Wire Issue 17

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Wire Issue 17
WIRED ON: MENTAL HEALTH
DR. GREGG A. PIZZI, PSYCHOLOGIST
What is Love?
I once worked with a young man who
by individual, expresses itself in different
had come to me for relief from his chronic
ways, and changes over time.
loneliness. He had been in multiple
relationships, on and off, lasting days
I’ve been frequently asked whether it’s
to weeks to months.
Yet despite always
normal for a couple to say, “I love you”
having a guy by his side, he continually
after knowing one another for only a brief
found himself feeling alone and unfulfilled.
time. Sometimes one person says it and
He met plenty of people who were into him,
the other person freezes, as if in a state
yet none of the guys he dated could possibly
of shock, or as if they were just hit with a
meet his stringent boyfriend criteria.
stun gun. Of course it’s okay to say “I love
you,” and the only requirements for doing
I realized that this man had been basically
so responsibly are these: (1) You only say it
shooting himself in the foot emotionally
if you mean it at the moment you say it, and
when he told me he had ended the
(2) You don’t ascribe any other meaning
relationship with a guy that he really liked
to it. So for example, you don’t say you
and had been dating for only a couple
love someone and then expect them to
of weeks. When I asked why he ended
respond in kind. The person saying it is
it so suddenly, he explained that when he
talking about his or her own feelings only,
invited his date over to his house, the guy
and cannot healthily expect anything else
had brought him a small gift. When I asked
to come of it. Additionally, if someone tells
him what the problem was, he summarily
you they love you, don’t freak out thinking
dismissed the man as being overzealous,
that you now have to be monogamous
inappropriate, and that his feelings at that
with them, change your Facebook status,
point in the relationship could not possibly
or even feel the same way back. Love is
have been healthy nor justified giving a
simply a feeling, which may or may not be
gift. The guy was immediately viewed as
reciprocated, and which may or may not
suspect, disingenuine, and flawed, simply
lead to actions.
because he expressed his loving feelings
through a gift.
My point is to accept the love you receive
without judgment. Embrace it. Be grateful
What secret emotions could have been
for the many forms of love you receive in
behind the gift? Was it love? Like? Lust?
your life. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by
Was there a two-for-one special at Target
questioning the motives of others when all
and the guy couldn’t pass up a good
you have to do is say, ‘Thank you’ and feel
bargain? My take on it is this: Who cares?
the love. I guarantee you, there is no such
Whatever the man was trying to express
thing as too much love, and there’s more
with his actions represents
than enough love to go around.
what he was feeling at the
20 | wire magazine | wireweekly.com
time, and does not need to
Dr. Gregg A. Pizzi, Licensed
be analyzed, criticized, or
Psychologist, specializes in the
judged. And if he did indeed
Emotional Health & Wellness of
mean to say, ‘I love you’ after
the GLBT community. An Imago
two weeks of dating, what’s so
Relationship Therapist and HIV
bad about that anyway? Love
Psychologist Trainer, he can be
is a complex human emotion
reached at 1-888-DRPIZZI or
that takes many forms, varies
www.DrPizzi.com