Real Love

Real Love

I’m  59, and as those who know me are abundantly aware, much of my life has been a search for “real” love. I’ve never found it, or perhaps I have but have been so distracted that I didn’t recognize that real love was right in front of my nose and I just didn’t see that. Along the road I’ve learned some lessons and these lessons are coming back to both reward and in some ways haunt me.

In my thoughts today, I’m referring to the real love of a mate, a partner and a lover because in terms of friends and family, I’ve been blessed with abundance of real love, that’s how I know it exists. But never in that partner. This story isn’t uniquely mine, in fact, it seems to be remarkably common. So today I’m reflecting and departing from the irresistible exercise of commenting on the dreary state of political campaigns and getting personal.

My search for real love has led me down some familiar and some odd paths.  I’ve done online dating, met many interesting women and through all the paths followed, have managed to remain single. I could blame this on my blindness, but I really don’t think that’s the reason. Many women are completely willing to overlook that problem, not most, but many. It could just be fortuitous and to a large degree I imagine it is. My firm commitment at this point is back to the basics; relationship 101. It seemed to work for my parents.

There is a huge difference between attraction and relationship. There can be stunning attraction based on nothing that truly relates two people. The “electricity” that’s sometimes noted on a first encounter can make us go to extremes to follow a scent of bonding, but it’s not bonding, it’s attraction. Lesson One: Real love whispers and you have to be attentive or you’ll miss it.

Attraction can disguise character, cause us to see what we want to see and ignore or dismiss what’s negative.   We can throw and sacrifice our hearts, minds, souls and bodies in pursuit of an illusion. In turn we often try to create an illusion that we are other than we are, somehow believing that our imagination and image weaving is superior to the person who stands behind the mask. Lesson Two: Real Love presents and accepts “as is” as the best we can offer and expect.

We move far too quickly. Set up house, invade each other’s bodies, homes, bank accounts and personal stories long before trust is established. I’ve seen it and I’ve done it. Trust is assumed and there’s nothing wrong with that, but trust is a quality that develops, deepens and becomes meaningful over time. You can’t rush the process any more than you can make a flower grow more quickly simply because you want it to. In our haste, we make “Poof Trust” and then get deflated when it’s violated. But nothing was actually violated because it never existed in the first place. Trust is first assumed and bonded when earned. Lesson Three: Be patient. Give trust the time it needs to blossom

Building anything takes effort and care, destruction is fast, easy and powerful. It can take years to grow a tree and minutes to cut it down. Construct the house of your dreams and blow it up in seconds. The same seems to be true for real love. Trust can be sabotaged by an act of deceit. Bonds shattered by selfishness. There are Ten Commandments and notably they’re not called the “Ten Suggestions.” There is no fine print or further explanations. We really don’t need to be specifically told what’s the right thing and the wrong thing to do: we know but sometimes if we’re not violating a written code we dismiss garden variety sensibility. Do the right thing, we know what that is. Lesson Four: Play by the rules.

Real love doesn’t turn when times become difficult. Real love listens, deeply listens. Real love does more than tolerate, it celebrates even in the darkest of moments. Real love isn’t the stuff of fairy tales, it’s the gritty stories of survival, sacrifice, passion, appreciation, laughter, acceptance and courage. This doesn’t sound all that glamorous: exactly my point.

This was partly inspired by a friend’s daily posting of Life Lessons: a line or two of daily inspiration. This blog was written on a Toshiba Notebook computer that’s just begging to be recycled.

