I’ve always kind of seen myself as someone who loves too much. For example, when I like something- a show, a video game, whatever, I always like it too loudly, or too much at once. I’m always afraid that I’m annoying people.

And thus I arrive at a kind of crossroads. On one hand, I love love. I’m obsessed with the idea of it. There’s nothing I want more in life than to love, and be loved in return. To find a group of people that I enjoy being around, close friends, maybe even someone to date. It all sounds amazing. But on the other hand, I’m terrified of it. Terrified that one day all of these wonderful people I imagine would grow sick of me. Because I was too loud, or kept going on about something they said, about how much I liked the way they said it. And because of that, the whole subject becomes scary. Too scary to talk about.

So, I decided to create a survey. It was actually an idea from someone I was talking to (thank you, by the way). A way I could ask things anonymously, about subjects I was too scared to directly ask anyone. So I could see how other people looked at it.

First, I’ll go over the closed questions. Most people (53.3%) think of romantic love first, when thinking about the concept of love. 33.3% think of generally appreciating life. Familial love and platonic love both only got one vote each (poor sods.)

60% of all survey takers have experienced heartbreak at some point, and most of them were affected by it a lot. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being love being unimportant to them, and 5 very important, most people chose 4. Around 70% of people think their identity influences the way they think about love. And most people think they love an average amount.

The open questions were where it got really interesting. For example, ‘Describe what love is to you’ returned some very sweet answers to me, that made me really happy to read.

Love to me is deeply understanding and appreciating someone, something or each other

It’s when you enjoy spending time with someone (or something), and desire to be with them. It’s being passionate about things and all.

I believe love is a connection between two people that have a great understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of each other.

I particularly liked this one:

i see love as like.. that connection u get when u see someone or something and ur heart like.. drops but in a good way


(...) For me, love is learning to live with some of the less glamorous aspects of an individual’s personality.

Love is a fondness, buried deep inside yourself, for others, for the living or for dead, humans or animals, things or words. Love is passion, love is motivation, love is and takes work. Love is a feeling and like all feeling it is fleeting unless you work with it, keep it alive like a campfire deep in the night. Love is putting in effort, love is taking the next piece of wood and putting it on top of the others, love is communication and giving people room to grow and get better, to improve as people improve around you. Love is love, dude, and that is awesome.

Love is… work, essentially. You have to work on it to sustain it. Love is understanding each other, and helping each other. It’s taking care of someone. It’s learning to live with parts of someone you’d wish were different, but not forcing them to change it, because you decided to love all of them, even the less glamorous bits.

Next was the question: Do you think loving someone can be painful? If so, why? Many of the answers here were, frankly, a bit surprising to me. I suppose it was my own fault, though, since I was a bit too stuck in my own head, what with all the fear of being too much and all. Most answers here went the way of falling out of love,one-sided love, and of long-distance relationships. Love hurting because you weren’t close enough to each other. Couldn’t love each other enough if you couldn’t even look each other in the eyes. Here are some excerpts:

maybe? generally no if its mutual, and to an extent, i think its hard to be in love if it isnt mutual... it can hurt when something ends

It can hurt when something ends. Yeah, that one hurts a bit.

It can be painful when they don't share the same feelings with you.

I don't think love itself is painful, I think the feelings surrounding it are. The feelings of rejection and disappointment in that are painful. Losing someone, no matter in what way, is painful because the person stops reciprocating, without you being able to do the same.

And the next one, which is a bit lengthy, but absolutely worth the read:

Love can be painful because of a lot of the things we do for people. A parent that genuinely loves their child will endure a lot and make a lot of sacrifices for them to provide for them, but that is the baseline responsibility. I don't think that love as a painful thing should be confused with abuse- your companion or lover actively and maliciously, or even neglectfully hurting you is not the same thing. Love can hurt because sometimes I know I've felt pain in my chest with it. Love is a physical thing with chemical reactions (again, this doesn't make it a falsehood, it just means that it's there). So sometimes, I've felt love. I've associated the fears that love brings, the fear of the ones you love being harmed or the fear of them hurting you, with anxiety, which is a physical manifestation of fear. Sometimes that involves physical pain too, like your heart beating too quickly. Pain is weird because a lot of the best moments of my life are accompanied by the worst, so even though it's not a perfectly equivalent exchange, it balances in some ways.

Love physically hurting is something I’ve personally experienced many times. It’s that… burning, in your chest. Wanting to say something but not being able to, because you’re afraid to, or the consequences will be bad, or you just physically can’t.

And the idea that relationships can hurt without being abusive is something I think we all should remember sometimes. Sometimes you just stop clicking with each other. Sometimes you fall out of love, but you miss how it used to be so desperately, that you start scrambling to get everything back the way it used to be. You start forcing things to happen the way they used to, in the hope that it’ll reignite that spark, that fire that used to be between you as you talked, back when you kept one-upping each other with jokes and funny remarks and nothing hurt yet.

Next question: Do you think you can love someone too much? If so, explain why/how. Most people said yes, but again not in the way I was expecting them to. Many people mentioned obsession, getting too wrapped up in someone and hurting them in the process.

I don't think blind adoration is the same thing as loving someone too much.

Loving too much can become a kind of dangerous obsession sometimes, but it could be argued that that is not love anymore

If you love someone too much, your behavior may become destructive, especially if you have attachment issues. Failure to let the other person breathe may create an irreparable rift in your relationship.

Then, there was another one that unexpectedly hit me hard.

when it makes you lose sight of your individual identity, you tie your individual self to another person too much

It reminds me of a lyric in the song ‘Girl Anachronism’ by the Dresden Dolls. It’s a song where the singer sings about being a mistake, about everything that’s wrong about her. ‘There I go again / Pretending to be you / Make-believing / That I have a soul beneath the surface’ she sings. I have a tendency to disconnect with myself. I wouldn’t know how to describe myself if someone asked. Sometimes it’s like when I’m talking to people, I’m just playing a character. Because I don’t know who I really am, and I don’t know how to be that person.

When I love something too much, I get wrapped up in it. I mold myself after the characters I like best, the ones I think people will most appreciate. I’m not sure why I do that. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. Maybe it’s because I know my interests better than I know myself, and it’s comforting to be something. Something real, something meaningful.

I do think you can love somebody too much. Probably when you are constantly thinking about them and/or want to talk to them everyday.

[I think you love someone too much if] If you yourself change too much in order to make the other person happy

I want to thank everyone who took part in the survey. It was very enlightening to me, and I hope everyone enjoyed it. I honestly think I learned some new stuff about people, and I think it will help me in the way I talk to people. Massive thanks to everyone who participated. Love you all to bits.