Should you use the 'L' word?

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Who believes in the L’ word? No, I don’t mean Litigation or Libel or Lust or Lasciviousness or Lechery or Lingerie. I mean LOVE, obviously. I love you. How many times do we use that word, that clichéd phrase, during the course of our lives? Parent to child, child to parent, partner to partner, spouse to spouse, human to the Blind Watchmaker … But what does it really mean? Has it been so done to death over the centuries that it’s lost its definition of being an intense emotion or affection, warmth, fondness, and regard towards a person or thing?

 

In the case of Errant Hubby, he was more of a thing. Sorry to bring the philosopher-star of the show back into the limelight, but – Well. There you are. But. As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, I tried to turn the handle but – And left it there. As so many things in life are left. With a big, gaping gap.

 

That’s what happens when the ‘L’ word or phrase loses its meaning. There’s no conclusion, no completed phrase, no fulfilled vows, no till death us do part. There should also be a but there. Everything is preceded and followed by an inconclusive but when you overhear the kind of conversation that I heard, before the proverbial beginning of the end. Oh – sorry, didn’t I tell you about that? Please bear with me.

 

How does one carry on as though today were no different from any other day, before one overheard a certain life-changing phone call? A phone call that a certain blue-eyed, white-haired, scary philosopher made to a certain mate of his, intent on showing off his male prowess, his conquest, wanting to bring a certain other woman along for a clandestine weekend … and all the time believing that poor unsuspecting wifey couldn’t hear a thing?

 

Okay, so let’s do away with the stuffy ‘one’ pronoun, shall we? Let’s be honest, and switch over to ‘me’. The brave blogger. Or the idiot blogger, depending on your viewpoint. So away we go! No cutting politics or wise intercourse on climate change here, I’m afraid. Just the ‘L’ word. Apologies in advance.

 

The trouble with my philosopher-husband is that he’s slightly deaf in one ear, having recently joined membership of the Retirement Club, not that the Villainess appears to have a problem with that. And, alas, his muddled philosophical genes didn’t possess the common sense to work out that making a phone call to his mate while wifey was snuggled up on the living room sofa next door, innocuously making notes on her latest novel and having no clue about the meteor that was about to hit her world, was a pretty bloody stupid thing to do. Regardless of said door being closed.

 

But oh, did she hear! And oh, did she see! (While he was in the loo, to be specific.) The text messages, the ‘L’ word done to death! The discovery of all those slushy, gushy outpourings that sounded like they’d been written by a hormonal high-schooler. And no, she can’t be blamed for snooping; after all, she had to make sure that what she’d heard wasn’t just male chauvinist banter, right? Because let’s face it, he did so cherish his  sexist jokes.

 

But the ‘L’ word …! He’d always so scorned the use of that word! I love you? What the fuck does that mean? he used to challenge her in their passionate beginnings. But – she attempted, only to fill in the gap with a withering laugh, and then cower away, until she dutifully stopped blaspheming. So the ‘L’ word was thereafter banned. But move forward 21 years, and hey bingo! – suddenly there’s a whole host of other, even gushier ‘L’ synonyms being cyber-wafted in the direction of the eager Villainess - sweetheart, my sweet, my love - all endearments that were a foreign language to him, once upon a time. In OUR time. And now…?

 

The horror! The horror!

 

But all is not lost. I still have faith. I can implore the Blind Watchmaker to keep me away from the heart of darkness. To fill in the terrifying gaps, the hiatus in love, conclude the threatening dash with a satisfying clause.

 

Except there’s a problem. The Blind Watchmaker isn’t only blind; he’s also deaf. And he isn’t even a watchmaker.

 

Perhaps my next blog should be about phenomenology and existentialism.

 

Or how I hired a hitman to dispose of -

 

 

Comments

John Minehan Added Dec 1, 2017 - 4:07pm
"Or how I hired a hitman to dispose of -"
 
But now that you have written this and published it to an audience . . . you can't really do that. 
 
On the other hand, if you have his current address, you could order pizza from several shops in his name everyday for a few weeks or sign him up for the kind of periodicals no one wants anyone to think they subscribe to.
Wendy Skorupski Added Dec 1, 2017 - 5:53pm
Hmm. Thanks for the tip! :)
Dino Manalis Added Dec 1, 2017 - 7:20pm
Love can be expressed in many different ways!
Ric Wells Added Dec 1, 2017 - 8:41pm
Seeing that love is essential, necessary and central to everything it should never lose its meaning or become cliche. Otherwise it is not love but something much less.
The Jomsviking Added Dec 1, 2017 - 9:19pm
Wendy - first of all, this is a beautifully written and poignant piece.
 
