October 1st, 2016

I never really loved you

This quote from Nicole Kidman about her marriage to Tom Cruise caught my eye at Yahoo: Nicole Kidman on Marrying Tom Cruise at Age 23: ‘I Look Back Now and I’m Like, “What?”’

I thought the article was going to be one of those things where someone reflects on an earlier relationship and says “I never really loved him/her.” But it’s not, as it turns out. Kidman is actually talking about the fact that she got married at all at the ripe young age of 23; she’s not dissing Cruise himself or their relationsip.

But it reminded me of a huge pet peeve of mine, which is the “I never really loved you” crowd.

First, a caveat. Fortunately, I’ve never heard those words addressed to me, so it’s not personal. Nor have I ever said them. My point of view is that, absent a marriage or relationship that takes place under some sort of coercion or major deception, the words almost always represent an attempt to revise history in order to make the speaker feel good at the expense of the listener.

The first time I ever heard anything resembling the phrase was in the book Gone With the Wind, which I read at the age of eleven. The exchange occurs at the end of the book, shortly before Rhett utters his famous parting shot at Scarlett. The first speaker here is Rhett, and he’s saying that even though he had originally loved Scarlett very much, his love for her is gone; it has worn out. The second speaker is Scarlett:

Mine wore out.”

“But love can’t wear out!”

“Yours for Ashley did.”

“But I never really loved Ashley!”

“Then, you certainly gave a good imitation of it — up till tonight.”

That always seemed to me to be the finest response: “well, you certainly gave a good imitation of it.” But Rhett can afford to be cavalier. Not only is he Rhett Butler (and you’re not), but in this scene, he’s the one doing the leaving and she’s the one begging that he reconsider, and she’s saying she never really loved someone else.

In contrast, when most people hear the words they aren’t about someone else; they’re about themselves: “I never really loved you.” And usually that’s said in the context of a devastating breakup, in which the leaver is saying it to the person being left. The classic case of adding insult to injury.

Why would a person do this? My theory is that it makes the leaver feel less guilty. It makes the leaver feel justified in leaving—after all, the whole thing was a grievous error, a mistake, and aren’t we supposed to right our mistakes? Otherwise, the leaver would have to face the fact that his or her love wore out, which is after all a possibility and part of being human, but it doesn’t make a person feel better about what he/she is about to do.

Also, that person is often in the first flush of a new love. That new love might really be stronger than the old. Or it might just be newer and seem stronger (people make mistakes, right?). At any rate, the leaver is trying to tell the one being left that the old love pales next to the new, and that’s why he/she must leave. That seems pretty cruel, too, even if (or perhaps especially if) true.

Especially amazing and pernicious to me are those people who say some version of, “If you really loved me, you’d be happy for me,” thus slyly transferring the guilt and badness to the person being left for not being appropriately saintly and loving. Poppycock. Romantic love is not the all-encompassing selfless self-sacrificing love of that sort, although I suppose sometimes we humans can get there. The passage of time (and new relationships for the one being left) can sometimes help. But placing that kind of burden of utterly selfless love on the person in the throes of the grief of being left for another man or woman is a case of cruelty piled on cruelty, to my way of thinking.

Of course, my way of thinking may not be your way of thinking. If so, then I never really loved you.

50 Responses to “I never really loved you”

  1. T Says:

    “My theory is that it makes the leaver feel less guilty. It makes the leaver feel justified . . . .” [Neo]

    It’s like an apology. The words “I’m sorry” make the speaker feel relieved, but do nothing to solve the issue/problem/hurt that the speaker is apologizing for.

    Words. Just words.

  2. AesopFan Says:

    And, of course, the heartless wretch could even be telling the truth.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    T:

    I see it at much worse than an apology. Much. An apology doesn’t solve everything, but it certainly helps. It’s an admission of wrongdoing and an attempt to make it right. It’s “mere words,” but the words are in the right direction: “I’m guilty and you’re innocent and I’m sorry I hurt you.”

    “I never really loved you” is the opposite. It’s the un-apology. It’s “I can’t be blamed because after all I never really loved you, so of course I have to leave you.”

