Q:"You can love someone so much...But you can never love people as much as you can miss them."
will you just... talk about this some?
Sure! This is one of the most-quoted lines from my novel An Abundance of Katherines. Let me begin with some context: Katherines is a novel about a child prodigy named Colin Singleton who has been dumped over and over again by girls named Katherine. Colin is an annoying kid who struggles socially, and he also—like many contemporary teenagers and adults—believes that the most important thing a human being can do is Be In A Romantic Relationship.
Our obsession with romantic (i.e., sexualized) love is really fascinating to me, because I think it is 1. relatively new, and 2. kind of distinctly capitalistic in a bunch of interesting/troubling ways. (Like, I think the romantic love obsession hinges at least partly on us being taught by every advertisement we see that real fulfillment can only be found in a romantic/sexual relationship. Advertisements tell us this because it turns out people are more likely to spend money on items for their sexual partners than for their nonsexual partners, which goes back to like base evolutionary calculations. You also see this behavior in lots of other animals, but right, I am DEFINITELY DIGRESSING.)
So anyway I think one of the byproducts of our obsession with romantic love is that it ends up feeling as if *losing* a romantic partner—the process of missing them—is more intense and powerful than being with a romantic partner, because when you are dating someone, the contemporary culture would have you believe that you are In The Natural State of Things. When that relationship ends, you have been thrown out of Eden and find yourself lacking the one thing that is supposed to make your life worth living, which is of course a far more intense experience than Being In The Natural State of Things.
But this is not the only way to construct romantic love, and in fact you will probably find that no romantic relationship on its own can lead to a fulfilling life and that the vampiric romance novels and Hollywood movies (and to some extent, also the John Green novels) that indicate otherwise are telling you a pleasant and attractive and arguably-corrosive-but-also-arguably-helpful lie.
What Colin must eventually seek is the kind of romantic relationship wherein you love the person more than you will later miss them. (Such relationships do exist. I promise.)
In short, Colin Singleton believed in the validity of that quote in the middle of the novel I wrote about him. But that is not to say that I believe it, or even that the novel believes it by its conclusion.
All that said, novels belong to their readers, so my opinion isn’t that important. If people find something in my stories that they think is true or interesting or helpful, I am always grateful.
tl;dr: Many people (including the character in my novel) think you can never love people as much as you can miss them. I think in the end you can—and must—love others more than you could ever miss them.
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