I say, yes you should use the L word!  Use it, and use it, and use it!  It's not lost it's meaning.  It is the expression between people of a special feeling, an intimacy and appreciation and regard and affection, that is higher and deeper than what we might feel for others in our life.  So when I tell my child, Have a nice day, I love you!  I'm telling her, you are special and dear to me and I want the last thing you hear me say to be an affirmation of that.  When a friend really comes through for me and helps me when no one else would, and I say, Oh my gosh you are amazing!  I love you!  I'm telling them that to me, they've broken through the barrier of "acquaintance" and entered the inner circle of closeness we reserve for such a rare few.
 
My own ex-wife, my Errant Spouse, used the 'L' word for me right up until the day we sat in court and signed our divorce papers, the divorce for which she filed.  And like you, I read the texts between her and her lover(s), and was surprised to find her using the 'L' word with them, too.  When I confronted her about that, she used the amazing and highly unique argument that Yes, she loved me, but she was no longer in love with me.  So perhaps there are nuances to the 'L' word that sociopaths understand, but that we mere mortals can only guess at.
John Minehan Added Dec 1, 2017 - 10:06pm
Well, it seems we are really talking about two "L Words:" 1) "Love;" and 2) saying it "Legitimately."
John Minehan Added Dec 1, 2017 - 10:08pm
Still, my suggestion about the multiple pizzas in his name is probably my more valuable contribution to this conversation . . . .
Flying Junior Added Dec 2, 2017 - 2:40am
Who was it who admonished the little child who said that she loved strawberries?  The poet went on to tell the child that we can love our dogs and cats and our little friends and our mummies and daddies...
 
You posit an interesting question.  One of the great clich├ęs of our shared cultures is that if a man says the three words too early, he can kiss goodbye to any chance of getting sex.
 
Your husband's betrayal is devastating.  Yet surely lovers will ever profess their undying love early in courtship.  Many couples have a lifelong love affair.  Of course we will always tell our spouses that we are in love and that we love each other.
 
Love is the very foundation of art and music.  I have often wondered if there is any truth to the question, "Does art surpass life?"  If not, surely life itself surpasses the representation of romantic love that we find in the abstract throughout art and literature.
 
Art does epitomize love quite well.  But words and images lend themselves to excess.  They do not include the ups and downs of a human life.
 
What meaning or significance could life really have without it?  I'm not saying that love is the only path.  But absent that bond very little about the lives that we lead would make very much sense at all.
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:30am
Love love love - all we need is love.
But love is multifaceted. We should break it down like the Inuit do with snow.
Wendy Skorupski Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:57am
What a lovely surprise it was this morning waking up to all your comments - received while I was fast asleep due to the time zone differences between us. 
Jomsviking, thank you for sharing your own experience. It always helps to know that others have travelled similar paths and come through just fine, as you seem to have done. I'm pretty sure that in time Errant Hubby and I will still be friends, because there was too much good between us during all those years for it to come to nothing. But it's a little too early for friendship yet. We're only human, and hurt is one of the most devastating of all the emotions.
Love love love - yes, Opher, it certainly is what we need, and I look forward to smiling at the snow when it next falls!
And Flying Junior - you're so right about art and music. It's my piano-playing right now - my beloved Chopin, and also my writing - that fills in the gaps left by the absent Philosopher. As soon as I rest my fingers on the keys, I'm away into a parallel world that never has to compete with romantic love. The same applies to writing novels - creating worlds and characters borrowed from one's own, but freed to fly away into that realm that transcends all else. For now, I have had quite enough of romance! 
Thank you again, my friends.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Dec 2, 2017 - 4:02am
I love ....( let me put a pre nup in place first) ..you.  Dear, remember when you romanced me in the back of that GMC? Oh those were the days. (what is she saying, she is now a wife, I dont need to do that with her?)  5 Years later. Susan, I need to meet up with you. What is it Tom? your wife spends more time in church than at home (Black women)? She sleeps in pants and a petticoat?  OK! Jacks is out of town, drive that old GMC over.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 6:43am
Wendy - that is what I miss most about the sixties - an era of love, optimism and possibility. Anything seemed possible.
wsucram15 Added Dec 2, 2017 - 9:13am
Wow, great piece of work, very open. I personally really enjoyed how you wrote this article. 
This happened to me..I found a phone bill though and one of my friends literally forced me to track down the numbers (hotels) and the girl (who he later married and divorced).
 
