Scene at recent book club:

Member 1: Heathcliff and Jane!  What a love story!

Me: Really? I don’t think they were really in love.

Scene at Indian café over cups of chai:

Friend 1: What did you think of “Cold War”?

Me: Ehhh

Friend 1: You didn’t like it?

Me: I really liked the movie.  I just didn’t think the characters were in love.

Friend 1: Really? I thought they were totally in love.

Scene at….

I can recount numerous scenes where I have said similar statements.  Whenever I am discussing a love story of sorts, I tend to err on the side of: sorry, not sorry. I just can’t call that love.

I’m beginning to think I have a problem with the way love is depicted on screen or on the page.


Because love doesn’t make sense.  It’s not logical.  There is no proof or formula. I just have a hard time accepting this.  I want to see the step by step progression of love. I want to know who, what, when, where and how. And if I don’t see it with my own eyes, I just don’t believe it.

Cynical.  I know.

In a book or movie, what are the tip offs that two characters are in love? And I don’t mean one character saying to another “I love you.” Using those words- well- that’s cheating.  Anyone can say the words- but there has to be actions supporting those words.  What did person A do that shows why they love person B?

Let me be clear: I also think giving someone a gift is cheating.  Giving someone a gift does not mean that you love them.  There’s a scene in “Grace and Frankie” where Grace realizes that her then husband has bought a bunch of jewelry to give her just in case he screwed up.  The gifts really have no meaning because he was just trying to diffuse difficult situations. Gifts must really matter: they must be given from the heart.

So my dear friends: when you are seeing two people portrayed as being in love, what are the tip offs?  How do you know when two characters are actually in love? What is the greatest example of love between two characters that you have seen/read?


77 thoughts on “Love vs. Me

      1. It’s so sweet…I wasn’t sure what to think when I thought of Clint in a role like that but it worked really well. Let me know what you think, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. “The Rules of Magic” by Alice Hoffman portrays several examples of what I felt was true love. Characters are willing to risk personal safety just to be with that other person. I was so drawn to this book that I even wrote a blog post about it!

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  2. When someone cares so much for you or you for them, that they think of your comfort or needs before their own. Sometimes they even place themselves in an awkward situation or an uncomfortable social gathering where they don’t quite agree with everything but they are there for you or you for them because they love you. That means more than a diamond which can be sold for a varying amount of monies based on the material value to the buyer.

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      1. I had to remind myself of that lesson today with my husband and his military bud. No, I don’t quite get his relationship with his ex-wife or approve of some things but he is a very good friend to us. Likewise, my husband will never agree with some of the viewpoints of my girlfriends and I can understand why but he doesn’t judge them, mostly. It is a slippery slope.

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  3. The way he talks about you to others when you are not around. Little things like leaving love notes for you. How he cares for you when you are not feeling good. I agree with Chrissy too, it’s the look in his eyes. My husband says that he not only loves me, he is IN love with me and he knows there is a difference.

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    1. The way he talks when you’re not around….that’s a good one. I think that’s one of the best indicators…and yes…love and in love…..that’s worth a blog in itself…

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  4. I cannot tolerate romance movies and novels. They make me want to vomit because they are so unrealistic.

    In a later episode, after they are divorced, Robert buys Grace a scarf. That meant much more to her than the mass amount of gifts he had stashed while they were married.

    To me love is shown is by just being there for the other person, truly listening, a shoulder to cry on and offering assistance when it is required. Oh, and genuine deep conversation and laughter.

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    1. Completely agree. And yes…when they’re shopping for his mothers funeral attire and he buys her the scarf….totally love and thanks and friendship. Great moment. I know I find the love stories with unhappy endings the most authentic….

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    1. I admit, I think this one is good. I think they grow to love one another as the people they are. They accept each other’s faults and they each go out if their way to help the other….him with her sister Lydia and her with his sister when it appears she’s going to be given grief by bingleys sisters. They acted out of wanting the other to be ok

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      1. I also really liked how the actors, in the five hour version, played out The First Proposal. There’s want and a facsimile of love, but so much contempt and demand.

        Writers just need to give characters more time.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s exactly the problem. Writers rush through that to get to the good stuff….which really isn’t the good stuff….and gives people false expectations of what love is

        Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s rare. There is not enough drama in that.

