By Tin Bartolome

Posted at Feb 14 2015 02:59 AM | Updated as of Feb 14 2015 10:59 AM

‘Tis the season to be cheesy, so here goes…

After decades of living and loving and of listening to others who have loved and lost, I have come to realize that love never dies a swift death. True love does not vanish in an instant. Little acts or omissions kill it off slowly.

True Love

Sometimes, we mistake infatuation for love. When hormones are raging, we can mistake lust for love. There are also times when we hang on to relationships thinking we’re in love when all we really want is just a relationship—any relationship. When we give up easily, when we are not willing to go the extra mile, when “I” does not become “WE”, there’s a big chance it’s not love.

That said, we have a clearer picture of what it is that dies a slow death. True romantic love is also Divine, as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.). Something like this doesn’t happen too often in a lifetime.

A Feeling

True love may be tough and persevering, but it needs nurturing to stay that way. Hurtful words and acts said and done, damage it as much as neglect does. Obviously, it’s not a one-way thing. It has to be reciprocated. And one needs to know how to reach out and communicate the feeling effectively.

In the reprise of “I am sixteen going on seventeen” where Maria duets with Liesl (The Sound of Music), Oscar Hammerstein explains this well: “A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it - A song's not a song 'til you sing it - Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay - Love isn't love 'til you give it away!”

Love remains a feeling if it is not conveyed to the loved one. Unrequited love is affection that was not nurtured and therefore wilts and dies. Possessive love smothers and kills slowly as well.

An Addiction

Why does it take time for true love to fade? Perhaps it’s because that point at which there is pain even at the slightest touch must first be reached before one realizes that it’s time to give up. Maybe because there’s this notion that there is a good reason behind the loved one’s every hurtful word or deed—or omission. Often, it takes so long before we even realize or admit we are hurt!

When in love, one is always hopeful and positive. That giddy, happy feeling one has when in love comes from oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Psychologist Abigail Marsh from Georgetown University says people we love cause the release of oxytocin, in turn triggering the release of dopamine, thereby creating the feeling that is translated by the brain as rewarding.

She says when one is in love, the same brain chemicals, pathways and structures are at play as when high on cocaine, so that one can be addicted to love the way one can get hooked on drugs. She explains that like addiction to substances, being in love can cause addiction to a person: “being obsessed with thinking of that person all the time and the capacity for risk-taking to get to that person” which may be the reason why break-ups can be painful.

I’d like to think that because being high on drugs may make one feel good—or at least block off pain, the same is true when one is in love. And just as it is so difficult to overcome such an addiction, it also takes so much for love to fade away.

Happy Valentine, everyone!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.