Can You Teach People How to Love?
How many times have you used the word “love” in the past week? Maybe you were referring to someone’s outfit, ending a phone call, or talking to a romantic partner. Did you really mean it? Did you feel it? Did you mean the same thing each time? The overuse of the word “love” is a major problem, said Cambridge-based therapist and relationship expert Kyle Carney in an interview with the HPR. Ending a call with “I love you” is “quite empty,” Carney explained, and yet “we seem to have a focus on it in our culture.” Varying definitions as well as overuse of the word love contribute to Americans’ struggles with romantic relationships. We don’t know how to love, when we are in love, or how love transforms over time. Forty to 50 percent of United States marriages end in divorce, with even higher rates for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th marriages. One in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence. Why are we so bad at something so central to our culture? To solve this challenge, some have proposed a system of love education — teaching Americans, particularly young people, how to love, just as we teach sex education or math.