Every day that I grow older, I become more certain that love looks like anything you want it to. Early in my adulthood I was sure it was much neater than it is, I had no idea the beautiful mess it creates. I thought it was packaged and defined, in order, like 1,2,3. Turns out it’s none of those things if you don’t want it to be and yet it remains just as fiercely whole as when it does show up in order.
The thing I love the most about love, the two people within it get to decide for themselves and themselves only what it looks like.
I’ve found 21 ways I’m sure it looks and I found some other folks with some opinions as well:
Love is real, real is love. John Lennon
Love is a friendship set to music. Joseph Campbell
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. Thich Nhat Hanh
Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. James Baldwin
Love is now, is always. All that is missing is the coup de grâce — which is called passion. Clarice Lispector
when you love someone / you are scared of getting hurt / and you will get hurt Brandon Scott Gorrell
And now we’re apart and you’re just some stranger who knows all my secrets and all my family members and all my quirks and flaws and it doesn’t make sense. Gaby Dunn
He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. Pablo Neruda
What most people call loving consists of picking out a woman and marrying her. They pick her out, I swear, I’ve seen them. As if you could pick in love, as if it were not a lightning bolt that splits your bones and leaves you staked out in the middle of the courtyard. They probably say that they pick her out because-they-love-her, I think it’s just the siteoppo. Beatrice wasn’t picked out, Juliet wasn’t picked out. You don’t pick out the rain that soaks you to a skin when you come out of a concert.
It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone. Marilyn Monroe
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. Rainer Maria Rilke
We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should learn to love each other so much to live outside of time… detached. Federico Fellini
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. Anaïs Nin
I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved. George Eliot
Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star… E.E. Cummings
as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. James Joyce
The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love. Henry Miller
I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything. F. Scott Fitzgerald
You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. Dr. Seuss
i am afraid / that i am not learning fast enough; i can feel the universe expanding / and it feels like no one has ever tried hard enough; when i cried in your room /
it was the effect of an extremely distinct sensation that ‘i am the only person / alive,’ ‘i have not learned enough,’ and ‘i can feel the universe expanding / and making things be further apart / and it feels like a declarative sentence / whose message is that we must try harder Tao Lin
We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. Orson Welles
Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really. Harvey Milk
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-13