If you take love at face value, it can seem like the easiest, greatest thing in the world. But love is complicated and scary and confusing. It’s not something that can be summed up in a 90-minute rom-com or put in a box, wrapped up in a pretty, pink bow, or even perfectly described in words — although thousands of poets have tried. From your very first love, to your very last love, to every love in between, love is tricky and messy and, as Gabriel García Márquez wrote in Love in the Time of Cholera , “nothing in the world was more difficult than love.” It can also hurt like hell.
Love is also amazing. So amazing. Not just in how it feels when you’re lucky enough to be in it, but in the biology of it all; how love changes, grows, evolves and, sometimes, even dies. When we think about it, putting aside all love-related clichés, we’re forced to realize just how gorgeous the complexity of love really is, and how fortunate we are to be able to experience it.
But because, realistically, love isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, the quotes that best explain it are the ones that make you pause, reread them, then pause again. Here are 15 quotes about love that will do just that.
1. “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” — Norman Maclean
2. "Love loves to love love." — James Joyce
3. "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” — Pablo Neruda
4. "I don't want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally." — Zelda Fitzgerald
5. “One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
6. “You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” — Jodi Picoult
7. “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” — Margery Williams
8. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” — Stephen Chbosky
9. "I'm not a sentimental person — I'm as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last — the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
10. “We loved with a love that was more than love.” — Edgar Allan Poe
11. “Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.” ― Gabriel García Márquez
12. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” — C.S. Lewis
13. “I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.” — Charles Bukowski
14. “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” — Hafiz of Shiraz
15. “Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.” — Oscar Wilde
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