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A certain character on a certain rerun of a certain TV show asked a puzzling question: “When you love someone, and you break up, where does the love go?” Thank you Carrie Bradshaw for the inspiration for this week’s post.
At first, this question is a little absurd. Love can’t go anywhere, Carrie. It’s a feeling. Feelings don’t have feet. But think about a relationship you’ve been in. You invested in it: time, emotion, energy. You developed a set of feelings for a new person that you never had before. And those are unique feelings, just for them. Now think about when the relationship ended (happy Monday morning, everybody). That unique set of feelings created for just that one person don’t disappear suddenly. They are left over with no place to direct themselves, nowhere to go. Love is left in an awkward position. Hovering around the person after the break-up, wanting to be used but having no one to use them on.
Thought of in that way, love’s ability to go or not go places makes perfect sense. And the direct answer to Miss Bradshaw’s question is that love doesn’t actually go anywhere at all. Instead, it sticks around and waits for us to do something with it. The question then is “What do I do with it?”
Many options here. It’s difficult to have a unique set of feelings being unused, so maybe you decide to use them on someone else that isn’t quite deserving but is convenient in proximity. Or you may channel the hovering love feelings into something else like obsessing over work, or traveling as much as possible–things that make you think you’re using the love that once was but when you’re lying in bed at night, you see it still faintly hovering.
So where’s the best place to leave love or take love when you can no longer send it to a significant other? Keeping it close and acknowledging its presence can be burdensome. But ignoring it only lasts until the pain comes back again later.
My best answer is that you let it stick around until it becomes just plain love again. Not love for that one person that’s no longer around. But its original form: the love humans are made of and live for. Easier said than done.
I believe in questions. I say this a lot; I’ll say it again…21 February 2011