General Question

smack's avatar

Is love a lie?

Asked by smack (1217points) July 14th, 2009

We can never know what people are really thinking. We can never know if people will follow through with what they say. Does this “love” exist only because we want it to exist? We’ve been told that it exists since day one – therefore, we expect it to exist. (This is called top-down processing in psychology. What you expect to be there, will be there in your perspective, even if it’s not actually there.) And every failed relationship that seemed that it would last forever only stacks up more evidence for the lie that we call love.

But is it? We see couples that stay together for fifty years and pass away within a week of each other. For some, though, this seems to be a legend, something that only happens once in a million.


Edit: my inspiration for this question came from the song “My Winter Song,” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. It’s very good; check it out.

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48 Answers

discoinferno's avatar

No, love is not a lie.

But srsly… love is not only biologically wired in our brains, but it is very evident in people’s actions.

Blondesjon's avatar

Love is not a lie.

Love is a longshot that Vegas wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

cak's avatar

Love is not a lie. It’s strength depends on the people that stand behind the word. If they are saying one thing and doing another – they are the lie, not love.

Love isn’t a fairytale, though. I think people confuse being in love with “happily ever after”. That’s not always the case.

Supacase's avatar

I think it is real. I know some children who were completely neglected (locked in a room, smuggled dog food in by stuffing it in the baby’s diaper) for the first 3–6 years of their lives. Their mother overdosed; the grandfather and his long-term SO, whom I am friends with, took them in. It has been an uphill battle and there was a period of time when the 3 y/o had to be held and snuggled like a baby to get her to calm down – she was never touched out of love by her parents. Her older brothers took care of her. Through sheer love and determination, my friend has turned those children into relatively happy, contributing members of the family. The youngest is now 10. There are still many struggles, but there is absolutely no doubt that there is love in that home and it is definitely not because the children were taught from birth that it should be.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Blondesjon sums it up perfectly. Love is real. Love is amazing. True real love is more elusive than the albino alligator. When you do find it, it is the most incredible thing you can ever imagine. Ever.

chicadelplaya's avatar

I don’t believe love is a lie. I do know, however, that sometimes relationships can fail because love just isn’t enough to make it last for the long haul.

Blondesjon's avatar

@chicadelplaya . . .If it didn’t last, it wasn’t love.

marinelife's avatar

@smack Welcome to the collective. Next time, if possible, provide a link to the song in your details so people can hear it.

Love is not a lie. For example, knowing that love is out there (in your top-down scenario) wouldn’t do a bit of good for making me think I loved most of the men I meet.

We do have to remember that monogamous love is and even romantic love are fairly new concepts when associated with marriage in terms of the history of humans.

Tink's avatar

Only if you want it to be a lie.

discoinferno's avatar

@Blondesjon You can’t honestly believe that can you? Scientifically speaking, researchers hypothesize that romantic love is only built to last 5 years. After that, it’s just a matter of co-dependence. If it didn’t last, a variety of factors could have come into play that made the relationship extremely difficult or unmanageable. Love does not “conquer all” in reality. Shit happens. People change. Situations change. If a couple breaks up, it does not mean they were not in love. Not at all.

Blondesjon's avatar

@discoinferno . . .If I spent my life letting a group of “experts” I don’t even know, dictate my life and decisions I would probably be a very unhappy, not in love person.

Fortunately I subscribe, exclusively, to my own brand of bullshit.

marinelife's avatar

@discoinferno I don’t think that science puts it like that. Initial chemical attraction usualy does not last that long. I am betting from your answer you have not experienced true and lasting love. It surpasses the initial spark by a mile. The warmth, the intimacy, the shared laughter. To call that co-dependence is ignorance.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Another vote for Yes . I think the “aye’s” have it.

discoinferno's avatar

@Blondesjon I’m pretty sure I’m not letting any experts “dictate my life and decisions.” I’m simply using facts to support the statements that a) Love is not always eternal b) people can fall out of love and c) love is not the only ingredient in a successful relationship.
@Marina I didn’t mean simply “attraction”, I meant the head-over-heels, butterflies period you feel for someone else. That fades. It’s only temporary. What holds you together is the reliance on one another for security, company, etc. The “knowing” of each other. That part isn’t romantic love. That’s co-dependence.

marinelife's avatar

@discoinferno Like I said, if you think that, you are talking through your hat and have never experienced real love. Please don’t presume to know what holds me and my partner together. You are clueless.

AstroChuck's avatar

No. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
(You can use that if you’d like.)

cak's avatar

@discoinferno – co-dependence? Wow!

I am very very certain I am not co-dependent. In fact, I am pretty independent. Helping each other out with things, in daily life, as a partnership is not co-dependence.