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I hold essentially the same POV as neo. I started to add a tangential tidbit or two but fortunately remembered that it had all been perfectly encapsulated before;

    “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

    Right there is the reason why Shakespeare sets the gold standard against which all else is measured. Brevity is indeed the soul of whit and wisdom, it’s crown.

  5. Vanderleun Says:

    Well, I am sure I speak for all the commenters here when I write,

    “We never really loved you. We’re just here for the trolls.”

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    My point of view is that, absent a marriage or relationship that takes place under some sort of coercion or major deception, the words almost always represent an attempt to revise history in order to make the speaker feel good at the expense of the listener.
    It’s basically the same as what is said of Trum, that he is an underachiever and never puts 100% of his effort into something. That way, if he fails, he never sinks as low. Of course if he succeeds, it’s never solely due to his own powers either.

    That’s the price of not putting all your effort into something. You hedge your bets, but your payout isn’t as high.

    People can and will do that with their emotional reserves as well, including what Neo mentioned, which is a revision of history. Meaning, they revise just how much emotional effort they thought they put in.

    People can self deceive themselves, that because now they are angry or want to part with someone, that they had never invested feelings of pure innocence or honesty before, so thus they don’t have to justify themselves on this matter or protect themselves.

    A story I had heard recently concerned a church in the Netherlands and another church, under the same hierarchy, in East Germany. The East Germans, after WWII, were starving and had all kinds of other problems, due to Soviets. The Netherlands, were left with a shattered society, as people were left hunting for collaborators, not trusting each other, feeling bitter or anger or loss over the war, WW2, which had just ended.

    So the Netherlands church decided to get their members to grow some potatoes, just because it would be better than doing nothing. That improved the spiritual life of the families, as a sort of monastic spiritual development.

    Meanwhile, in East Germany, the members of their church were being given 2 parts of bread per day. They would take the crumbs and hold it in their mouth until their mouths hurt, because that was one way to stave off hunger.

    The leaders of each church met in a meeting one time and as they were talking about their problems, this issue came up, and the leader of the church in the Netherlands said “we can send you the potatoes we grew”. When the Netherlands leadership went back to their church and asked their members to send their entire potato harvest over to East Germany, there were some people, perhaps many, who saw the Germans as still an enemy. It didn’t matter if they were part of the same church or a different one, if they knew them or not, the idea of growing potatoes just to send to the enemy that had caused them such grief, was something beyond the tolerance of many human hearts, even the ones who followed Christ in that era.

    Long story made short, they were able to get the cooperation of the Netherlands and border government passes, to get about 100 pounds of potatos into the hands of every family in the E German church, to make it over the winter. When the winter was over, part of the potatoes were used to grow more, to become self sustainable, since obviously the Soviet/Stasi government wasn’t going to do much to feed anyone. Courtesy of whatever deal FDR made, mind you.

    This highlights the critical difference between “love” and “forgiveness” as a concept or theological point of debate, vs reforming the human expression via the action and behavior of virtue. Or in other words, it’s easy to talk the talk, but not so to replicate walking in Jesus Christ’s shoes.

    Of course these days, many people may be sympathetic to the German people involved in WW2, especially the Christians who were just pulled along as the State became more and more powerful. People in our time may be sympathetic because they don’t see Germans as their personal enemies or family feuds. Or perhaps they see Germany as the engineering marvel Wunderkid of the 21st century and not the mass killer of the 20th. Or perhaps their own country is going the way of the Third Reich so they don’t feel safe casting stones at the Germans any more.

    For the American people, an example closer to their heart would be the Japanese or Sherman. People continue to bring those topics up, mostly because of stories they learned from their ancestors.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    Brevity is indeed the soul of whit and wisdom, it’s crown.

    The counter I crafted to those instances where people would use somebody else’s words to account a virtue for themselves was:

    brevity is the soul of apathy.

  8. AMartel Says:

    On the plus side, it’s a sign to the leavee that the leaver is a shallow emotional blackmailer that s/he is better off without.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    AMartel:

    I can see that you’re a real glass-full kind of person 🙂 .