What’s your opinion? Any thoughts to add to “real love?” You can leave a reply or write to me at and let me know what you think. Thanks, Prof. Dave


8 thoughts on “Real Love

  1. Hi Uncle Dave,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. Real love is beyond the hardest thing to find, well next to what South Park says is :) . I say all the time about meeting Robbie I had given up on finding true, real, unconditional love, and when I met Robbie all we had in common was the gender of our children. Something amazing happened in that first meeting we let walls down to see that we had both been wounded by past lovers, we saw what we wanted and it just happened to be sitting next to us as each other. Since July 1, 2010 I’ve grown and changed my practices in how I act in a relationship. I love deeper, and truer, and without any limits. I guess that’s why I’m now a Red Sox fan you must be able to love deep to love a team that constantly suck. All my love, Rachel

    • You were very much in my thoughts when I wrote this. I’ll keep it between us and not tell the other readers that you’re my beloved niece who jsut happens to be getting married this Saturday. (love) Prof. Dave

  2. That was beautiful, Uncle Dave! Very inspirational and something I needed to read today. Thank you for your beautiful writing (that is more than a little responsible for inspiring me to start my recent writing project :) )

  3. Well Uncle Dave, My wedding went off without a hitch. I love deeply and am loved deeply, I tagged you in a note I wrote on Facebook the note I wrote today are the vows I spoke to Robbie yesturday. They spoke from my heart and my head. Real love is the hardest thing to attain but once one finds it as you put it, it is the easiest thing to mess up. I am lucky to have a man that reminds me of all the great Men I have in my life. He is Harold, and I am his Harriet, he is Richard and I am his Gertrude. He is Don and I am his Barbara, he is all of the things that made and make those relationships endless and flawed, perfect and simple. There isn’t an experation date on real love, it’s just hard to find the right store to get it at. I love you and next year while we won’t be in Jerusalem, we will be renewing our vows for everyone.

  4. I think you should run for president…you have my vote. Your blindness isn’t a handicap; you see,feel and express-beautifully!!! Hope you’re writing a book. I would be honored to make your acquaitance & buy the book/movie. Oh, the possibilities are endless- so mind blowing, earthshaking, anxious, incomprehensible, invigorating…this is where it all starts~the introduction. Are you ready???!!! Smiles…fun,hugs and laughter…enjoy the journey~!!!

    • Thank you. My Mom always told me to remain humble and always remember, a lot got accomplished before I was even born. Thanks for your nominaiton but I don’t wan the job. I have a firm belief that anyone who actually wants to be president, goes through eyars of back room meetings, campagn tours, fund raising, arm twisting and enters into filth slinging contests, all int he name of getting the job, is too much of an ego-mainaic and psycnologically imbalanced to actually do the job.

      It’s time for a wman as log as that woman isn’t Sarah Palin. Thahk you fo rthe digital hug too.

  5. That was lovely and right on. But then, I didn’t expect anything less. It’s just too bad that we have to kiss so many frogs before we find our “prince”. Maybe that’s why I have so many frogs in the garden and about the house. I don’t expect they will ever be replaced; my expectations are evidently too high, and it’s too late in the game anyway. I’m saving all my love for my my grandkids, but anyway You Rock!

    • Yes, we all kiss frogs hoping to see it transform into a Prince or Princess and never seem to ask, “Do I really want a Prince or Princess?” We get disenchanted (a perfect word for this metaphor) when the magic doesn’t work. It never works, and we know it. Somewhere in that wonderful, tormented parable is the belief that we establish our value by accomplishing a miraculous transition in another: caterpillar to butterfly, from frog to Prince, beast to Prince, death to life. I think that’s part of what I meant when I wrote that real love whispers. No less miraculous, but a gentle change within from loneliness to connection, from sacrificing to gain approval to sacrifice because it’s needed; from seeing ourselves transform, not from our froglike state to a model of beauty and achievement, but a transformation from seeing ourselves as having something to prove – a standard to exceed to accepting ourselves as is.

      It”s not too late Grandma – finding love won’t deprive your Grandkids of any of your love. One of my lessons is that in my past I behaved, and Believed that me “as is” wasn’t good enough. I complained that I couldn’t find love, when I was thinking like a man who was dying of starvation but would only eat lima beans.

      We can live, and live happily without this connection in our lives. It’s not a sin and I believe days shouldn’t be thrown away because “he or she” isn’t in the photo. But no, it’s not too late.