People of UNF: How do you feel about love?

Nick Malonga, junior, business management. Photo by Lili Weinstein

How do you feel about love? 

I feel like love should be natural, genuine and it should never be forced. It always should be, let me try to put it in words, it should be…

Do you feel like it’s something you can’t put in words?

Yeah! It’s something that can’t be put into words. It’s just something that’s natural. It’s just a God-given thing, you know. I don’t think it should be forced upon us. If you love someone or something, it’s just natural — God-given.

Do you feel like your opinion about love has changed as you’ve aged and maybe gone through heartbreak?

Oh yeah, definitely. Being young, you think at 15, 16, the first girl you meet, you love. But in reality it’s just a phase and as you get older you realize that certain things, certain people… you like them at the moment, but it’s not necessarily love. It’s just luck, if you want to put it like that.

Do you think that love is a one-time thing?

No, I feel like you can feel it in high school. Like I said, it’s kind of like a God-given thing. For instance, you can have a high school sweetheart. I know plenty of people who had one and they ended up being married and are now happy. But when you’re young, it’s so tough to realize what it really is because you haven’t seen much at 17 years old.

Melissa Sivaran and Franki Sturgess, first year grad students, clinical mental health counseling.
Photo by Lili Weinstein

How do you feel about love?

Franki Sturgess: I think for me, romantic love isn’t really on my radar right now. You know, obviously there’s love for friends, love for family, and that’s pretty pervasive. But when it comes to the whole Valentine’s Day, romantic love… I’m not really big about it right now. I have so much on my plate that I honestly forgot Valentine’s Day was coming up.

Melissa Sivaran: I did too!

Sturgess: My boss mentioned it yesterday and I was like “Oh, okay.” I don’t know that I have an opinion on it. It’s just kind of this thing that’s there that I’m not really participating in right now.

Sivaran: I’m very cynical and I’m about to show that and I apologize — but I don’t know, I associate love with pain, especially romantic love, so it’s not something that I’m interested in. It’s definitely something that I’ve pushed away and I don’t want it. And Valentine’s Day — actually the way I’m planning on spending Valentine’s Day — I always end up spending it with a girlfriend or two, because those are the people that matter to me, we have Galentine’s Day. I don’t know if it’s our generation, but I just find love very hard. I don’t understand it, I don’t see the pleasure in it, within my 28 years of life I haven’t found any good love, so.

Sturgess: I think being genuine is hard for our age group, especially right now.

Have your opinions on it changed as you aged?

Sivaran: Yes, yes it definitely has. Through experiences and you know, I’ve dated probably a normal amount of people and it just gets worse and worse [laughs]. I’ve just given up on it. And I’m okay with that! I’m not sitting at home crying that I’m lonely. I have a very full and happy life. Love isn’t part of it right now and I’m alright with that.

Do you think that romantic and platonic love are on the same level?

Sivaran: I definitely treat them differently and I’m sure that has to do with social learning. But they might work better if they were treated the same, because I love my friends and I have fantastic friendships but romantic love, I haven’t been so lucky with.

Sturgess: I feel like it kind of works one way but not the other. So I mean, I hope to be — if I’m in love with someone, they’re my friend. But at the same time, I’m not in love with all of my friends.  But I feel like I love them as much in a different way. I have friends that I grew up with. I grew up an only child so my friends were kind of my family group. So when I think of the love between friendships, I think of the love between family. Whereas with romantic love, it almost feels more fleeting, so I don’t invest as much as I do my friendships. At least not right now. I’d like to think that’ll change at some point.

Sivaran: I mean, yeah. I’m still hopeful, which is interesting, because…I don’t know. I guess there’s still a part of me that wants to fall in love someday.

Sturgess: We’re designed to seek mates, but that’s getting into evolutionary shit.

Sivaran: Right! But I can feel that little evolution in my brain like, “You still want this, Melissa,” and I’m like “No I don’t!” and then, “Yes you do!”

Marvin Williams, junior, sport management and Elizabeth Solon, junior, communication.
Photo by Lili Weinstein

Do you think there’s a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone? 

Williams: I definitely think there’s a difference. Being “in love” with someone I feel like you automatically… it’s hard to put it in words, but I know what I want to say. I’m trying to wrap my head around [it] exactly. I feel like when you love someone, you care for them. However, when you’re in love with someone, you care for them plus more. You go that extra step because they’re that special someone. You got 100 people you can love, but you can only be in love with one person, because it takes extra attention and different factors tie in to be in love with them.

Do you agree?

Solon: I do agree. I think when you’re in love with someone you just reach a level of intimacy where it just becomes unconditional, and you’d do anything for that person is what you’re supposed to do when you’re in love. It’s a commitment, it’s an investment, and it’s a lot. Like, I have love for Marvin, I do, I care for him and we can chill and all that, but being in love—

Williams: Not yet.

Do you think you fall in love or are you in love at the start and then you just start realizing it?

Solon: I guess it depends in every situation. I think you can fall in love. I don’t know if it’s falling or if it’s growing, realizing how much you really feel for this person and how much you are willing to do for this person.

Williams: I think initially, you find one thing that catches your attention and it’ll drive you to find out if you’re in love with someone but I don’t think you can instantly say, “Oh hey, I’m in love with this person.” I feel like that’s something you learn over time. To be in love with somebody, it’s not something [where] you can look at them and be in love with the way they look, but you’re not in love with them.

Solon: Yeah, you don’t fully know the person yet.

How do you feel about love in a general sense?

Solon: I think love is everything. I think we’re put in this world or the reason why we’re in this world is to love. If you’re not loving, you’re not living. If there’s hate, I don’t know. Just look at what hate causes. Our purpose for being here is to love each other. If you can’t do that, shoot, you’re missing life.

Williams: I agree, I’m really big on love. I’d rather show love in a situation than show bitterness or hate in a situation. There’s not enough love.

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