  10. sdferr Says:

    Oddly put in mind of:

    HAMLET

    Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
    transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
    force of honesty can translate beauty into his
    likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
    time gives it proof. I did love you once.

    OPHELIA

    Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

    HAMLET

    You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot
    so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of
    it: I loved you not.

    OPHELIA

    I was the more deceived.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    sdferr:

    It’s the oldest line in the book, I guess.

  12. AMartel Says:

    My cup runneth over.

  13. AMartel Says:

    😊

  14. sdferr Says:

    A.E. Houseman, lyric; R. Vaughn Willams’ song cycle, “On Wenlock Edge”, no. 4: Oh, When I Was in Love with You

  15. Milwaukee Says:

    There are, I have read, four reasons for writing poetry. Reason number 4 is “It is cold and lonely here: a) without you or b) with you.”

    I would suspect my ex-wife never really loved me, but she would vehemently deny that, as acknowledging her behavior would make her culpable and deprive her of victimhood.

    There are two ways to steal from another: by force or by delusion. Confidence men, usually called con men, gain the trust of their victims. Those who falsely present love are in this category. It could be their hearts have room for just themselves.

  16. The Other Chuck Says:

    This is a strange, out of the blue post, Neo. Is it perhaps a metaphor?

  17. Chris Says:

    Once many years ago, a woman I was engaged to upon leaving me for someone else explained,

    “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.”

    Didn’t make me feel any better. But my thought at the time was very similar to “then you certainly gave a very good imitation of it, up until tonight.”

  18. AesopFan Says:

    Ymarsakar Says:
    October 1st, 2016 at 3:43 pm
    …When the Netherlands leadership went back to their church and asked their members to send their entire potato harvest over to East Germany, there were some people, perhaps many, who saw the Germans as still an enemy. It didn’t matter if they were part of the same church or a different one, if they knew them or not, the idea of growing potatoes just to send to the enemy that had caused them such grief, was something beyond the tolerance of many human hearts, even the ones who followed Christ in that era.

    Long story made short, they were able to get the cooperation of the Netherlands and border government passes, to get about 100 pounds of potatos into the hands of every family in the E German church, to make it over the winter. When the winter was over, part of the potatoes were used to grow more, to become self sustainable, since obviously the Soviet/Stasi government wasn’t going to do much to feed anyone. Courtesy of whatever deal FDR made, mind you.

    This highlights the critical difference between “love” and “forgiveness” as a concept or theological point of debate, vs reforming the human expression via the action and behavior of virtue. Or in other words, it’s easy to talk the talk, but not so to replicate walking in Jesus Christ’s shoes.

    ****
    A very cogent comment on how one can show one’s faith by action.

    The story of the potatoes is well known among the Mormons, because it was LDS members in both the Netherlands and Germany who lived it.

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/10/prepare-for-the-days-of-tribulation?lang=eng
    “I cannot forget the French Saints who, unable to obtain bread, used potato peelings for the emblems of the sacrament. Nor will I ever forget the faith of the Dutch Saints who accepted our suggestion to grow potatoes to alleviate their own starving conditions, and then sent a portion of their first harvest to the German people who had been their bitter enemies. The following year they sent them the entire harvest. The annals of Church history have seldom recorded a more Christlike act of love and compassion.”

    Coincidentally, the same story was featured today in our General Conference talks; I will try to remember to post the video or text when it is available. The story is very moving when told in detail.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    I like to mix it up with my posts. I especially like to get away from politics, particularly on the weekends.

    This post was sparked 100% by seeing the headline about Kidman and Cruise. The rest was just a riff on that. But whenever a friend has told me a sad story of breakup that features a person saying to her “I never really loved you,” I’ve always felt extremely annoyed with the person who said it, even if I’ve never met that person in my life.

    A quirk, a pet peeve of mine I guess.

  20. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    Quirks, riffs, whatever. Neo, I will always love you.

  21. Deserttrek Says:

    was told ” I love you but I am not in love with you” by a former female flame. That was when we broke up.

    On another point, please do not use the term “dissing” that is ghetto speak and like calling blacks a-a’s only furthers the destruction of the language.

