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Love Lessons From the Trenches

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| July 14, 2022

Explore our anonymous love narratives to see what it means to love and be loved.

“Love” is easy to spell and not hard to define. Yet it could be one of the most loaded words in the English language. How we interpret love and how we love are impacted by our life experiences, worldviews, environments and more.

Love is different for everyone. Yet it’s also a shared human experience. So what does it mean to love and be loved when there’s no one way to love?

In this post, we explore love lessons through five anonymous love narratives where the authors honestly share their experiences.


Love Lesson #1: Losing a Best Friend Could Be the Hardest Breakup

While there are a gazillion songs written about romantic heartbreak, there’s no significant recognition of losing a best friend in our collective culture. What does such a platonic loss feel like, and how does it affect us? What does it mean to lose someone you assumed would have your back no matter what?

One author shares their experience of falling out with their best friend in this love essay, exploring the void left by the dreams and plans they had made with their best friend.

“That space, the space between BFF and stranger, that's an utterly lonely space. It’s made lonelier by the fact that the very person who would normally console you during heartache is the one that it's about this time. They are the one you can’t go to anymore, for this or anything else.”

But the loss also has a silver lining, as it propels the author on a journey of personal growth. They took inventory of their life, understood who they were, embraced the person they were developing into, accepted that people do grow apart and learned to be more present in other relationships.


Love Lesson #2: Honesty Opens the Door to Love

Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease could feel like your dating life and all your dreams about finding love are over. Take herpes as an example—while the stigma is worse than the symptoms, it’s a deal-breaker for many.

The author of this anonymous love narrative shares what it’s like to date with herpes, be honest about the condition, navigate such conversations with new partners and understand the shame and angst associated with these situations.

“I was scared that once I told him, he would become uninterested or treat me differently or ask a bunch of uncomfortable questions. He seemed surprised, but it didn’t change the way he felt about me. If anything, I feel like I was the one who started acting differently because of all my own insecurities and issues with it in the past.”

Sharing her condition with others has helped this writer process her feelings and heal. Being honest and upfront about your health condition builds the foundation for love and acceptance. It’s also a critical step in destigmatizing the diagnosis so more people will discuss the challenges openly instead of struggling on their own.


Love Lesson #3: Love Shows Up When You Least Expect It

For many, dating multiple people is an escape to avoid vulnerability by putting up a wall around their emotions. They continue to play the game to be in control or look for distractions from life. But what if, one day, you wonder if it’s time to do relationships differently?

In this love essay, the author met “the one” when she least expected it—during a night of beyond-generous right swipes on a dating app. But she fell into a relationship in which, for the first time, she understood what it’s like to be genuinely loved for who she was—and to genuinely love someone back.

“I can’t say that we would have met had it not been for my mindless swiping that night. One could even say that the universe knew what (and whom) I needed, even when I didn’t. It seems weird to be grateful for a ho phase, but without a doubt, this relationship was the greatest blessing.”

Life often gives us what we need when we least expect it—including love. And more importantly, understanding what it means to love and be loved. We may have to spend the time walking down a long and winding path before finding the answer. As the author puts it, “As the old saying goes: You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.”


Love Lesson #4: Love Is an All-Encompassing Power

What if your partner never seems happy? Why aren’t they happy with the love that you share? Why the silence? Why the seriousness? Why won’t they just smile? Is that because of you? What have you done wrong?

The author of this love narrative had all these questions and more. Then, he saw the relationship differently when his partner showed him the apartment where he was abused. He realized that his partner’s quiet, self-centered gestures were far from selfishness or rejection—they were acts of self-preservation.

“In learning of your trauma, I realized that it had nothing to do with me. …I know I loved you, and for that, I am grateful. In the same way, I am thankful for your vulnerability. We are fighting this battle together.”

Loving someone means a total acceptance of the person, including their trauma and “undesirable behaviors” caused by their experiences. While the author doesn’t know “if summer will come again,” embracing his soulmate’s trauma has given the couple the courage to fight the batter together.


Love Lesson #5: What It Means to Be a Love Extremist

The two questions many people ask when they die are, “Did I love?” and, “Was I loved?” But what does it mean to love? As a “love extremist,” the author of this love essay shares how they chose love during troubled times—when they were diagnosed with brain cancer and living through the pandemic.

During the recovery journey from surgery, chemo and radiation, the author recognized that love is built on forgiveness, patience, boundaries and purpose. 

“When we are focused on our personal purpose, we are able to connect with others and build stronger relationships. Loving ourselves enables us to be better lovers of others. …[W]hen you’re loving yourself and you’re engaging with others from a place of passion and compassion about what you’re doing, there is usually a collective effect that expands outwards into the world.”

Being a love extremist starts from self-love and acceptance. Then, you can find and accept your purpose, bring the shared experience to cultivate interpersonal love and turn what’s most meaningful to you into an expression of collective love. Looking at love through this lens, we can think beyond our own lifespan and expand love into everything around us.

Lessons From These Love Narratives

We interpret and approach love differently. For many, their view of love is shaped by trauma, personal histories and heartbreak. But there’s a common path to finding the expression of love. These love essays show us that loving and accepting yourself is the foundation of being able to love and be loved.

Reading these anonymous narratives helps us realize that we’re not alone in how we express ourselves and our love. They encourage us to be open to love when it comes our way, in whatever shape or form, while accepting everything that comes with those we love.

Did you enjoy the stories we shared here? Explore other anonymous narratives to expand your perspective on love and interpersonal relationships.


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