On Love. Because It's Valentines Day.

By Alison February 14, 2008 9 Comments 3 Min Read


"But this kind of love also knows it’s own rapacious madness. And so must live as fast and fully as it can. It must spend everything. Spare nothing. There can be no sense or reason to it. No time for reality or awkward truth; no space in which to consider. Pain and hurt gather like storms on its vortex. Yet still such lovers contrive to lead each other further and further away from the world, from the duties and considerations that come to compromise our lives, from the things we need for our fundamental sanity and survival. there is no road back and the bridges are forever burning. And when the end comes, it is terrible and absolute because there can be nothing left, no friendship, no future, nothing. Everything must be destroyed in order to outlive it. Otherwise it will reincarnate itself- more virulent, more demanding, more urgent."

Edward Doux, Obsessive Love, Vogue, March 2008.

Ah love. We don’t talk about it much. Not really. Not truthfully. We can’t. Mustn’t. Mostly because we cannot make sense of our own experience of it without dramatising it, draping it in Hollywood  pathos or perhaps worst of all, diminishing it’s importance in shaping our lives.

I was in love once. That terrible thing, in love. For four deranged months at the end of 2006. Go through the archives and you will mark us… In love, that heady, demented destructive kind of love that Edward Doux so eloquently  describes above. Just once in my thirty six years on this planet.

I don’t talk about it, because there isn’t any point: it doesn’t make any sense, you weren’t there. My best friend wasn’t there. My Mum wasn’t there.  And now I don’t even let myself think about it,  I try not to let it possess me in case yearning for it, for him, for us, brings me to my knees all over again.   Because how am I to compare fifteen years of caring for somebody, of committing my life to him- with four short months of terrible, soul destroying bliss with someone else to which nothing, no-one,  will ever compare? Should something enduring, pure and familiar be compared to something wasted, yet so fully lived? Enduring love brings responsibility, children, bricks and mortar. The other kind, merely heartbreaking destruction we will crave for the rest of our lives.  The kind of love that says come with me: move your world to be with me. We, this, is all that matters. And then implodes upon itself, leaving a stupid gap inside us forever after. Leaving us feeling a bit silly. Like we gave too much and can never have it back.

I’m not stupid. I understand that love, the enduring kind, is what makes the world go around. That  it is what Valentines  Day is all about: a hallmark celebration of I forget to tell you how much I love you and hey you know what I could love you forever and a day. And I also understand that the obsessive, crazy kinda love is temporary by necessity: that it exists to show us our best selves, to dazzle us for a while and leave us all the better for it. But that in its midst it is  blood and guts and you are the only person I’ve ever told, not hearts, flowers or even chocolate lollipops. No pink slush ever that raw.

Why am I telling you this? Perhaps because I can’t tell him. Because I read Edward Doux in this months Vogue this morning and remembered…

Because it’s Valentines Day and I know what it is to have been in love. And more than that I know what it is to have been part of the kind of love that builds walls and raises children. I know why it matters.


  1. Karla says:

    That kind of love really is so rare and special. I believe you’ll find it again – I really do.

  2. Jill says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!Love,
    Jill xo

  3. linda says:

    Um, wow. *Yes.* Everything you wrote here struck a chord. It reminded me of something I thought I’d forgotten.

  4. Thyra says:

    Nice one Alison, well said. 🙂

  5. gena says:

    Yes this post resonates with me too,beautifully written Alison.xxx

  6. Nonnie says:

    Alison this totally makes sense to me today. I’m busily trying to forget the intense ‘in love’ I had with George for the last 3 years, especially as I have just met a very very sweet, kind man who I think may be able to give me the wall building, children raising kind of love that George could never give me. Reading this today is very helpful. You too will find the right kind of love again because you so deserve it. x

  7. Polly says:

    I was “in” love with a married man once – UGH! I hate to admit that!! It took time (which is wretched anyways when you’re waiting) but I had to reach a place where I said, “Stop waiting for THE man (that perfect idea in my head). He’s not coming.” I had to admit it was time to be ok without a “completed” family. But I wasn’t ok and my heart hurt, not for missing the married man and the marriage we didn’t have, but for a lover/best friend rolled into one. If it exists for some, why can’t it exist for me?! But, still, it’s life and life goes on. So I went on… And when the lonely got so very alone, I prayed. I cried and prayed. I hated that I was so “needy”. I really wanted to be whole without a man. Weak and needy – that’s what I’ve become-sigh. And that was where God met me. Weak, needy , broken. -yikes, sorry for the book! Blessings..Polly

  8. Mandy Muse says:

    And I’m such a sinner, I’d rather have the burning violent love, and I’ll tear down the walls to get it. often trampling the wall-builder.

  9. Hattie says:

    “When love beckons to you follow him,Though his ways are hard and steep.
    And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
    And when he speaks to you believe in him,
    Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
    Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
    So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
    Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
    He threshes you to make you naked.
    He sifts you to free you from your husks.
    He grinds you to whiteness.
    He kneads you until you are pliant;
    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
    But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.” excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
    We love you Alison you have a beautiful heart.

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