I’ve never said that everything is rosy about love. It’s quite often a very complex emotion. I have a very dear friend whom I still deeply love and miss but who I don’t talk to anymore. Her behavior made me feel that I needed to remove myself from the relationship. The fact that I will never let her back into my life does not diminish the feelings that I still have for her.

People who experience real love do shitty things to each other all of the time. Think of all of the dads who have abandoned their kids, sometimes believing it was for their own good and sometimes because they were too wounded to make good choices. I don’t think we can say that across the board that they did not have a real love for their children.

I have to say, I’m not particularly thrilled with you characterizing the relationships I’ve described as casual and therefore not good indications of what love is. The story that I published today was about how those relationships mean so much to me and are so vitally important to the reality that I want to be living in, that I’m having a hard time describing them because my words don’t do them justice. Would I bend over backward for either of them? Yes, of course, but the chances are they will never ask that of me because the love that we share does not require that. It’s still real love. Every fiber of my being that just experienced that in a very visceral way confirms it.

And how about Nat? That is one of the deepest loves that I’ve ever felt for anyone ever in my life. He is in many ways a literal part of me. But because of the circumstances, I’m rarely in a position to be of support to him, and the only inconvenience is that he’s far away. We don’t have to do things for each other or give things to each other in order to have a very strong love. In fact, I think that this is what that relationship is for — to help me to experience that kind of transcendent love that is beyond the more transactional view of love that you are describing. You are saying love has to be hard some times to be real love and I’m trying to tell you that I think that a more expanded version of love is sometimes possible. And I believe that it’s moving in the direction of what God as Love is. More about that in the story on all of this that I’m in the process of writing.

Again, you don’t have to agree, but I think when you start telling other people that the things they feel aren’t real love because the specifics of their relationships don’t meet your metrics, you are treading on thin ice.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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