October 14: did you love him?

I was listening to Radio 5 Live and they were talking about an abusive relationship. A man was violent to a woman, hitting her, shouting at her, locking her up. The interviewer asked: did you love him? The abused woman said yes. And they continued talking. We should probably try and get away from talking about love in this way, as if it were a contamination in no way related to your respect or admiration for a person. I remember when Prince Charles was about to marry Lady Di and he was asked Do you love her? She was standing next to him at the time. He made an infamous response which was much derided at the time. Whatever love means, he said. I suppose it wasn’t very reassuring to his poor bride-to-be standing next to him, but it was a fair enough response to a daft question. One can appreciate that falling in love is a kind of virus that you catch, but to be complacent and satisfied with that state of affairs as an acceptable way of defining love is not useful and, as in the case of the radio programme, doesn’t help us when the infatuation snags on unpleasant behaviour.


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