Take some away from the books and live life and learn the difference between a written statement and true experience. Healthy, loving relationships are not co-dependent. To equate love to co-dependence? To me, that shows a lack of experience.

discoinferno's avatar

@Marina Care to step down from your pedestal? You are clueless about my life and are in no position to assume whether or not I’ve “experienced real love.” I’m not saying anything about what holds you and your “partner” together. Did I mention you or your partner once? I’m pretty sure I was speaking generally, and was merely explaining the scientific theory I mentioned earlier. There’s really no need to take anything personally or attack me and my character for talking about a theory.

discoinferno's avatar

@cak What I find very funny is that you all are so quick to assume I have no experience with love when all I am doing is regurgitating other people’s ideas. Try a little objectiveness once in a while.

smack's avatar

@cak I don’t think she means the psychological definition of co-dependancy, which is indeed a destructive force – think instability and mistrust and accusations. I think she means being able to lean on each other, the trust that is built over the course of a relationship.

discoinferno's avatar

Yeah. I think you’re all misinterpreting the definition of what they mean by “co-dependence.” It’s not like, Omg I depend on my husband to pick up the kids at school. I depend on my wife to buy groceries. It’s about needing each other to be happy, stable, comfortable, secure. It’s more of a move to “needing” rather than feeling the bubbly excitement of romantic love…it’s beyond the floaty honeymoon period, it’s escalated to a point where your lives are so woven together you can’t help but need to be together.

Harp's avatar

@discoinferno Why does the passion that goes along with a young relationship qualify more as “love” than the interwoven-ness that characterizes a more mature relationship?

discoinferno's avatar

@Harp The only answer I can really give is… the scientifics. The part of love that can be pinpointed in the brain is the romantic, bubbly kind. Our society has defined love to mean more, like the “interwoven-ness” of lives. That’s not “romantic love” though. That’s… more of a deep, profound love.

cak's avatar

@discoinferno – You know, that’s the problem with being online. It’s hard not to draw certain feelings from the written word. You read things and react. You go with your gut feeling. That is how these conclusions come about.

I’ve been with my husband (dating and married) for over 7 years now. I can assure you, I still get giddy when I see him. I still get butterflies and I still love to watch him walk in the door. There is a level of romance that we keep going, because we enjoy it. We keep things exciting. I still melt when he holds my hand. I love for my hand to be held.

Actually, I think we’re more in love now, than we have ever been. I think the love grows over time, matures. It evolves. That “honeymoon” stage is great (I think we’re still there), but the real thing, is far better.

marinelife's avatar

@discoinferno I was just going by what you said. If you are just parroting others, then you shouldn’t. Also, co-dependent is a term with an accepted definition.

“Melody Beattie (1987) popularized the concept of codependency in self-help literature (Starker 1990). She defined codependency for the lay reader: “A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior” (Beattie 1987, p. 36). Source

Aethelwine's avatar

No. Love is not a lie.

I love my husband more today than I did 18 years ago when we first became a couple. I don’t need my husband. I want him. After all these years together I find him sexier, funnier, more intelligent, more caring, more responsible than he was at the age of 20 when we met. I’m getting turned on just talking about him.

marinelife's avatar

@jonsblond That’s what I’m talking about. 26 years married for us next month. I still find him hot.

cak's avatar

@jonsblond – woohoo!

discoinferno's avatar

@cak It’s great you still feel that way about your husband. I’m only 18 so I obviously can’t dole out my “Well, I’ve been with him for 10 years and I feel…” speech. I’m glad you feel that way, because it proves the spark doesn’t always fade according to a clock in our brains.

@Marina…“If you are just parroting others, then you shouldn’t”? I think I made it quite clear I was referencing scientific studies, but maybe you’re just slow.
Co-dependency is obviously left to interpretation. What you copy pasted is one popular idea of it based on one what person said. That is not the be all-end all definition of the term.

Blondesjon's avatar

Real love is not a Hallmark sentiment, laboratory experiment, or best selling author’s opinion.

Love is having someone that can’t live without you as much as you can’t live without them. My wife @jonsblond and I have been through more shit than a drunk episode of The Real World and we still can’t quit each other.

Is that convenience? Maybe. But I’m awful fucking glad that she is the one I decided was convenient.

i love you baby

marinelife's avatar

@discoinferno Beattie is the practitioner who coined the term. Also, definitions of words are not whatever people think they are.

I feel, however, that you and I have gotten off on the wrong foot here. So, let’s back off. I shall start. I know that you are new to Fluther. If you are going to quote from or paraphrase material from other sources, you need to source the material. Link to it if you can.

Second, I did take offense at your use of the term co-dependent, because I did assume the standard definition, which has a negative denotative and connotative meaning.