    Thank you

  22. Robert Crawford Says:

    Once many years ago, a woman I was engaged to upon leaving me for someone else explained,

    “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.”

    My favorites, only one of which I was the target of:

    “I never said how long forever would be”

    and

    “I hope I didn’t ruin your weekend”

    Both were cases involving broken engagements, both from women to men.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Ralph Kinney Bennett:

    That’s what they always say. 🙂

  24. Jimmy Says:

    In addition to the reasons in the blog post, I think it’s because the person who says those words has been experiencing dissatisfaction with the relationship for some time, which means that they’ve been suffering emotionally in some way (anger, depression, resentment, boredom, etc.).

    Consequently, they at least semi-consciously want to hurt the other person, and telling the other person that they were never loved will let them vent their frustrations on the person they perceive to have been the cause of their unhappiness in the relationship.

    This is related to a dynamic that occurs when a person is about to do something that will hurt someone (e.g., leave them, fire them, demote them) and to avoid feeling guilty about it, they must dehumanize the person in their own mind using a blame the victim technique.

    “I never really loved you” is code for “You were never really lovable.” It thus takes the shine off the person you’re about to abandon and blames that person for the abandonment, allowing you to feel less guilty when you do the leaving.

  25. UncleFred Says:

    “My theory is that it makes the leaver feel less guilty.”

    I have a different view. The speaker is DONE with the relationship and wants the other person to go away and never darken their door again. It is said to devalue the relationship and deny that it ever existed. It is said to inflict the maximum possible pain and convince that person to forever depart. There is nothing for listener to save and any alternative view they might hold is valueless and utterly immaterial.

    The intent is to hurt for a purpose, nothing more or less. Which, btw, means it need not be true nor even believed by the speaker.

  26. bruce Says:

    Hi NN, I am an old citizen of Kidmanistan (IYKWIM) and I think it’s worth asking where and why the phrase “I love you” arose. I think it’s no more than a century old, and that it is a modern American creation. I say this because I experienced the post WWII gradual “colonisation” of my British culture by Americana, mostly through TV. Not complaining or accusing but I think it helps if Americans see how much they invented. Of course something similar is there in Victorian literature, and Henry James agonises on the trans-Atlantic contrasts, G*d bless him. How much is romantic love marriage a Hollywood re-thinking of a rather different British (Jane Austen) template? And does the difference make a difference? Well I think, for example, that the concept of “marriage equality” would not have arisen in the European context. Again not accusing, just inviting comment. Shakespeare’s and Austen’s hetero “love”, were they the same thing as 1950s ideal represented by, say Father Knows Best (I grew up watching that show)?

  27. Chas C-Q Says:

    sdferr:

    Not that it touches your point, but as I recall, this was only part of Hamlet’s scheme to make himself thought mad; a lie which backfired in that it toppled Ophelia into madness.

    I can’t see how saying “I never loved you” makes the speaker look any better, even to [him|her]self. As Rhett Butler’s response makes clear, if true it only spotlight’s the speaker’s mendacity; if false, it shows [him|her] to be (Hamlet notwithstanding) a moral coward.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    UncleFred:

    Your view on it and my view on it are not mutually exclusive.

    But I think that trying to assuage one’s own guilt is a more common emotion and motivation than mere cruelty. Most people don’t like to think of themselves as purposely hurting someone. It’s more common to at least want to think of oneself as a good person who was merely mistaken—who merely thought they were in love but were in error.

    I think also that more people are comfortable fooling themselves than lying outright and knowing it.

  29. NotMy RealName Says:

    Love is BOTH lust (feeling) AND commitment.

    The lust can wan (and wax again), but was there really commitment? “I was never really in love with you” means … I never really committed.

    My first marriage was annulled, after divorce, so as to be able to marry my “true love” in a Catholic Church.

    The commitment wasn’t there the first time. The LDS church sending potatoes is a good show of commitment.

    Lust & feeling are photogenic, and “of the moment”. Commitment is much harder to show, and is a conscious decision. Hollywood is trying to equate lust to love, but without the commitment, it’s never real love.

    The couple must both work on remaining compatible — and be conscious of what they do that is attractive to the other, and do a lot of that.