Michael B. Added Dec 2, 2017 - 11:02am
It would have been very difficult for me to cheat on the old lady, who was my own personal Gestapo, and would routinely rifle through my car and anything else looking for evidence of extramarital nookie. Of course, if I did the same thing to her, watch out! Lol
Even A Broken Clock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 11:10am
Wendy, it is a joy to read such good writing. Glad you are participating in Writerbeat.
Wendy Skorupski Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:15pm
Thanks for the sharing and the encouragement, all of which help me keep going with a smile! :)
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 2:03pm
On the other thread, I impersonated "Dr. Neil" and prescribed more piano playing. I'm very glad, Wendy, that you have taken my advice. When one of your worlds fails you, look for solace in another.
mark henry smith Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:27pm
 
My ex only said she loved me twice in the thirty years we knew each other and I asked her which type of love it was, eros, philos, storge, or agape. I too am a philosopher and think our current definition of love that can be applied to inanimate objects and inanimate people is way too broad. It can even be applied to broads, it appears.
 
I was happy that she narrowed her definition for me and said she loved me as a partner, (philos) and after the second time she never wanted to bring it up again, because I kept tryiong to push her towards eros. An erosnious quest, I must say.
 
She was always a little frigid with me, but as they like to say in Canada when ice fishing. A cold fish is better than no fish. Oh, and I'm a writer too. Nice read. Haven't we all thought about hiring a hit man now and then? I'd love to see one with the great, white whale of a .... in his sight.
 
Just kidding. Love that guy.    
Wendy Skorupski Added Dec 3, 2017 - 8:43am
Well, Mr fellow philosopher, I suppose that twice is better than not at all. But was she tiddly when she said it? The only times Hubby ever broke his own rules was when under the influence of Baccus and his pards. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 3, 2017 - 11:36am
Love is just another word for reproduction....;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 3, 2017 - 11:40am
BTW: It took me quite a while to fully understand your nice article since I'm not anglophone. Very crafty, that one - a new style here !
Jeff Michka Added Dec 3, 2017 - 1:52pm
FJr: Of course we will always tell our spouses that we are in love and that we love each other.-It's a whole lot more powerful when you both mean it.  BOTH MY WIFE AND i say we love the other when even parting for awhile.  We both know how things can turn on a dime, so we never know if it will be "last opportunity."  Better to have ended our partnership with our lives having said that to the other.  Once again, I've been lucky in life...which probably doesn't make Wendy feel better.
mark henry smith Added Dec 4, 2017 - 3:21pm
Unfortunately, the ex was sober when she said it. When she got intoxicated she tended to tell the truth, so she rarely drank.
 
So the wife and I were out on the porch one night and I was imbibing on some fine red I'd be given by one of her rich relatives, or clients, I forget which (ha) and I say, "God I love you. I love you so much."
 
She turns to me and smiles. "Marko, do you really mean that?"
 
"Sorry honey, I was talking to the wine." 
Flying Junior Added Dec 6, 2017 - 2:55am
I can dig it Jeff.  I didn't mean it as a meaningless throwaway.  Just in response to Wendy's question.  I too have been lucky in love.  I didn't really know what faithful love was when I started on the journey.  But I do now.  It means the world.  I have my own superstition.  We always kiss goodbye.  That's my magic totem to protect me from harm and bring me safely home.
Steve Bergeron Added Dec 7, 2017 - 12:07pm
Most folks really don't know what real love is.  They wrongly equate it to some sort of sentimentality.  But, it's really not that complicated.  Real love is this:  Willing the good of the other, as other.  Period.  If we begin to place conditions on our "love," then it's really not love.  For example, if we say, "I love you if you love me."  Or, "I love you because you're beautiful."  Then, it's not really love, but a clever way of being self-interested.  In other words, it's self-love or egotism.
mark henry smith Added Dec 7, 2017 - 1:54pm
Right on, Steve.
 
If you're basing your love on the actions of others, that is not agape, but you show me any human love that I not based on conditions and I'll show you a unicorn.
 
But as in all areas of faith, it is a beautiful ideal to strive for. What I always said to the ex is that for relationships to work best, the relationship has to be an untaintable  ideal outside of the faults of the other person or people, that both people are willing to keep pure. If all of the focus is on getting some gratification met on a daily basis, as the abilities and interests of the other party change, satisfaction will become more and more difficult.
Steve Bergeron Added Dec 7, 2017 - 4:36pm
Mark Henry, it is, indeed, rare in our time, but it does exist, believe it or not.  That's why we all take special notice when we see it.  I've seen it, but not often.