Falling in love is such a painful and violent process. It took me a long time to figure that out because after an entire lifetime of rom coms and mood lighting, I thought that it was something that happened magically and all at once. I thought falling in love was about fate and a sense of destiny and about belonging together. But it’s not.
Falling in love is a human phenomenon that has managed to survive even when it has been at odds with the formulation of a capitalist society that in many ways tries to supplant “falling in love” with the grand emotions of “buying things” and “using your job as a measure of self worth.” Falling in love is a generally very inconvenient thing in a place like this. We are told that we need to organize our lives in a way that leads to success, and in order to be successful we have to work hard, and in order to work hard we need to put down the distractions and focus on what matters. Falling in love is a distraction.
Capitalism has managed to vilify falling in love by subjecting it to the power dynamics of our society’s gender structure. We have managed to manipulate “falling in love” as a byproduct of surviving – for the right amount of money, you, too, can fall in love! We trade financial favors across the gender spectrum of our relationships and let that make or break our falling in love. Little do we know that money has no impact on falling in love – which is probably why we try to stuff it into boxes and not let it breath, because the ugly truth of falling in love is that capitalism has no sway and no control on the matter.
Monogamy, too, is at odds with falling in love. We prescribe falling in love like a perfunctory act of being alive – you should do it between the ages of 18 – 32, after which you will marry that person and that will be good enough for you for the rest of your life. But falling in love is chaos, and it can happen anywhere, any time. Falling in love doesn’t abide by the rules that we have given to it. Falling in love is messy.
Falling in love is hard work, too. Falling in love is by its very nature an unfair and unjust process – it subjects random people to its whims whenever it chooses. The potential for pain is just as limitless as the potential for pleasure. There is no guarantee that it will ever work, no matter how ready or open or willing or wanting you are.
Falling in love is sold to us like a magic cure all, but really it’s just a sparkly way of making the chaos of human existence seem appealing. It feels cruel to know this. But not nearly as cruel as a broken heart.
How much of the world around us is about curing the urge to fall in love? How much of this was built to ensure that we could all fall in love at the same time, all together? Why does it still define our existence when, after all this time, it offers no security, no promises, no guarantee of long term happiness? Why are we like this, and why do we love it even when it gets us down.