Love’s Lies

Posted on June 1, 2011


“I love you.” The ultimate declaration. Unfortunately, it is used perhaps as much for the Biggest Lie. I love you, I don’t want to lose you, which I almost certainly will if you find out I _______ your (sister, brother, BFF, whomever.) So, yes, I love you. Now, pay no attention to that person behind the curtain. Nothing to see here, move on, everybody.

This kind of lie is among the worse sort of lies. You know you are lying, and there’s a fair chance your love knows it, too. But you say it, more likely than not many times. And your love says it back, if they think you are lying, but are not yet prepared to take decisive action, or are merely curious to see how deep you will dig that hole.  Roland Barthes, that great master of language and meaning, wrote Lover’s Discourse, in which he excavates the myriad dimensions of what we say to each other when under the spell of that potent narcotic, love. And you might be surprised (not, however, if you’ve been honest with yourself,) to see just how far we are prone to twisting these three simple words into shapes most arcane, dark, and stinky.

“I love you” can also be a smoke screen – if I say this to you, I will buy some time to make a better determination if (you are the one for me,) or (I can’t do better,) or many other variations. Love is not one of those things you can get at a discount, and if that’s what you are trying to get, well, at best, you end up with a cheap knock-off, and at worst, a disaster movie of your own making.

Lesson on this? Never use something that is held by most other humans as among the more serious things to say to another as the lie you choose to control that very thing. It will never turn out well.