On insta-love

Greetings, greetings, one and all. This is a bit of a weird one, bear with me though because I think it’s worth reading. (Well, would, I am the one writing it.)

Insta-love. Not the kind you show on instagram by liking as many of someone’s photos as is humanly possible in one sitting (though, that can be good) but the kind you see in books and movies. Often hailed as unrealistic and annoying and a plot-ruiner.

Well, I have a confession to make on that front.

It’s not that unrealistic. (Controversial?) Sure, if it’s terribly written or portrayed and you’re getting no feeling from either character, I can understand it ruining everything. But as a thing, on the whole, it’s not that bad. Love is weird and it’s different for everyone. This is common knowledge. A love being different to the love I experience, doesn’t make that love invalid and I would never dream of saying it does so why do we assume insta-love isn’t a thing?

Why am I writing about this? Why am I defending insta-love? Well, quite simply, because I feel it myself. Perhaps not full-blown cherubs-with-trumpets-I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you-immediately love but it’s very fast.

Context: I met my boyfriend through online dating, we spoke for maybe a week before we met each other in person. We spent a day together and before he went home, I ended up deciding ‘Yup, this is the person I want to be with.’ (If we’re being completely honest, I decided that about an hour into the day.) He agreed. And so we officially became a thing. I didn’t need a second date to know that he was who I wanted, or that a relationship with him was both what I wanted and right for me at the time. Over a year and a half later, and here we still are, living together harmoniously in a little flat on the top of a hill.

I can’t ‘date’. I don’t see the point in devoting time to someone I don’t see or want a future with. If I decide to be with someone it’s because I’m in it for the long-haul from day one. When I was doing the online dating thing, if I felt a strong connection with someone (like my other half) I would cease talking to anyone else on that platform until I had confirmed whether it was something both of us wanted to pursue.

I feel very quickly and very deeply – I felt strong feelings for my other half before we even met. I am exactly the kind of character that gets complained about for being unrealistic but does my existence not make all of those claims a little bit false? Sure, it might be annoying as hell, and it might be difficult to understand if it’s not something you go through, but it’s very much a real thing.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, it hurts when it goes wrong – especially when it goes wrong after a short period of time and the people around you can’t quite understand why you’re so upset about it. That side of things, I think, needs to be explored more. I’m all for happy, wonderful love stories but I’m also all for raw, emotional, painful, not-quite love stories.

A lot of the complaints about it come from young adult fiction, and TV shows and films aimed at teenagers but it’s very much something that teenagers go through. I had so many dramatic unrequited teenage crushes and my teenage relationship(s), other than being a train-wreck, were very much that immediate, sickly sweet kind and so were many of the other teen relationships going on around me. What’s important, I think, is that books/films/shows that deal in insta-love should also deal with how to react healthily to it ending. There are so few stories that I know of that can be used as an example of a healthy way of dealing with a break-up, if you know any, do share them.

Is it just me? Am I the only person on this planet who gets insta-love and doesn’t revile it on principle? Am I speaking into the void?

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20 thoughts on “On insta-love

  1. I be an insta-love hater in books and movies. I also hated insta-love displayed by me fellow human beings growing up. The first mate and I have had this very debate. When I rant about another (mostly teen) experience of insta-love that I am readin’ about, his question be something like “just because ye didn’t experience a feeling like that, does it make another person’s experience of something less valid?” Yes I knew people who were in love that quickly. I chalked it up, even back then, to them being young and stupid. I would call it insta-lust. The first mate, even then, gave them the benefit of the doubt that their feelings were real. I too never believed in dating someone just to date if I didn’t see long term possibilities. People thought I was nuts. Date for fun they said. Bah! I too met the first mate and knew quickly, like in an hour, that he was meant to sail the seas with me forever (though we spoke often before that). So I guess what this rant is saying is that I have learned to be a little less harsh on insta-love as a plot point. Now I would love to see some real world consequences when insta-love when things don’t work out. Thanks fer yer perspective matey!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re my favourite, cap’n.