    Better with smiles. 🙂

  30. Sardondi Says:

    …or major deception

    You’re talking Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. Although it was more likely an eyes-wide-open (see what I did there?) straight-up (heh) stone-cold, career-enhancing business deal for both of them.

  31. The Other Gary Says:

    Neo wrote (10/2 @12:41am):

    I like to mix it up with my posts. I especially like to get away from politics, particularly on the weekends.

    Thank goodness. Although this is not a happy topic, I was surprised and pleased to see something so far removed from shootings, riots and this depressing election.

    But whenever a friend has told me a sad story of breakup that features a person saying to her “I never really loved you,” I’ve always felt extremely annoyed with the person who said it, even if I’ve never met that person in my life.

    A quirk, a pet peeve of mine I guess.

    If it is a “quirk,” it’s probably not an uncommon one. Who enjoys the spectacle of verbal cruelty heaped onto an already cruel situation? I don’t.

    Why would a person do this? My theory is that it makes the leaver feel less guilty.

    I could buy this sort of explanation if the person leaving internally rationalized their actions by thinking “I never loved him/her.” But actually saying this to the other person adds a level of cruelty that requires something more to explain it, IMHO.

    I think Jimmy’s comment above nailed it: the person who is leaving has been unhappy in the relationship for some time and is so frustrated and angry he/she wants to vent in addition to breaking up the relationship.

    I never received the “I never loved you” send-off, though one girlfriend departed in a gratuitously hurtful way. After much time had passed, I could see how certain things I did (and didn’t do) made her unhappy — and very frustrated, because she could not see any way to fix the situation or even talk about it. So she just walked, and wasn’t particularly nice about it.

    That was really unfortunate. Oh well, live and learn.

  32. sdferr Says:

    O Red Sox, O Red Sox, I never really loved you.

  33. David Foster Says:

    There are a lot of people who don’t analyze their own emotions very well, and hence, it may honestly be hard for them to realize that the emotion they are feeling at this moment is contradictory to an emotion they felt in the past. So they may remember having told their partner that they loved them, but can’t really understand why they did, at an emotional level.

  34. R.C. Says:

    Well, of course the worst part of it is that so many people are so badly mistaken about the vows of love taken in a wedding ceremony.

    Feelings are things that happen to a person, whether they will it or not. They are passively received; that’s why they are sometimes called “passions.”

    Consequently, it is impossible to promise to go on feeling a certain way. One might as well promise to never get rained on.

    To be sure, one has a limited control over one’s range of emotions, exercised through habits and decisions over time. That range is a bit like an Overton Window, whose boundaries can be shoved in one direction or another over time. A man can’t, by any act of will, manage to feel affectionate towards his wife every moment until she dies of old age at 95 (let alone romantically attracted). But he can manage to not form close emotional attachments with any other woman, notice with willful delight every good or winsome thing his wife does, and not stew about her faults. This shoves the window of his range of most-commonly-felt emotions towards her in a helpful direction, over time.

    But as for how he feels about her, or about anything else under the sun, on any given day, at any given moment? Poppycock. His will at that moment has minimal effect on those feelings.

    And that is why he can’t promise to always feel a certain way.

    And that is why none of the marriage vows involve feelings.

    The problem with marriage vows is this: “to love” is not the same thing as “to be in love with.”

    To “be in love with” involves feelings, because “being in love with” is, precisely, passively experiencing certain emotional reactions towards a certain object.

    But to love is an active verb, meaning (in the context of the marriage vows) “to intend (and as much as it lies within one’s power, help to achieve) the good and flourishing of the other as other.”

    Now because that involves a conscious intention of the will, it can be voluntarily done. And therefore one can plausibly take a vow to do it.

    Our culture teaches poor stupid youngsters who don’t know nuthin’ ’bout nuthin’ that they’re supposed to marry a person because they’re in love with them. What idiocy, what nonsense!

    No, you’re supposed to marry a person because you decide it is both right and within your plausible capability to work together with that person to start and enlarge a family which, over decades, will become a dynasty of multi-generational mutual help between its members, with the two of you as the founding examples.

