What is love (baby don't hurt me)? It's a tough question to answer and people have been asking it since the dawn of civilisation. Perhaps the best way to identify love is to learn what it's not. This beyond-hokey instructional video from 1950 actually helps draw a clearer line between love and infatuation.
In this week's episode, we're talking about heartbreak. How do you know when your heart is broken? What can you do about it? And how do you help the heartbroken people in your life? Our expert guest is Guy Winch, noted TED speaker and author of the forthcoming book How to Fix a Broken Heart.
The film, from Coronet Instructional Films, and published on the Old TV Time YouTube channel, follows a teenage couple, Nora and Jack, who are both trying to figure out if they love each other (warning: gratuitous old-fashioned sexism). Jack is quick to the punch, saying he loves her after dating for two months, but Nora isn't so sure.
So, they both go home and ask for guidance. Nora asks her wise mother how she's supposed to know if she's in love, and Jack talks to his older, more experienced brother Bob, who's quick to criticise him for rushing into things:
"You young punks go to the movies a couple of times, do a little necking, and you think you're in love. Ha!"
As the very corny story unfolds, you learn some important lessons, like:
- Most people fall in love more than once in their lives.
- Beauty isn't the only thing that matters.
- Love isn't like what you see in the movies.
- Your capacity for love grows and develops the same way you grow and develop.
- There are different kinds of love — love for your parents, love for your things (like a child who loves a teddy bear), love for friends, and mature, romantic love.
- Everyone has crushes on classmates, sports stars, movie stars, teachers, and whatnot, but it's not the same as being in love.
- Infatuation, or "puppy love," is an important stepping stone in learning how to love and be loved, but it's not the same as truly loving someone.
- The physical side of love can dominate a relationship and often be mistaken for mature love, but when the infatuation fades there's often no common ground left to stand on.
- Mature love, or true love, may have elements of all the other kinds of love in it, but it's something more. Nora's mother says it's "Tender, unselfish, cooperative..."
If you've been on the dating scene for what feels like forever and you're starting to feel frustrated and disillusioned with it all, it might be time to take a step back and do a little re-calibrating. We project how we feel to others; people can sense your negative outlook from a mile away, which ruins any chance of things working out. It seems counter-intuitive, but the more you act like things are never going to work out, the longer you'll probably be alone.
If you're not sure about someone you're dating, explains Nora's mother, you can always ask yourself some questions, like:
- Are we really interested in the same things?
- Do we feel at ease together?
- Are we proud of each other?
- Do we agree on the basic things, such as religion, marriage, children, money, and so on?
Nora asks herself these questions while she and Jack have a double date with Bob and his girlfriend. Over the course of their date, Nora realises that while Jack is fun to spend time with, she doesn't quite love him the mature way she wants to yet. That doesn't mean things have to end for Nora and Jack, though! They're still having a good time, so they decide to hold off on the love talk and see what happens. And that's a great lesson everybody should learn.