Watch for danger signs in the City of Love

What is wrong with this time of year? Is it the wintertime blues, a campus-wide relationship crisis or is it just a coincidence? Almost everyone I know is suffering from relationship problems: they’re either going through a breakup, suffering from a recent breakup or expecting to break up very shortly. Ironically, although I have remained single and managed to protect myself from love’s wrath and fury, most of my friends and acquaintances have chosen me to confide in. Although I don’t consider myself the most sympathetic of listeners, I am hopelessly forced to analyze these sticky love situations from all different angles and perspectives.
Yet despite the ridicule I hold toward most relationships, and despite the fact that some friends have magnified their small woes into catastrophic proportions, the people I know seem to be truly suffering from broken or bruised hearts. Based on my unique vantage point into these various troubled relationships, I have made a few observations and conclusions regarding love and the problems surrounding it.
Lack of foresight has been the cause of more broken and miserable relationships than any other problem I can think of. Every lovesick moron enters a relationship looking everywhere — sideways, up, down and backwards — but entirely forgetting to look forward! I trust that most people would rate emotional health above physical health, yet they so carelessly toss around their feelings and maximize their vulnerability.
Anyone who dared walk around backwards in a busy city would be immediately judged as being crazy, to say the least. Yet that’s exactly what most people in relationships seem to do! Boyfriends and girlfriends rarely consider the consequences or the futures of their relationships, let alone the remote possibility of a breakup. They would cry, “Break up?! But we LOVE each other!” That pathetic excuse justifies absolutely nothing. Every relationship has problems, and refusing to look at them or even to consider their existence is equally as stupid as trying to cross a street with your eyes closed. Just because you can’t see the dangers does not necessarily mean they don’t exist. It’s unbelievably frustrating to see so many oblivious couples blissfully strolling backwards through the City of Love, hand-in-hand, and then having one or both partners flattened by a semi, leaving only a dripping blob of vulnerable and insecure emotions on the pavement. The road kill in the City of Love would put any U.S. highway to shame.
Unfortunately, our society seems to encourage this careless and thoughtless behavior. Throughout our lives, we come into daily contact with dangerous, harmful substances that have warnings, caution labels and precise directions on how to handle them. Windex, toilet cleaners and dorm food all come to mind. In the professional world, chemists, construction workers and repairmen all have specific safety procedures to follow in their work, with plenty of manuals to teach them every detail. Yet in the one area where you can truly and terribly harm yourself and possibly your significant other — namely, in the realm of love and relationships — absolutely NO warning labels or precautionary rules exist! In fact, it’s just the opposite. Society practically pushes people into that dangerous territory and shamelessly encourages emotional suicide. Every screen writer, playwright, lyricist, poet, author, peer and idiot encourages and pressures others to experience the “joys of love.” They idealize love, describing its effects in golden, glowing terms. Excuse me for bursting your bubble, but in case you haven’t noticed, we are NOT living in a Tennyson idyll, and sometimes it is NOT better “to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Wake up to the tears, heartache and regret.
Please, if you are considering entering a relationship, take a long and soulful look in a direction other than into your lover’s eyes. Consider the future, weigh the pros against the cons and travel through the City of Love with as much foresight and care as you would through downtown New York. Love can hurt you and destroy your emotional well-being. Love is a sword with two points and no handle that can stab your lover’s heart and your own equally well. Treat it with the same respect and caution that you would handle cyanide or a loaded weapon; it can be just as deadly. Although I may sound cynical and bitter, if you follow all the precautions and are as aware of your emotional surroundings as you are of your physical surroundings, I believe that you have the chance of surviving your journey to eventually discover and enjoy the true fruits of love.
Samantha Pace is a sophomore majoring in philosophy and pre-med.