    And while the child-bearing part of that familistic/dynastic expansion requires that the two of you have a minimal level of erotic attraction (and ideally more than the minimum), the mutual-help part requires that you intend (and act to achieve) the good of one another.

    Which is where the vow to actively, decisively love one another comes from.

    So, if you’re 18 and reading this, please pay attention to it! Consider it soberly. Hollywood Rom-Coms are thoroughgoing horses***, in nearly every way. So are Disney princess movies. That’s not how any real love story looks.

    No, the real love stories are all a kind of crucifixion: A giving away of one’s life selflessly for the other in hopes of reciprocation.

    And beyond that hope, is a vision of great-grandchildren visiting the two of you for Thanksgiving Dinner.

    It is therefore a calling, like becoming a monk or nun; or volunteering for a dangerous mission in a war. It has little to do with the vagueries of feelings.

    That is why one can take a vow, not to feel it, but to do it.

  35. R.C. Says:

    Oh, and incidentally, as a follow-up to my previous post….

    When a person leaves their spouse saying, “I never really loved you,” are they making a statement about feelings or willfully-selected actions?

    About feelings, almost certainly.

    (If about willfully-selected actions, then what they are saying is that they made the vow, in front of witnesses, and then never lifted a finger, no, not even once, to carry it out. That’s probably pretty rare.)

    So, uttered in that context, the statement “I never loved you” is once again betraying confusion about what is promised in marriage vows.

    In a sense, the proper response to such a statement is, “So? What does that have to do with anything? Even if it were true, it’s not as if it could plausibly provide justification for you leaving.”

    But of course it’s usually not true. Very rarely does a person marry another without at first feeling affection and erotic attraction. If that’s what they mean when talking about “love” then, well, that’s not relevant to the marriage vows but it does mean that, having felt it, they can’t truthfully claim to never have felt it.

  36. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    I’m crushed. But the emoticon gives hope.

  37. Kv Says:

    I told my first wife that…I wanted her to hate me, for I felt that I deserved her hatred; for a little while, it worked. I truly regret having hurt her so, and I’m thankful that, though we have been long apart, she has forgiven me. I’ll never do that to anyone else.

  38. CF Says:

    My sister’s husband of 15 years said this to her. He was indeed having an affair, and 10 years later married the woman he was involved with. Don’t know about his motivations but I do know he he enjoys manipulating people whenever possible.

  39. Jayne Says:

    Nice essay, Neo-neocon. Thank you for the work you do.
    When ‘I never loved you’ is a lie, the leaver is despicable and doesn’t care about hurting as well as deserting the other.
    When ‘I never loved you’ is the truth, wow!

    Jimmy, an old married couple I know, seemingly solid as some worn stones, recently broke up, with him being romantically involved with another woman. His parting shot was not, ‘I never loved you,’ but rather, ‘I have been unhappy in our relationship for the past eight years.’ Also devastating, I think.

    And R.C., your essay on the nature of the vow ‘to love’ is so beautiful. I hope you don’t mind, but I copied it and sent it to my 21 year old son to give him something to think about on this Monday morning.

  40. James Solbakken Says:

    Telling someone who had reason to believe that you loved them, “I never loved you,” is designed to hurt their feelings like firing a parting shot at them. But what it really does is expose the truth that the person who says it was one way or another only using the person they pretended to love and admitting that they were just taking advantage of them selfishly for selfish purposes. It’s a confession of sociopathy.

  41. huxley Says:

    Topic reminds me of this exchange in David Mamet’s “The Spanish Prisoner”:

    Jimmy Dell: I think you’ll find that if what you’ve done for them is as valuable as you say it is, if they are indebted to you morally but not legally, my experience is they will give you nothing, and they will begin to act cruelly toward you.
    Joe Ross: Why?
    Jimmy Dell: To suppress their guilt.

    I would say more but it’s a great under-rated film and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything.

    The film aside, I think the idea in neo’s essay often plays out, that the socially powerful person in a situation not only gets to win but gets to absolve him- or herself from feeling bad while making the other person feel even worse.

  42. styrgwillidar Says:

    Another reason is depression. It colors everything- including the past. The statements ‘I love you, but I’m not in love with you.’ and ‘I never really loved you.’ are very typical of depressives.

