Does True Love Exist?

10 Jan

I’m dipping my toe into the world of online dating. Alas, Yahoo and the WWW have determined my newly admitted interest (before they showed me recipes and gardening tips).  Advertisements of all things romantic fill my home browser screen.

A poll caught my eye the other day . . . Does true love really exist?

At the time I noted this survey, more than 8000 people had responded. A whopping 77% said ‘yes, for the lucky ones’, while 23% claimed ‘nope, it’s a fantasy’.  What does this mean to those of us who write romance?  Those who read it?  Who hope to experience it once more?  (And yes, I know, there are interesting linkages in those questions, but let’s not lay our souls bare).

Romance as a genre steadily expands.  Even books outside the classic genre rely heavily upon chemistry and ‘romantic elements’.  I certainly bond with characters (both my creations and those of other authors) who seek their passion . . .   who, even reluctantly, acknowledge that true love must exist even if it has not found them.

I did a quick internet search on the question of true love and more than sixteen million hits came back in less than a tenth of a second.  Clearly, I’m not the only person who’s pondered this. Scientists claim certainty of such love and offer evidence, chemical tests and brain scans, to support their assertion.  Songs memorialize both fated and ill-fated love; all variants true and powerful.  Teenagers swear theirs will last forever.  Websites tempt the lonely with promises of matches and mates and perfectly suited companions. One’s almost tempted to nod wisely and say: ‘why yes, I’ve known true love . . .’ and then tilt a thoughtful brow and take a sip of coffee. Almost.

For me, I’d just like a little guidance. I’m pretty sure I’ve not found it. Yet. But, how would I know?

Is it the quiver in one’s stomach at the thought of a lover’s touch? Or is it the comfortable warmth of a long time couple? Can you see it? Do men feel it differently than women?

Does true love exist?  And what exactly does it feel like?  Really, I’m curious. Because if three quarters of the population believe in true love, I better dust off my romance manuscript. After all, someone has to convince the 23% who’ve given up.


Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Idaho, romance


Tags: , , ,

18 responses to “Does True Love Exist?

  1. blankenshiplouise

    January 10, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    I believe in endorphins, those are as real as a brick wall. 🙂

    True love isn’t a goal, it’s a journey. Like a lot of things. So I’d go with the comfortable, long-term warmth, of what you listed.

    Tough to demonstrate in a finite manuscript, admittedly. Romances (the genre) try to establish enough of a pattern that the reader can comfortably assume the characters will continue along that path, I suppose. I’ve always been on the skeptical side.

  2. Liz Fredericks

    January 10, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    I’m with you on the skepticism, but the journey/pattern analogy seems dead on. I think the premise on true love is continuity rather than the initial zing. Not that I’m complaining about the occasional zing, but too much is misery . . . and we haven’t even gotten started on the unrequited love, or narcissism.

  3. Janis McCurry

    January 10, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    I believe it true love but I don’t believe everyone is automatically going to find it if they search long enough. Kind of along the “you can’t have everything” line. I thought I found it but looking back, there were clues I would have known with time and wisdom. Unfortunately, that chronology doesn’t always line up. If I don’t find it and, at this point, the odds are against it, I try to nurture the things I do have, and feel blessed for them. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the loneliness seems overwhelming, but life goes on.

    Yep, true love exists. Hurray for those who’ve found it. That’s what I write about.

  4. Liz Fredericks

    January 10, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Absolute agreement, Janis! Life does go on and sometimes I think that the emphasis on ‘true love’ and ‘romantic love’ as a social construct diminishes the very important connections we make with friends and family. In many ways, I guess I’d trust those connections to a greater degree than some spark. It goes back to the continuity point blankenshiplouise raised – do you place your trust in a pattern or a singular event. For me, I know who’s been there always – maybe ‘true love’ isn’t romantic love. Maybe it’s simply ‘trusted’ love and that comes in many forms and many relationships.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    January 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    I’m one of the 77%. I’d say that even if I didn’t have a true love (one who has come desperately close to being buried in the back yard under a bush.)
    I always have a romance in my mysteries, because what would life be without the give and take of a relationship? It’s the triumph of overcoming the things that separate us. It’s two people stubbornly determined to become a family. The hardest part of true love is finding someone who wants true love as much as you do.
    Here’s to true love on the page and in real life.

    • Liz Fredericks

      January 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Peggy, I think you nailed one of the challenges – ‘finding someone who wants true love as much as you do’. People may all want this, but if they’re at different stages in their lives . . . so, we need a confluence, followed by a pattern – crimeny, it’s not so easy!

  6. Mary Vine

    January 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the ones who say they are marrying their “soul mates” end up getting divorced. The last one I heard about were divorced in a year’s time. I do think that my husband knows me more than anyone else has, and believes I’ll do it what I say. I think it’s important to have some of the same interests, which has come in handy as my husband has become disabled. Perhaps that is when love shines the best, when one or the other is disabled, and still feel dedicated to the long haul.

    • Liz Fredericks

      January 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Good point – is a soul mate the same thing as a true love? I’m almost starting to consider the ‘true’ in true love being more about commitment than serendipity . . y’know ‘the arrow flew true’ about staying the course despite pressure to the contrary.

  7. Lynn Mapp

    January 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I believe true love is real. Our problem is what we think it looks like. That old bickering couple that get on each others nervous, that’s ture love. The cover of some magazine that showed Angie Jolie looking at Brad looking at their baby, that’s true love. The jouney is not certain. we expect true love to be smooth. It’s not. We are the problem with true love. We mess it up.

  8. Liz Fredericks

    January 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Exactly. Dang human imperfection messes with the divine at every turn. Thanks, Lynn.

  9. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Liz, just got back after a day of being off-line only to find this great post. My goodness girl, Harlequin has been the only major publisher, who through one of the biggest down turns of our industry, made so much, they were a full 52% higher than their nearest competitor. They made a little more than all other major publishers combined. Put that to you research and you’ve got, not only a nation, but a world that refuses to give up on true love, happily-ever-after …

    I not only believe in true love, I believe that there is something special about finding that soul-mate, that one among so many who completes us. Sure, some are also fortunate to find it more than once. A member of my book club lost her first husband after 30 years and is married to her second husband for 32 years.

    And to Lyn … so true … the happiest older couple will tell you (watch the interviews in the middle of When Harry Met Sally) and you can see it … smooth it ain’t … but even when the ride is bumpy it’s worth every sore muscle 🙂

  10. Liz Fredericks

    January 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I adore your enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Meredith Conner

    January 10, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    I believe in love and working at that love and admitting mistakes and forgiving them and getting furious with my husband and a few days later being reminded of why I feel in love with him in the first place. I believe in happily ever afters and making sure I do all I can to have my own.

  12. Liz Fredericks

    January 10, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    You deserve them.

  13. Patsy

    January 11, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I’d given up on love. On a whim, I went out with a friend who gotten stood up. We were in a downtown Boise bar. A guy leaned around a pole. He had black longish curly hair, snapping dark eyes and a wide grin. He asked me to dance and that was the beginning of our 22 years (this month) together. I believe in love and I believe in soul mates. I found mine!

  14. Liz Fredericks

    January 11, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Thanks Patsy – very inspiring. Which bar? 😉

  15. Clarissa Southwick

    January 11, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Yes, it exists and yes, it’s visible. Great blog, Liz, as usual 🙂

  16. Skye

    July 3, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    I am a firm believer that true love exists, I am lucky enough to experience it. But it takes time for some people to find it, thankfully the “practise” or previously failed attemps really help when the big on e comes around.


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