the parallel of love and attention

Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention? 
 -line from “Ladybird”

I have been thinking a lot about the right way to love someone. How we love someone the way we know how, the way we’ve been loved. Sometimes, that’s not the way the other person needs. Sometimes the other person won’t feel loved that way, because it’s not the way they need to be loved.

I haven’t read the book, but in college, people would talk about the five love languages, which I believe are physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, and acts of service.  It got people talking, that book, about different ways to give love and to receive it. And I think there is something to that: to knowing how we want to be loved, knowing how we are conditioned to give it. Knowing how we can change and how we can’t.

If I ever have a long-term relationship again, the romantic kind, I will do a better job. I think after divorce we are slippery and cautious. We have seen that love can fail us; we have learned just how breakable it is. If I have a next time, I will communicate better, I will listen better. I will treat love like it’s fragile because it is and manhandling it will shatter it.

If I love someone, it will be presently. I will be there. Not somewhere else. I think we owe it to each other to be where we are wholeheartedly. I think we can extend each other that kindness, if we love each other. I think we can pay attention.

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