I wrote the following on January 23. I felt it was a bit too personal to post, but it’s V-day, and tomorrow I’m heading to a Valloween party (costume, horror theme), and my husband is far away, so here I am, posting it. Happy V Day!

Thinking about love, mono

Matt said to me this morning (his evening) that he was feeling a bit deflated, unmotivated at work, slightly burned out. And all because I wasn’t there.

I knew exactly what he meant.

When he left for home in Stockholm a few weeks ago, I felt a bit unmoored. I don’t need this man in my life to survive, but I burst into tears on my commute last week after we talked, I missed him so much. (I actually had to stop on the sidewalk and just let it rip.) I am sure Matt feels somewhat the same (sans tears): something is missing.


Are we as humans, animal creatures, programmed to miss our mates the same way a swan might, or a she-wolf misses her mates, or … ?

I have to plead mea culpa here and ask for forgiveness for some of my friends. Being single can really suck. Social gatherings in our American society are built for couples and families; since I’ve been here in Boulder, I have felt quite solo in gatherings of couples and married friends, often with children. Yes, LK and DK, I am talking to you: I owe you an apology. Good lord, it’s hard to cook for one person. You can say you will eat the leftovers, but really, how many times do you want to eat chicken cacciatore? And how often can you have pasta for one?

I miss Matt in part, of course, because of the everyday: it’s nice to have someone around to do things with. But also because it’s nice to have someone to make plans with, and not just immediate plans for what to eat for supper, but for the future. I suspect this is part of our malaise: Were we not attached to each other, we would be making our own plans, living our own lives.

My analysis sounds harsh, but I’m not saying it’s not a good thing: It’s lovely to need someone, and to be needed.

I’ve been reading (or avoiding reading) an enormous-seeming number of articles of late on the mental and physical health benefits of having a partner. But I suspect it could go another way if our society were more open to individuals “flying solo.”

Paradoxically, I am flying solo at the moment, and I suspect that’s good for my relationship: I am having an adventure and bringing home stories and new experiences to share, as Matt has his own space to do his thing. We have the distance to miss each other.

I’m trying to remember that in the midst of missing him so much my eyes hurt.


It occurs to me, as I sit here listening to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald singing love songs, that we have certainly glorified love – but we don’t quite understand it, I think. How could we? Is it different for everyone? Aren’t there different kinds of love? Parental, spousal, momentary flashes for friends or lovers …

There’s a song called “Just One of Those Things” that lists all the great momentary loves, flashes in the pan that all ended poorly: Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet … we look to these failed mythical relationships for myths of fidelity and romance. We spend a lot of energy contemplating love and fidelity — and infidelity. (The Economist recently revived the “cads, dads and other for women” trope. Fun! Just in time for Valentine’s!)

And so, with Ella again in my ears, singing “What is this thing called love?“, I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day, or as they call it in Swedish: Alla Hjärtans Dag (All Hearts’ Day). Go for a walk or get some kind of exercise today, eat more healthy fats, drink red wine if you like it (and aren’t AA), and take care of your heart, and don’t forget to give your loved ones a hug and thought to those whose loved ones are far away… !

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One Response to Love/Kärlek

  1. Laura says:

    Very nicely written. At our core we are pack animals with connections to other individuals of varying intensity. Check out It’s dated from the perspective of the young, but timeless to those of us who hear bits of truth about humans and human relating. Love ya.

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