What people are having trouble with is your (or the studies you are working from) very narrow definition of the term romantic love. Perhaps a better term would be chemical attraction.

prude's avatar

no, not for like family.
I love my children, my children love me, I love my mother, she loves me.
now, as far as relationships of a sexual nature, dunno.

discoinferno's avatar

@Marina Oh ok I misunderstood, I thought Beattie applied her own interpretation, particular to a certain field, to a pre-existing word and it became widely accepted. And I agree chemical attraction might make more sense and be more clear in getting my point across.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The commonly accepted American form of love is definitely a lie. Usually meaning lust… I want you. But love is not a want… Love is a give. True love is anything you give yourself to.

Yet, Americans can rarely get their mitts on something without completely butchering it, beating it down to our advantage.

The word Love has become a butchery of intended meaning. We don’t typically appreciate the nuances of that rarest of emotions. We use one word to sum it all up.

Greeks have many words, Agape, Eros, Filia, Storge, Platonic, Thelema…

Apparently Hindu Sanskrit has over 70 different words to describe the intricate nature of Love.

Wayne Dyer defined love as this:
“The ability and willingness to let those that you care for do what they want without any insistence that they satisfy you”.

Pretty different than most Americans would accept.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Love is best defined by those that feel it. Just as I wouldn’t let a legless man teach me running, I would not let someone who hasn’t experienced the long lasting profound love of a twenty year relationship tell me what love is or isn’t. Feel free to try to figure it out for yourselves, but don’t ever assume you know what holds two people together.

And just for clarification, I would assume that there are more kinds of love than there are types of beetles on earth, and god so loved beetles that they are the most common six-legged insect on the planet. Love isn’t just about the bubbly passion people feel for each other, even though that one gets all the good press..

YARNLADY's avatar

The problem with the word love is that in the US we use the same four letter word to describe a myriad of feelings and behaviors. For some, inexperienced in the concept, yes, a certain kind of love (imaginary) might very well be a lie.

For the majority of us, love leads to a life time committment with the object of our love, whether this be Husband, child, or pet. Love is not a lie, unless the one who professes love is lying.

loser's avatar

Love is real. It avoids me like money, but I know it’s real.

cyndyh's avatar

I know love exists because I changed a lot of diapers. It’s not like that’s something people would voluntarily do without loving the little rugrats.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Feel free to disagree, but I strongly believe that each and every human searches for love of some kind. Why do you think so many of us are lonely, even in a crowd? Sure, you could say that we’re searching for companionship, but what is it in that companionship which we’re looking for? Love, be it platonic or romantic or family love. It’s still love.

If love is a lie, then our lives are lies.

CMaz's avatar

LOVE is what you make of it.
I am Divorced, and I am glad of the decision.
But, I still love her. Still be there if she needed me.

smack's avatar

@ChazMaz Yes, I think a part of knowing you love someone is what you do if they leave you. Even though things my ex did to me were sick and horrible (although they were out of love, I suppose), I still love him. Always will. It’s been a year and a half now (which is a pretty long time for a teenager, haha), and every single person who is remotely close to me has said to me give up, he’s an asshole, it’s over, get over him, move on. And although I tell them I have, I’m not. I never truly will stop loving him, and I’ll always be there if he needed me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

So what if for some love is only for a year or that for some it turns into ‘dependence’ and for some it is intense if unrequited…you’re still better off knowing what a force it can be than worry about what scientists have concluded about a thing that is beyond science

cyn's avatar

real love is not a lie….
if you describe something as being “love” and turns out to be a lie, it was never LOVE!

valdasta's avatar

Sorry, I didn’t read all the Flutherites comments on this one. “Love” is not a lie – it is misunderstood. Much of what we call “love” today is not love, but mere physical attraction or lust. If I am married and “fall in love” with my neighbor’s wife, that is not love, it is just plain wrong.

Love is more [or ought to be] than a feeling or butterflies in the belly. Love is unselfish. That goes totally opposite to what we define as love these days. If you think about it, “teen-love” is totally selfish in nature. “What can I get from this person? How can they make me happy?” This is the mindset. True love is not self serving. True love involves commitment. Love becomes a lie when we can so easily and conveniently walk away from it (love).

Let me throw this one in for free: A man who will hop in bed with a girl, shack up with her, and says, “I love you”, doesn’t if he shys away from marriage. Why should he commit if he is getting what he wants? THAT is NOT love.

mcbealer's avatar

@smack ~ that is a very very beautiful song, thank you!

Not only do I believe love is very much real, I also believe it is everywhere.
I have been gathering evidence of this realization in a gallery on my photo blog.

Does love suck sometimes? yes
(or as that famous song says, it stinks!)

This is a time-honored question which I too, have faced again and again.
At the end of the day though, I have concluded that I would much rather have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. Love is one of the most confounding emotions I have ever felt…. and yeah, like @loser, it has repeatedly eluded me most of my life. And yet, I keep coming back for more. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

And now, to return the favor… here is another great song on love for you to enjoy.

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