Is Love a Choice?


Somewhat. You need to choose to love a thing in order to love it, right? Addicted folks will groan and say, “I would never choose this.” Isn’t it the effect they wouldn’t choose? I love Hendricks Gin. I love the taste and how it makes me feel, to an extent. If I love it too much, I certainly do not love the morning after.

What about people? Must we choose to love people in order to truly love them? Yep. If you love someone you don’t want to love, you’ve made the choice to love them regardless of your desire. You don’t have to love your parents or siblings. You choose to. Sure, there’s religious guidance around this, but following that is another choice. Must you love your offspring? Guess you should, in order to enjoy raising them and to give them the best shot at happiness. But, you still don’t have to. You’ll be instinctually nudged that way, but you’ll need to act the part.

Romantic love is abso-fucking-lutely a choice. I’m telling you right now, if you are in love with someone you know you should not love, then you’re making a poor relationship choice, and you should choose to get some counseling.

Don’t confuse love and desire. If you have a strong longing to be with someone, and you get that euphoric head rush when you’re with him, and a painful depression when he’s gone, you’re addicted, and that’s a desire. Desire is like salt to love. Desire enhances love when not overdone.

If I tell you I love Chelsea Handler, that’s not entirely correct. I’m using a figure of speech. I’ve only met her once, for about five seconds, at a book signing. She’s smart, funny, and fucking gorgeous. She also has a much wider selection of fine mating specimens to choose from—a man list where I would reside not far from the bottom. So, it would be impractical and downright frustrating for me to be romantically in love with Chelsea.

Ah, but, given the opportunity, hell, yes, I could love her!

Yet, I choose to love a woman who lives thousands of miles from me. That’s fucked up, right? (How most men would respond.) Or, is it romantic? (How most women would respond.) Why would I choose to do such a thing? Um, because it suits me right now. She’s there. We chat occasionally. I hint at my intentions. She blushes and downplays my love due to its impracticality. Plus, she hasn’t chosen to love me back—a minor inconvenience, which I will eventually overcome because one am one persistent motherfucker.

Sorry. Language. I know.

Choosing to love someone who doesn’t love me back isn’t that odd. I love baseball. Baseball certainly doesn’t love me, as I watch strike three go by. I love habanero sauce (aka Gastric Drano), and sauce has no feelings. My point is, I can love something because it brings me joy, whether it’s exclusively mine, occasionally mine, or has never been mine. That’s the other love—desire. That type of love drives me. It creates goals I long to reach. Once I’m there, it’s a choice whether to convert that desire to love or to platonically enjoy the thing while it lasts.

Will she ever love me back? That’s her choice, now.

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.