The 4 Worst Things About Being in Love

#2. When It's Too Much

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Being socially retarded is interesting insofar as you get to learn fun new things that other people are never aware of because they never engage in the same sort of retardation you engage in because obviously they'd never think of such dumb things. But you would, ya weirdo.

I can't say for sure that most people will experience this or if it's just reserved for a special subset of people, but there's definitely something to be said for being too open and too much into other people. Your friends probably never want to think you'll show up in their room at midnight smiling with a human-skin suit on. But if you decide to open up and express a real joy at being with others, especially those you're not in a cult or regularly having nude hot tub fun with, you'll slowly begin to realize that you're creeping the shit out of everyone. No one likes a guy who tells them he loves them unless it's in the confines of a serious buddy-cop moment, a death scene, or a drunken, shame-filled blather session.

Most of you probably agree that there's no good reason to express love for your friends out of the blue, because who does that? Especially if it's two straight dudes, because we still live in a society where that's considered weird and, let's be honest, sometimes it is weird. Most times. We're not Eloi here, no need to go around holding hands and smelling snapdragons.

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"Your skin is so soft."

If you foolishly decide that you need to let your group of friends know how you feel about them in just totally unbridled, heart-on-your-sleeve terms, I invite you to not be surprised if they react in the same way people react when they see an animal dying on the side of the road. There's an underlying sense of compassion, but mostly revulsion-based fear, and you can be damn sure no one wants to poke you.

Every relationship has boundaries, and it's best to learn what those are before making a ginormous fool of yourself. But on the other hand, there's something to be said for at least having a willingness to be that guy or girl who doesn't let fear castrate them and just say what you feel when you feel it, unrestrained, unbidden, and unfiltered. I tried it once. It didn't work out. I'm not bitter, though. Not at all. Be my friend?

#1. When It Never Existed

When is love not love? I bet some asshole of a poem or Bon Jovi song contains that line, and whatever line follows it is so sappy and douchey that for me to write it here would make you literally shit saccharine kittens onto your sofa and/or computer chair and that, my friend, would probably tear your perineum. That said, the question is valid when you're dealing with something that, when analyzed, couldn't be less like love if it came with a flesh-rending chainsaw and was directed by Tyler Perry, which is to say something no one may ever love.

This differs from unrequited love in that, with unrequited love, at least the sane sort, one of you still has real feelings. In this situation, no one really gives a flying fuck about anyone else. This is your Tyler Durden/Marla Singer Fight Club relationship based on things like mutual disgust, antagonism, the desire to use or be used, and exploitation. Magical, right? Probably lust plays a big part in this, too. It's arguably where society constructed the idea of friends with benefits, a social contract that allows for us to be OK using each other for fun without actually giving much of a damn about the other person. Like, sure, if I see you on fire, I'll toss a jug of water on you and dial 911, but like ... I'm probably too busy to visit you in the hospital because I just got Injustice for Xbox and it's really taking up a lot of my time.

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"I'll do my duty to that booty when you're out of ICU."

Some people call these kinds of relationships toxic, but that always makes me think of that Britney Spears song and is therefore a bad use of language. And they don't need to be as bad as all that anyway; it's not like you need to be slapping each other while you mainline household cleaners and have butter-lubed sex in an alley to really hit home the notion that you don't really care about each other. A lot of times it's a much more mild form of exploitation, a kind of parasitic relationship where you get something (usually sex) and never seek to actively harm or degrade the other person, unless they're into that. A good way to tell if that's the kind of relationship you have, however, is to ponder how likely it is that you'd introduce that person to friends, or just go to see a movie with them. Because you so wouldn't. Unless it's like a weird moviesploitation friend, like someone who owns a theater and that's actually how you use them because they keep inviting you to see new releases. That would be kind of awesome. If anyone wants to be my movie friend and pay for me to see movies, send me a message.

What makes this particular scenario awful? If it ever changes in any way at all. And it will. If you have a hump buddy who is cool with being a hump buddy and never even makes the slightest hint that they want the nature of that relationship to change, hold on to them like grim death for as long as you're both mutually satisfied because you just found a sexual unicorn. For everyone else in the history of ever, this breaks down when one of you and your breezy, disinterested ways finally get on the other's nerves and they want to talk about feelings or do yoga together or some godawful thing that you never signed up for and you, emotionally uninvested as you are, will say something less than compassionate, like "Can't we just do it in the butt?" and that'll be the end of that right there. If you have any humanity installed and you start to realize you're playing with someone else's feelings, you'll start getting that dull ache in your guts that says it's time to move on or forever face sitcom-style hijinks and/or emotional trauma.

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Felix Clay

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