The pain that makes love so intense
The column by our couples therapist Oskar Holzberg is all about typical love wisdom and its truth content, he dissects proverbs, song lyrics and famous quotes. This time: “Love hurts” – Boudleaux Bryant, composer and lyricist.
If love doesn’t hurt, then love does it?
“love hurts”. A song sung by Roy Orbinson, Nazareth, Cher, Rod Stewart, Joan Jett and many others. We hear him in “toy story” and “mad max”, a global insurance company advertises it. The song obviously speaks to us. Because we are painfully aware that there is a dark side to love.
Stay away from love?
Most of us know lovesickness. But it’s not just the pain of unrequited love that we let love into our lives. Jealousy, emotional dependency, tormenting fear of loss, they not only hurt, they can lead to madness and depression. Criminal loverboys exploit the love blindness of young women to force them into prostitution. So-called romance scammers deprive their internet lovers of their savings. Affairs, stalking, suicides, femicides. Love hurts. Because love relationships reopen the old wounds of our childish love for our parents.
So, despite all the love, should we perhaps keep our hands off love? In fact, some painfully disappointed in love steer clear of romantic relationships for years. Love hurts because our feelings of love are deep and intense in us. As humans, we survive because we can live bonds. As soon as we engage in a bond, our entire organism rejoices. If we solve them, he punishes us with painful withdrawal symptoms. “Love hurts” is the price we pay for our wonderful ability to relate.
Sociologist Eva Illouz believes we suffer even greater pains in love than previous generations. For among the Romantics of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, lovesickness was a distinction and a sign of sensitivity. The torments of love were considered unavoidable and necessary. Today we experience them as personal failures. Saturated with the media images of happy couples, we get the feeling that everyone is living blissfully in love. Just not us, and Martina (or whatever our unlucky best friend is called). We also consider ourselves to be the architects of our own fortune. If you are not granted happiness in love, it affects your self-esteem.
Pain as a sign of the importance of love in life
Love hurts. Every day that we feel misunderstood, criticized, rejected, at a distance from our partner. In which we doubt to be loved or to love. Where we laboriously get closer to each other again. Trying to reconcile, forgive, and long for the good times when our love was fresh, uncomplicated, and all promising. Our romantic imaginations and overwhelming infatuation are beautiful. We never want to miss them. But they are not suitable for everyday use. When the differing needs and desires of romantic partners collide, the pains of love tell us what to take care of.
Love hurts because without the painful side of love we would not be able to love or relate. Just as our body would not be able to live without pain. When our love hurts, it speaks to the importance of love in our lives. That could make us braver to love. Because it also tells us that the pain can go away. And won’t stay because there’s something wrong with us. Love hurts: It lies in the nature of love.