Making a Place in Your Heart for Someone Who is not Going to Stay

At Inverted-A Press, we are gearing up, slowly but surely, for the publication of John Wheatcroft’s The Portrait of a Lover. The current projected release date is in December of this year. The interior typesetting is done, but we are still tinkering with the cover.

Immersed as I have been with reading and re-reading The Portrait of a Lover, I have been unusually receptive to messages that touch on the subject matter of the book. So the other day, when I spotted this motto on Facebook, it gave me reason to pause: “Before you make a place in your heart for someone, make sure he is going to stay.” I can’t swear that those are the exact words, because these Facebook platitudes drift by so fast and are soon replaced by something else. One moment it is self-empowerment, and the next it is something about puppy mills. But it was something like this.

The implication is that unless you are pretty sure your love is going to be reciprocated, you shouldn’t bother to love. And perhaps not just momentary reciprocation is required. Perhaps it’s an actual commitment.

This is the social view of love: that it isn’t love, unless there is a relationship. It is the conventional view sanctioned by society: that love is a two-sided contract, which, until it is signed and sealed, can be rescinded.

But for some of us, love is not social. It is not a contract. And it cannot be taken back. Love is an emotion, which once it has us in its grip, never releases. Or if it does release us, it can be after decades of unremitting pleasure and pain. Love is torture. Love is elation. And we suffer through it all alone.

The limerent state, for this kind of love is nothing less than limerence, is not a universal condition. Not everyone falls prey to it. Not everyone can understand that the place in our heart is usurped against our will, and without our consent, and that the transaction is not negotiable.

The Portrait of a Lover by John Wheatcroft is the story of one such love. Never consummated, and hardly acknowledged by its object, it is a love that lasts a lifetime.

Look for The Portrait of a Lover on Amazon this December.

© 2o11 Aya Katz

Other Books by John Wheatcroft


About Aya Katz

Aya Katz is the administrator of Pubwages. When she is not busy administering, she sometimes also writes posts like a regular user.
This entry was posted in Books and Authors, Opinion Pieces and Editorials, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Making a Place in Your Heart for Someone Who is not Going to Stay

  1. Katie says:

    Oh My Dearest Aya,

    You know me I ‘m a free spirited lover. I feel we are love, everything good is love and adore so many diverse details about each diverse individual. I live by love and bother not to consider the depths, certainty or commitment. Love can last a moment and it is that moment I never intend to pass up, walk by ignoring the opportunity for withdrawn fear. It’s sad for people to close themselves off to such limited love when love is everywhere, in everyone and in every moment if were only open to it big small or fleeting. I’m excited about your work, while I realize everyone can’t be like me, I hope everyone can take a deep breath forget about the past and love each and everything and body that catches their eye.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Aya Katz says:

      Katie, thanks! You always bring a fresh perspective on everything. There are many different kinds of love, and even the momentary ones have something to offer.

  2. Assi Degani says:

    Dear Aya,
    In my visit to the Staes in 2002 I saw Dorothy Tennov’s book about limerence in your library, and it attracted my eye. I know very well the feeling, but had never heard of nor used a professional/psychological term to define it. Surely it is a feeling aroused within us when we “fall in love”, and it is not dependent on requital.

    • Aya Katz says:

      Thanks, Assi. Yes, the book by Dorothy Tennov still has a special place in my library. Limerence is there in the feeling of falling in love, but it can persist a long, long time, so it’s not just an incipient condition, as the word “falling” might imply. I agree that this kind of love is not dependent on requital.

      • Assi Degani says:

        Yes, one can “fall in love” and stay in that condition for years. Especially when a couple separates, the one who was abandoned can suffer and long for years, hardly forgetting his mate.

        • Aya Katz says:

          Assi, your comment about the abandoned one after a separation reminds me of this verse from Shelley’s “When the Lamp is Shattered”:

          When hearts have once mingled,
          Love first leaves the well-built nest;
          The weak one is singled
          To endure what it once possessed.
          O Love! who bewailest
          The frailty of all things here,
          Why choose you the frailest
          For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

          This is an example of limerence, but it is not the starkest example. It is even more startling when a love endures which has never been voiced, much less consummated, as in Wheatcroft’s new book.

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