        The most defining ‘love’ moment for me with Smith was during Chemo. He came to my home with everything in hand to make my favorite soup. I dozed in and out, but could here him in the kitchen. He brought me soup in bed and sat with me while I ate. It was beautiful.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I hardly ever cry apart from when I watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (I’m an emotional wreck and in pieces by the End, lol actually crying my eyes out!) The point being I believed Donna Reed loved Jimmy Stewart with all her heart……. but I understand what you mean when an author STATES for fact ‘they are in love’. Really?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She loved him because she ran all over town to help him when he was in need, she sacrificed her honeymoon when he was# in trouble….lots of times….but yeah…drives me crazy when the author says I love you…and there’s nothing….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great questions. You always make me think!!!
    The problem with most movies is that they try to show love in 90 minutes. No matter how good a novel or script is, when you try to fit it into a movie you have to leave a bit of the progression out. The film editor has a time limit and the love progression is left on the cutting room floor. So the audience has to use their imaginations. It is easier to see a love progression in a novel than in a movie. That is why the 6 hour 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice done as a mini series and almost word for word from the book, shows how Lizzy falls in love with Darcy perfectly.
    It does take it step by step like in the novel. (Something Jane Austen was a master at doing. She had that down pat!) The 2005 P&P movie is charming, but misses each little detail of how the protagonists fall in love. And since today’s theatre goers do not go to intermissions, we don’t get to see 4 or 6 hour movies any more. So you are never going to get the same affect. Love takes time. Lust is instantaneous! But Love? Now that is a different story. That pot has to boil!!!

    I have to say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite love story of all time. You see two characters, obviously attracted to one another, and yet Darcy starts out annoyed with Elizabeth because she is ill bred and fights his attraction to her. Ms. Bennett on the other hand goes from loathing him to falling in love with the guy when she slowly starts to understand that his arrogance is just masking his shyness and that his character is more about kindness and generosity. Her feelings for him build over a period of time.

    I first fell in love with that story as a teenager and now approaching 70 I still find it the best love story ever written. An outspoken woman who would choose never to marry unless she fell in love.Imagine that! What an independent thinker Jane Austen was!!! She truly shows their courtship.

    I agree with you about Wuthering Hts. to a certain extent. I believe Heathcliff loved Kathy, but I thought she was annoyingly weak and that bothered me. I have always been drawn to strong heroines who would fight to the death for their principles. Both characters in WH were deeply troubled but yes it IS a love story . Written by a a woman (Emily Bronte) who had never been in love nor allowed to be courted. So, in my opinion, it was her version of love. A possessive tormented kind of love. I was transfixed by the character of Heathcliff. And as I learned about his creator, I rather think Emily was Heathcliff and Kathy was a version of the men she may have admired. So it is certainly not your traditional love story. That is for sure. It’s other worldly.

    Real love is hard to define. I often wonder if I even know what it is. I have been married twice. I loved both of my husbands and loved a young man in college who went off to Viet Nam. I loved them all in different ways. Each as well as I could according to my age. The first love was not a physical love but a romantic love based on what I thought love was. I think love is defined differently for each person and depends on their age. If I were to fall in love now it would not be with the same eye or expectations as I had at 18 or 20. Growing old together, depending on one another, caring about one another. That is love. It is much deeper than passion. Passion and attraction is entirely different from love.
    Also, having played the part of Juliet in college, as that character I fell in love with Romeo. The play takes two young teens who are smitten by the beauty of one another and their attraction and passion. That is love to young people. Young people in the throws of love and passion do foolish things. Thus, the tragic ending. It is a love story, yes. But in truth, it is physical attraction that brought Romeo to Juliet’s balcony. Had Juliet not been a beauty he never would have climbed the garden wall.
    Love is never going to be defined the same for any of us. And few films will every show it accurately.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great comments. Agree on so many points. Romeo and Juliet wasn’t a love story….it was totally lust. At the beginning of the play they were getting over others. If anything it was rebound. Withering heights I always thought of as revenge….I mean, I know the thought of heath life on the moors and all, but still….
      Love is rushed in movies, and even in books. Clearly the Colin Firth p&p was the best ever made because you do get to see the love unfold…love that!!
      And as for love….I’m always going to try to define it…but I don’t think it’s possible. Who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, Scarlet and Rhett care! Rhett is still grieving the loss of his daughter and simply has had enough of Scarlet’s vanity… at least for the time being. Scarlet was so in love with her 16 year old romantic notions of Ashley that she convinced herself that what she felt before the war was real love. Had she actually gotten him Ashley would have bored her to tears. Once she finally realized that she loved Rhett it was too late. I always felt she’d give Rhett time and then go after him. And as we know, Scarlet always gets her man. Lol
        I loved the book and the movie too. But I never felt it was a love story as written. A story of passion, yes. But the love part Margaret Mitchell lets us write in our heads. I read it in middle school and my ending had them getting back together down the road… Clark Gable! Now wasn’t he just the perfect Rhett? ❤️

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      2. Yes! My mom’s nickname for me as a little kid was Scarlet. When I’d ask her why she kept calling me that name she told me to read the book when I got older. Obviously I read it when I was young.

