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By: Mitali Chaudhary

Why does love feel like literally being stabbed by cupid’s arrow? Be it a bout of infatuation or a full-blown deep and passionate promise, at every step of the game, love seems to hurt just as much as it brings joy. To make things even more complicated, there isn’t just one type of pain that it causes. Instead, we get to experience an impressive range of conflicting feelings that are difficult to name, much less describe. But for all the lovers out there, we have made an effort.

Let’s start with the one the makes you feel the most insane: infatuation. This is essentially when you’re crushing hard on someone you often don’t know quite that well. Maybe they are in one of your classes. A popular activity in this phase is the social media, shall we say, “reconnaissance work.” During your research, you come across a picture of your object of affection with a (attractive) friend that suddenly makes you feel hurt. This is an interesting mix of about 78 percent cold, hard, green jealousy, ten percent indignation, ten percent hurt and two percent guilt (you stalker). “How dare they?” you might ask yourself, until you realize that they are human beings allowed to have friends and that they are not in a relationship with you.

Now let’s fast forward to when you and your darling are dating, and you think you might actually be in love. When you’re together, you’re over the moon, you have stars in your eyes and all that mushy stuff. You’re so happy that it hurts. There it is again, but this time it’s a faint pain at the back of your ribcage. Yes you’re both here, yes you’re having the greatest time, but that just makes you think more and more that you can’t live without them. Which is equally amazing and terrifying: are they the one? This pain is a strange one, as it’s 80 percent a feeling of being overwhelmed (in the best way possible), ten percent fearful and ten percent trusting. It’s pretty messed up.

Of course, it’s all roses and pink stuff when your love is right there, but when they have to go home to get some work done on their assignment (which you have to work on too, by the way, but you’ve been ignoring it because OMG IN LOVE), you feel pained once more. This pain is actually the most famous of all the love-pains: even Shakespeare thought to comment on it, as he penned, “Parting is such a sweet sorrow.” This ache is more of a piercing sadness, with about 64 percent abandonment, 20 percent grief, 12 percent powerlessness and four percent embarrassment (because you know that you’ll be seeing them the next day). This is amplified approximately 300 times when you’re in a long distance relationship.

Unfortunately, this analysis does nothing to demystify the complexities of and connections between pain and love. But it’s amazing to think that the strange and deep feelings this relationship creates has inspired thousands of years of human art and literature. These, undoubtedly, are reassurances to those suffering from love that they are not alone, and are, in fact, not insane.

Photo Credit: Stephen Phillips

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