The Leftovers: LoveOn this week’s episode of Sunday Brunch with Megan + Chris (which you can listen to here), I asked listeners to send me their questions about love. I answered a few of those questions on the podcast but since I don’t have time to get to all of them, I’m answering more of them here.

Love is something that we all experience in varying ways. There’s parental love, spiritual love, romantic love, familial love…more ways to love others and things than we ever recognize. But with such differences also comes a lack of understanding. Now, I’m no expert on love by any means but with my background in psychology maybe I can help a bit with that understanding and lend my own advice.

Here are some of those questions:

Do you think we use the word ‘love’ too much? Such as, “I love tacos!”

Let’s start with the fact that you can never love tacos too much. I actually don’t think it’s possible. As for other circumstances of using it, I’m going to say no. I don’t think that saying we love things is cheapening it’s meaning or anything like that. I love lots of things. Sometimes I love things during one minute, like them okay in another, and hate it in yet another. This doesn’t mean that my love for it is invalid. Not to mention, I’m a strong believer in the fact that there’s never too much love in this world.

Do you believe in a thing called love?

I believe in a thing called love, just listen to the rhythm of my heart.

Why do you think it is so difficult for people to express love (platonic or romantic?)

Personally I think this is because what’s an appropriate expression of love differs from person to person. When we aren’t sure of how receptive someone will be of our expression, we tend to hold back. This comes across as a difficulty towards expressing love, at least until we are more comfortable in that setting/with that person.

Are there different levels of romantic love?

I don’t believe that there are different levels of romantic love so much as that romantic love is a constantly evolving thing. How you love someone last week is going to be different than how you do this week. As your life changes and their life changes and your lives together changes, so too will your love. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and in many cases it causes romantic connections to be stronger and more withstanding. It does, however, sometimes lead to a diminishing of love as two individuals’ love for one another no longer align in the way that they once did.

Have you experienced true unconditional (non-religious) love?

Does my love for Chic-fil-a and Atlanta Falcons football count?

What’s your favorite term of endearment for your love?

I tend to stick with peoples’ actual names. Anything else feels really awkward coming from me.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Put simply, no. I don’t believe that love is something that comes immediately for me, especially as I’m using pretty slow when it comes to warming up to people. How someone meshes with me (or even how someTHING meshes) goes a lot farther than any initial impression. There are lots of people who I am crazy about now that I actually wasn’t fond of upon first meeting. They say that first impressions are everything, but I try not to put too much pressure on any one moment.

What is your love language?

Personally I don’t identify with any of the traditional 5 love languages. Maybe this is weird, but I don’t feel that any of them speak to me. I enjoy giving but find it to be nerve wracking, quality time is good but I don’t feel that it’s necessary in all cases, words of affirmation sometimes make me more uncomfortable than do good, acts of service I recognize as good but are not a strength of mine, and physical touch is unfitting considering I’m very weird about personal space.

Do you believe in soulmates?

I love the idea of soulmates as it’s romantic and provides the basis for any good fairy tale…but in reality, no not really. I believe that there are those we match with better than others, I believe that there are those we can adopt as soul mates (although in reality, maybe not), and I believe that relationships are less about “destiny” and more about the work that we put into them. So while I’d love to say yes, I’m gonna have to go with no on this one. However, if you’re someone who chooses to believe in them I totally support you. I think it’s a fine thing to believe.

What do you believe love actually is?

Phenylethylamine, norepinephrine, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. I have a problem.

How many times have you been in love?

I fall in love with something every day. Moments, things, people, concepts – I would never want to limit love to romantic only as it seems like a terrible way to live.

Do you think the puppy “love” we have in high school still counts?

I think it certainly counts! I’ve always found it strange that we discount young love as being less real than whatever adult form we experience as we get older. I personally believe that such love as “puppy love” could possibly be more pure than others as it is simply a longing that the heart has. As adults, love comes with so many qualifiers and terms that the definition itself becomes convoluted. Puppy love lives on, I say.


Keep an eye out on Twitter for next time I ask for more questions and you might hear yours answered on an upcoming episode! In the meantime, check out the podcast here.

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