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  7. That’s a tough question. I love rom-coms, because they’re warm and entertaining, not believable!

    In books, I really like the relationship that develops between Claire and Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is a really interesting question and it really got the old grey matter working. I think ‘movie’ love is rarely accurately portrayed but, then again, the ‘can’t be apart for a second, can’t take my eyes off you’ love is a rarity in real life, at least for the long term. I think, for me, the only film that explored love, including all the human frailties, was Dangerous Liaisons. There was real love between Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont but that was destroyed by jealousy and also between Valmont and Madame de Tourvel also destroyed but this time by vanity. In real life love is often ruined by jealousy, low self-esteem, lack of trust and a host of other things so, for me, Dangerous Liaisons was a pretty accurate portrayal :O) x

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  9. What is Cold War? Never heard of it. I don’t look for reasons why a couple is in love. If they say they are, so be it. Love is defined in so many different ways that no matter what I think of their love, it’ll not be how they define it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a polish film nominated for best foreign film…and it’s better than most American films this year. I want to see the characters fall in love. I’m crazy….that way….

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  10. I totally loved that Grace and Frankie episode… in a sad but still funny way. The just in case gifts… Ugh!!!! I think Grace drew the short straw in her relationship for sure.
    But yes, I understand what you mean about needing to see the ‘love’ happen step by step. That process really draws me into the story and into the characters.

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  11. LA when Romeo finds Juliet dead (he thinks she’s dead) he is indeed heartbroken but he talks about her looks. Which is of course what someone young would say. I still sob when I watch this this scene. But it is so different from the wisdom of sonnet 116. It the love of youth, not the love and wisdom of someone older “—O my love, my wife!
    Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,
    Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.
    Thou art not conquered. Beauty’s ensign yet
    Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
    And death’s pale flag is not advancèd there.—”

    Romeo goes on and then kisses her and comments on how her lips her still warm as he dies…. which of course is the most heartbreaking of all because the audience knows she is still alive…. It is romantic, tragic, and represents young infatuation, love/lust and all of that. Sonnet 116 shows the wisdom of someone who has loved for years and to me that is what makes it so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that you wrote the part about youth vs mature view of love. One of my friends just emailed me about today’s blog and told me it was a little harsh. I responded that is how I view the mistakes people make in regards to their relationships and love. It’s funny how your views change as you get older

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      1. YES! I find that to be true. Romantic love is all encompassing when you are young and in love. It is hormones talking over rationality. (That was my first marriage LOL). I think with age comes wisdom, reality, and women finding their true identity. Gloria Steinem once wrote – and I am paraphrasing_ that women become more open minded and radical as they age, and men become more conservative.
        We women finally get to a point where we think about ourselves! Our entire lives we put others first. And in doing so, we start to see things with more clarity. AND we tell it like it is.

        I have always been a romantic. I love love. But for most of my 60’s I have been without a special man in my life because all the men I dated being a widow were not really worth me spending the rest of my life with. I don’t need a man to be happy. Some woman do. When you get older you realize that. So I don’t see myself falling in love again. It makes me wonder if love is only for the young. I see flaw too easily. And I can’t overlook differences in politics and annoying habits because my hormones aren’t raging. LOL I see people as they really are.

        I have been proposed to by two men in this decade and I broke up with them both when they asked. I had no desire to take care of them and didn’t love them enough to tend to them into old age. I had no problem caring for my late husband when he was dying. But we had decades together and I didn’t care that he was sick. I loved him. I can’t see doing that for someone I just met or didn’t have decades to get to know….Maybe that is harsh…. but the person I have fallen in love with in my 60’s is myself. I have finally gotten to know myself. I suppose it would be nice to fall in love again. But I don’t need to…. So yes, we change as we age and our views of love changes with us. I remember being young and in love and it was exciting and stimulating. Now I am looking for a different kind of love. A matching of intellectual love. A more peaceful bliss.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Not harsh at all. You know who you are and you like yourself. There is nothing better than that. That, the living yourself, is the best gift of getting older

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I have to add to this, today it is raining and I had to go to work. My husband brought my car to the edge of the walkway so I didn’t have to go too far in the rain. That says love to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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