Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Language of Love

I’m considering an advice column entitled “Let Go and Let Joe”.
I listen to people. In person, singularly or in groups, on the radio, on TV, in movies. I read books, social media posts, newspapers and magazines. The coercive semantics in expressions of love, hope, belief and affection fascinate me as does the culture of relationships, how they develop, why and how they disintegrate. I’ve had significant real-life experience enhanced by a considerable academic background.
Everything has a lifespan: dogs, people, love affairs.
Over the past several years a few phrases and terms have become prevalent in the discourse relating to coupling, marriage, and the abstraction we call “love” that are inaccurate, manipulative, sad and may foreshadow upcoming hazards.

What the hell is a “Soulmate”? No. That is a dangerous elevation of somebody and it gives tremendous power to the significant other. To refer to another as one’s “Soulmate” is emotional blackmail and limits options; it is a way of acquiring the individual and is similar to the often used and completely false:

Love of My Life.
Wow. No one else? Ever? Really? Impossible to locate another individual to boost your ego? Holy mackerel. That’s another way of saying, “I’ve given up. I don’t even want to try. It’s your responsibility to worship and support to me. Or else.”
I’ve only done preliminary research but I’m fairly sure that there are close to 10,000 people within a 500-mile radius of anyone in the populated, civilized world with whom one could establish an intimate relationship. That means you may have thousands of “Soulmates” and “Loves of Your Life”.
Tired, sad, needy. Please, get a grip, be real and let the other person off the hook.

Improper use of the modifier “so”:
This one is a beaut, and easily recognizable:

“I love you.”
Trite, but nice. Simple and to the point.
“I love you so much.”
Hmm. What are you truly saying? Why do you want me to hear that extra “so”? One should immediately become suspicious.
“I love you so, so much.”
Absolutely dishonest. This is a clear indication of anger or infidelity. Your life is in jeopardy. If you hear the double “so” in an expression of intimacy or attachment, wait for your partner to leave the house and then run. Move. Leave a note that says, “You are a lying monster. I don’t know what I ever saw in you. Fuck off and don’t look for me or I’ll have you arrested.”

Another dubious use of “so”:
“I’m sorry.”
Sure, OK, you should be, perhaps we can move on, I may or may not accept your expression of remorse.
“I’m so sorry.”
Uh oh. Now they’re overdoing it. They are not telling you the whole story but they definitely have something to hide. Be nervous.
“I’m so, so sorry.”
Nope. You are not. Your companion is a lying manipulative lowlife danger to society and is preparing you for serious humiliation or a bad beating. Again, “so, so sorry” is the most obvious signal that it’s totally over. Get a restraining order, hire some private security, but become far, far gone.

Everyone, everything, every alliance has a lifespan. The person who knows that and can spot the indicators of annihilation has a better chance of staying safe, of moving on and going north to find the next Soulmate.
If I can save one life, my work is done.

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