      I would also love to see the real-world consequences addressed – I don’t want happy every afters all the time. I want things to go horrifically wrong and I want to see the protagonists put their lives back together, I want to see how they do that. :)

      Thank you for reading, and adding your voice!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I first saw my husband I was in grade 8. I went to a battle of the bands, he was on stage playing guitar, and I took one look at him and knew I had to marry him. I was in grade 8!! Who does that?! I saw him again a year later and once again was struck with a feeling that he had to be mine. 19 years later we are still together. We officially became a couple just after my 16th birthday. So I totally understand insta-love. But for the most part I hate reading it! LOL Doesn’t make any sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe you just don’t want to read something that skirts too close to your own experience? That could explain it!

      So long as it’s well-written, I am pretty sure I enjoy all types of book-love. I don’t remember absolutely hating any kind of love I’ve read anyway.

      Like

  3. Hi, this is an interesting post, and i wonder if you could define insta-love? Just because it is a term I am not familiar with. I am grasping that it is simply teenage love, or young love? And if so, I agree with you- this can be so very real! It might have a massive physical component, i.e. love at first site or just falling head over heels for someone on first meet up, but those things are definitely forms of love. As you say, love is weird! And i think it has different strains and forms. I remember being in school and being desperately in love with boys, these feelings are real and so very strong- I’m not sure how you can really dispute or undermine that. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Insta-love is like the kind of love where you see someone and you just feel for them instantaneously and quite unexplainably there’s a connection there – a deep one. It’s used in a lot of young adult books, where a brooding boy appears out of nowhere and suddenly the protagonist is head over heels for them. It’s that kind of young immediacy.

      I’ve seen a lot of posts recently that call it unrealistic and annoying – I get that it can be annoying, and it can be over the top but it’s definitely not unrealistic. Calling it unrealistic, I think, invalidates so many teen experiences, or even adult experiences in my case. I worry that it might be harmful to not acknowledge that it is actually a real thing.

      Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s cool it’s interesting, and I definitely remember experiencing this when I was a teenager. I feel head over heels in love with a guy after two meetings, and was literally besotted, like nothing would ever have been able to alter those feelings.. and this actually ended up being destructive.. but I guess that is another story! I think when you are young there is a much greater sense of possibility, and in your youth, you embrace those intense feelings rather than pushing them away as being unrealistic and unsubstantiated. As an adult, your ego is developed enough to push these strong feelings away for being irrational, but I think teenagers embrace them. If I ever meet a person today, who I fancied and kind of fell for in a moment, I’d laugh at myself for my romanticism or my girly fancies.. but that doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t real and significant. In fact, as an artist and a writer I think those strong feelings are some of the most important.. though I do see the point people make about every YA book having the same paradigm. That’s fine, is really interesting to chat!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. haha no you’re not alone- I’m very much an “instalove” type of person too! I think that’s part of why I revile it in books (cos sometimes it reminds me of my own mistakes lol) But sometimes I think instalove can actually work- what bothers me is usually the way it’s written- instead of writers having people meet, indicating their attraction and their growing feelings for each other, a lot of books go something like this: “Hi, nice to meet you” “Oh my god- nice to meet you too- I think I might love you” “Oh wow- I love you too- this is destiny! Hang on a sec while the author finds a reason that the cosmos has made us destined to be together…” It just comes across as very farcical. And usually the reason why I have a problem with it is the author hasn’t shown them fall in love at all- they’ve just described them physically and had them express love for each other. I will also say there are a lot of times in literature where it really works (Romeo and Juliet is case and point). Like you said, it is realistic for certain people- I just usually have a problem with the way it’s written. Anyway, I’m rambling- I hope you have an amazing time with your new boyfriend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. He’s not really a new boyfriend :P We’ve been together for… a year and seven months now. But thank you, I shall and I do. He’s doing my laundry for me today because he is a gem (and because he is at home and I am at work).

      I agree that poorly executed insta-love is terrible. I am definitely not here for that. I do think that authors who lean on it need to explore it properly and thoughtfully, and that can definitely be difficult especially if you’re trying to convince readers who’ve never experienced it.

      Rambling is wonderful. Continue to ramble! :P

      Liked by 2 people

    1. To clarify: did you write a couple insta-loving, write about insta-loving or write about the fact that you can’t? Whichever you meant, I think it’s cool that it had that affect on you. :)

      So long as it’s healthy love, it’s good love. :)

      Liked by 1 person

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