John’s college roommate to my senior in college daughter Maddie and everyone in between. Many friends and family from Staten Island, NY to Concord, NH have claimed to be preordering. I did tell them that if they did preorder you would certainly do a reading or attend a book club event in their area. Hope you can squeeze them in this Spring (with a trip to Cape Cod too).
Hope to catch up with you soon. Sending all good thoughts and love and wishes to you!!
Happy Valentine’s Day
p.s. are any of the early John stories worthy of a book? let’s discuss!
I knew that term seemed familiar!
What a sweet post, and of course you know I’m in total agreement with you!
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