One woman ponders what it means to be in love.
When Catron’s parents got divorced after three decades of marriage, the event caused her to take a closer look at her own faltering relationship, which had continued for almost 10 years. When she first got together with Kevin, life had stretched ahead of them with infinite possibilities, but after so much time as a couple, she wondered if she had settled for a life and a person that were not quite right for her. “It had never occurred to me,” writes the author, “that you could love someone the way I loved Kevin—that you could want to wake up with him every morning and go to bed with him every night—but not know if you wanted to commit the rest of your life to him.” Their breakup was slow and fitful, but eventually they parted ways, leaving the door open for new relationships and questions about what it means to fall in or be in love. Catron uses her own romantic relationships and the marriages of her parents, grandparents, sister, and friends to question how and why we fall in love, what it means to share a life with someone without tying the knot, and how we use our relationships to show a certain side of ourselves to the world. Catron touches on a variety of disciplines, including history, psychology, literature, music, movies, and human biology, showing readers how love consists of numerous choices that influence us and help us overlook the small details about a person that become irksome. The author also includes her original essay on love, which was one of the most popular in 2015 in the New York Times, as well as 36 questions to ask a potential partner.
Personal musings and reminiscences paired with solid research provide an interesting stroll through an abstract topic.