Love. Nothing in the history of humanity has ever brought more joy and more sorrow, inspired more stories, songs and poems, been more agonized and scrutinized, yet love is still enigmatic to so many of us — myself included.

The quest for love sometimes weighs heavily on my heart. It was at an early age that I recognized the romantic inside me. As a child I somehow adopted the idea that love, being part of a team, having the perfect best friend, was the ultimate goal. However, how to eventually obtain it was puzzling to this young tyke. Perhaps it was too many hours watching Scooby-Doo, but “love” was a mystery and I couldn’t wait to solve it.

Traveling through the years, learning and experimenting with my malleable ideas of love, has only intensified my fascination with it — the human condition, and a complete understanding of myself. Behind my fascination there always has been a pang, a desire that slowly burns, rearing its head every time a pretty girl crosses my path. Would this be someone important in my life — a close friend, a muse, or that one who grabs me in every possible way and refuses to ever let go. That one that I never analyze, never question.

One of the ideas that began to solidify at an early age was knowing one’s self, so your livelong partner is a complement to your life and never a necessity for it — my comfortable hermit theory. I was mistaken. You see, we need these relationships just as much as we need to be our own person. Humans are social creatures, interaction was and is essential to our evolution. A hermit is not complete. They are missing a part of what it is to be human. Whether it through happenstance or just my bullheadedness, my heart has lived the life of a hermit. He is strong on his own, yet waits for the day he doesn’t have to be.

In all my years, until recently, I had never truly spilled out my thoughts on love into anything tangible. So I have grabbed my heart and mind, locked them in a padded room, and forced them to discuss this most complex and elusive topic — this romantic love, come what may.

Heart: I love rationally. I love irrationally. Love is awesome.

Mind: That makes no sense.

Heart: Feelings aren’t a choice, they are an emotion. All I know is that I love.

Mind: You’re insane. Let me take a stab at this first.


Dean’s Mind on Love

With every new person I meet or date, I find factors I would like to have, love to have, need to have or simply can’t have in a life-long partner. The equation is different for everyone and discovering our personal equation for some people is a quick process, for others it takes a lot of self-discovery, practice loving people, and growth. I’ve discovered an equation that begins to categorize these factors of love.


Sexual Attraction + Fondness + Trust + Emotional Attachment = Magnitude of Love
If Magnitude of Love ≥ Personal Idea of Ideal Love then Successful Relationship


Sexual attraction is the raw power of desire. Through societal norms and media bombardment we all have a unique perspective when searching for someone to become intimate with. This is usually the first factor involved in considering a new interest. This is also directly related to fondness, as sometimes growing overly fond of someone gives birth to a sexual attraction not before seen.

Fondness, at its core, is affection. It’s how well you get along, your similar interests, and compatibility. Shared experiences over time enhance the coefficient of this variable. Fondness could also be considered a weakness by letting strong affections overshadow any potential faults.

Trust is a confidence in expectation and a reliance on someone’s character. It can be difficult to acquire; it takes time and shared experiences to grow.

Emotional attachment is the holy grail, the quintessential key to the heart. It’s elusive and illogical. But once you drink from its cup, once you turn that key, your life is forever changed. The happiness and despair of that other person becomes essentially your own. You would gladly make sacrifices for them. Choosing to be hurt yourself instead of hurting them because now their happiness supersedes your own. To gain traction in becoming emotionally attached, it usually takes high coefficients in the preceding three variables. That said, one of the tragedies of love is you can not make this happen, you can not wish this into being. We are slaves to our heart.

This equation can never deliver a concrete answer because it is always in flux, the variables and coefficients change every second and with every new partner. And the partners are limited to the imperceptibly small percentage of the world’s population that I will meet! The odds are against me, it’s a foregone conclusion that there is someone out there that I’ll never meet who would be a better match. It’s here I have to quench my anxiety, my fear that I could never read all the endings to my own personal Choose Your Own Adventure life story.

There are a million little strings attached to every choice we make. Choices, chaos, and randomness spit me out right here, right now, writing this, just as it has you, reading this. Everything is determined by the results of previous events and actions. I am defined by my opportunities, even the ones I have missed. The only choice I have is to live in the now, learning from my actions, and making the best of the results in my daily life.

Heart: Yay! Emotional attachment rocks! Let’s do more of that. BTW, you’re totally my bitch.

Mind: *sigh* Just go.


Dean’s Heart on Love

There is no tipping your toe in the pool of love, there is only slipping, cracking your head on the side and sinking directly to the bottom. The glorious fall of love! Gasping in water, hoping as the seconds tick by that you’ll learn this different way to breathe. Before you take that dive you must be a strong enough person that you can get through anything, you must commit to never coming back, laying it all out on the line. For anything less and you’ll drown.

Love is a drug like any other, taunting us, trapping us with a torrent of bliss with the intensity of an exploding star. It’s only when your stash is gone, left in the darkest night, fiending for your fix, does your world collapse into an endless black hole. For we are small, insignificant creatures, alone in so many ways throughout our lives. Miraculously, love creates a shelter, a perfect haven where we are “admired when we are not admirable and praised when we are not praiseworthy.” We need and we seek a redeemer, a muse, a champion. This unconditional love, this connectedness you shall receive is the greatest gift any person can ever give. And they deserve the best, most wonderful person in existence, and that is ourselves. With our weird and unique style, we are their complement; we take greedily, but we give our everything.

Chaos, the randomness of the universe, brings us together in a particular moment. Through our brief snapshot of life it has already shaped both of us in to two amazingly attractive, adventurous souls with intersecting interests. It is then our job to begin building a living, growing, and breathing ship to sail through this sea of future chaos, for this vessel of love is never static. The odyssey ahead is challenging and frightening, fortunes will be discovered and ships will perish, but for every storm braved, your ship grows and evolves as does your love. A life without love, without sharing yourself, is dark. You’re landlocked, rotting on the beach along side the driftwood, just living to die.

Mind: You really like metaphors.

Heart: Love is friendship set to music.

Mind: Right. Well, to sum up my point, in a relationship I just want to revel in the beauty of dissection and analyze what’s working and what is not. So I can more easily build up the good or more quickly discover the infection. The more I know, the less issues will arise that I can’t handle.

Heart: I don’t want think about the relationship, just enjoy the time we have together and dance to our song on the bow of our ship. For tomorrow is inconsequential. We have today and that is all we need.


We all have very unique ideas this very moment of what love means to us. And tomorrow they will change. I occasionally laugh and wonder how I ever saw myself with a certain person, then other times I smile nostalgically and cherish the memories that flood my mind, some not that long ago, yet all still a lifetime away. My heart aches with the lost futures of past relationships, but my mind reminds me that these relationships ended for a reason. I’ve had to make impossible decisions, rarely completely confident I was making the correct choice. Love is never black and white. It has variables and coefficients sitting in the back seat with emotions and the occasional metaphor. These, my passengers, my cohorts helping me decipher all the clues so I can eventually make the best decision. The greatest decision. One that will fundamentally shape my life forever.

Who will I love?


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