    A good book on depressions is Anne Sheffield’s “Depression Fallout” which, if I recall correctly, had a chapter on this topic alone.

  43. Ken in NH Says:

    When these kind of break ups happen and someone is claiming to never have loved the other, there are two possibilities that make it true in their mind.

    1) The English word “love” is overloaded. Which kind of love are we talking about? Eros, Phileo or Agape? (Most Christian philosophy focuses on three, but C.S. Lewis advocated for four kinds of love.) They had erotic love for the other person, but never the unconditional, sacrificial, agape, love that a married couple should strive for. To strive for agape takes commitment and self sacrifice. Shallow, immature adults cannot do that.

    2) On the other hand, the person could have the kind of abnormal psychology where what they see and feel at this moment is their only reality and everything in their past is ignored or edited to fit this reality. I don’t know if these are psychopaths or persons with borderline personality disorder or what the official diagnosis is, but I have dealt with a few of them. You can show them objective proof from the past that contradicts their current state regarding a relationship or themselves (or whatever it is they now find objectionable) and ask them what made them happy or content then. They will invariable respond that they were not happy at that moment, they were probably faking it, but it was not true. To them current conditions are fact and evidence of past is subjective or even false.

  44. Chris Says:

    C. S. Lewis had this to say as well, in Mere Christianity:

    “… ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense- love as distinct from ‘being in love’- is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other: as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. Being ‘in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    AesopFan Says:
    October 1st, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Bookworm, another conversion of the heart/mind such as Neo Neo here, often mentions her agnostic personal belief, coupled with her Jewish heritage from parents in WWII.

    She mentions how she respects the Mormon missionaries for their attitude or well kept appearance. I also had some funny riffs on stories talking to Christian missionaries, of various denominations.

  46. Ymarsakar Says:

    That video link is also hilarious, Aesop. The Mormons are like the early adopters of survival prepping. Which I only ever heard about in recent decades.

    On that topic, Aquaponics might be an interesting advance in self sustainable food production.

    Anyone who actually believes in something like the Apocalypse, or the Zombie Apocalypse, or something like the Rapture, might prepare just as zealously, for their own reasons. Those beliefs tended to be ostracized as extreme or non mainstream. Now that, online, people are Doomsdaying like I’ve never seen them do before, certain things are getting mainstream after all.

  47. huxley Says:

    Back in my hippie days I read the Whole Earth Catalog, which was oriented in part to living off the land and surviving the coming apocalypse due to overpopulation and pollution.

    The Whole Earth Catalog recommended some Mormon sources for buying items in bulk for surviving a collapse.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    which was oriented in part to living off the land and surviving the coming apocalypse due to overpopulation

    I suppose their Gaia mother didn’t tell them about the other problem, underpopulation.

  49. huxley Says:

    Y: If one took Ehrlich’s claim seriously that a billion or so people were about to starve death within ten years, including thousands of Americans, underpopulation looks like a picnic.

    I took that stuff seriously. Ehrlich was a Stanford professor and the Malthusian math always looks good.

    We’ve gotten this far because clever, resourceful humans beat the equations, not becuase the equations were wrong.

    Without Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolutioin, millions, if not a billion, of people would have died.

  50. sdferr Says:

    Along with a simple wonder induced by the currents of comment threads and where those flows take them, the ironies — (possibly unintended as such, yet present nonetheless) — abounding in Malthusian math looking good and equations not wrong can’t pass without some remark. But what remark is just in such a context? That’s hard to know, among other things hard to know.

    Perhaps one might leave it at the implication of the poverty of the so-named “fact-value” distinction and therefore of the incapacity of science to know itself, or possibly at the suggestion that, being near the 98th anniversary of Max Weber’s Address “Politics as a Vocation”, we can profit from a re-reading of that.

    Or, in the context of “I never loved you”, bemuse ourselves with the thought that the same God who said “be fruitful and multiply” may as well one day say “I never loved you”? Oy.

    That’s not a nice thought, as the modern nice-saying goes. But then it’s always blech with the modern way of “nice” saying.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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