Love Line

Over the past two days I’ve watched this video at least ten times. It’s an interview with an amazing woman named Roberta Haze, a 73 year old costume designer and former Broadway dancer. In it she discusses her views on life, love, sex, monogamy, one night stands, dating younger guys (her current boyfriend is 40), pussy tucks, Paz de la Huerta–all the important stuff, basically. Everything she says is just so perfect and honest and wise, and every time I watch it I feel more inspired by her words. I genuinely believe that if everyone thought like her the world would be a happier, more loving, more sane place.

My favorite part of the film is when Roberta talks about love, and how a key to a good relationship is being able to accept that everyone expresses their love in different ways, and that you can’t teach someone the right way to care about you. She says, “I’m trying to learn, at 73, to believe and feel and internalize that somebody loves me their way.” She say that being able to do this involves trust, and that even if your partner isn’t doing the demonstrative things that you have in your agenda, that you have to “let them love you the way they love you, not the way that you want to be loved.” (She goes deeper into it than that, so I suggest you just watch the video.)

I think this is such important advice. Love is complex–it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and we can’t expect it to. We’ve heard it our entire lives: you can’t change people. But gosh, sometimes the impulse to try is just so strong. It’s so easy to get mad at our boyfriends/girlfriends for not acting the way we want them to act toward us, or showing us affection in the ways that we deem right.

Sometimes, when you’re in a relationship, it’s tempting to take on the role of the victim. We convince ourselves that it’s always our partner–never us–who doesn’t care enough, who is lazy, who was late, who started the argument, who was being rude or stupid or neglectful. But maybe, if we looked a little closer, we’d begin to notice the more understated things they do that we regularly overlook, simply because they’re not things that we immediately consider to be declarations of love.

Recently, my boyfriend and I got into an argument, prompted by my claim that he never goes out of his way to do nice things for me. I argued that I’m always doing special things for him that I wouldn’t do for just anyone–bringing him dinner, buying him books for no reason, rubbing his head for hours, etc. When I asked him what he ever does for me, he replied, “Well, I talk to you.” My initial response, as you can probably imagine, was something like “Wow, great, who cares.” As someone who constantly talks about my feelings and problems to everyone, and who spends every day blogging the intimate details of my life to an audience of anonymous strangers, the idea of simply “opening up” didn’t seem all that special to me. But then later on, when I thought about it more, I realized that he and I are inherently different in this way. He barely talks to anyone; he’s generally quite awkward, standoffish and Aspergerey. Like he’s the kind of person for whom a casual greeting with an acquaintance is a profoundly uneasy experience. However, before our argument, I guess I just never took the time to think about it. I didn’t consider that simply confiding in me could be perceived as a form of his affection, because it’s not the way that I do things. But now, post Roberta Haze enlightenment, I’m beginning to better appreciate that I get to be the receiver of his thoughts and feelings, and although they might not be gift wrapped, they are still valuable. Does that make sense?

And this doesn’t just apply to boyfriends or girlfriends, but it goes for friends and parents and siblings too. And I know it may sound obvious, but it’s good to remind ourselves not to criticize the people we love just because they don’t think and act exactly like we do, ya know?

Oh my god, I started crying while typing this. What is wrong with me? I hope I’m getting my period otherwise this is just embarrassing.

OK… Dr. Phil-like rant over :)



30 Replies to “Love Line”

  1. Just by reading or hearing about it makes it sound easy if you know how to let things go but we live in a realm of idealism, and we must fight that. “Love” (ew. Lol) is really about enduring not only the pain from anal sex, or how far you went.

    Beautiful post. :)

  2. ” I’m not saying you have to work at love, but you have to work at not trashing it”
    She is so right.
    I nearly did a little cry when I read this too.

  3. I love this. My boyfriend is the same way about talking. Plus he is amazing in bed, which is affection I don’t take for granted anymore after a liberal sampling of 20-something male sexual prowess (even grading on a curve, the results of the six month study were extremely disappointing.)

    I think appreciating a situation from someone else’s mind instead of your own lense is deep love. Possibly ‘mature’ love. or something, I’ll go masturbate now.

    1. It seems like every girl who writes in to advice columns about their boy troubles is always like “The sex is *amazing*” but is that just something they feel obligated to say? I’m more inclined to believe what you say here, that most dudes aren’t that good at it.

  4. There’s an entire book on this idea, it’s called The Five Love Languages. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually featured on Dr Phil as it’s both cheesy and kinda helpful.

  5. @veronika

    High five for “mature love”. Once you have it, you never want to go back to game playing or creating drama for the sake of drama.

  6. So true! I was like to my boyfriend “You never say “I like you” a lot” (definitely not at the love stage here) and he was like “I already said it. I still mean it you idiot!”. To him, once is enough whereas I tell him it every other day… but we both constantly mean it… I dunno, I’m just on a post-enlightenment rant here. Great post though. And don’t worry, I cried during yoga for no reason the other day… awkward…

  7. For some reason sometimes I get the feeling your boyfriend isn’t aware of how lucky he is to get to be with you, just sometimes..

  8. Wow, I never thought of taking a step back and thinking about this. Really insightful. I guess should double guess myself when I get fucking mad at someone for not being as blunt about the way they express their feelings.

  9. that woman is fucking fantastic and everything that you wrote was incredibly lovely and insightful, thank you so much for posting this!

  10. It a fine and difficult line to draw between saying ‘i need to accept that my partner will never love me that way i idealize’ and being unsatisfied in a relationship.

  11. A fascinating inspiring woman with a insightful take on relationship. Lots of things to consider here. But as the commenter above says. Yes, one should accept that everyone has different ways of expressing love but how to fit that with getting one needs met….

    Love, Caro xx

    ps A great quote from Carson McCullers that I love:

    “Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love.
    A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll.
    Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.
    It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many.”
    — Carson McCullers, “The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe”

  12. There is an interesting mistake – pointing to the picture of Louise Bourgeois and saying Louise Nevelson. Its great – like she is pointing at both woman with one gesture. Thanks for highlighting the film.

  13. omg this is so amazing Karley your thoughts have been illustrated so beautifully in this I’ve thought the same way too but omg you’ve put this in words so perfectly i cant even

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *