Liking, partiality, leaning, proclivity, inclination, disposition, enjoyment, appreciation, soft spot, taste, delight, relish, passion, zeal, appetite, enthusiasm, keenness, penchant, fondness, affection, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship, passion, ardour, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation, adulation, besotted.
There are far greater men than I who can wax lyrical about love and all the nouns in the world often pale into insignificance when confronted with this almost celestial manifestation. Quite rightly so. Hearing those three magical words can your day from disaster to triumph, from meaningless to meaningful.
According to psychologists it is the commonly held view that many hanker after romantic love and in fact, should we dare to scratch the surface, there are 7 types of love and romantic love is merely a modern construct.
There is the all-enveloping love full of passion and desire – all very Cupid. Picture if you will Paris and Helen and the war that followed.
Friendships based on not only mutual benefit but also companionship, dependability and trust. Of course, there is nothing to say that all-enveloping cannot develop to encompass all the beautiful synchronicity. True friends, it could be said, seek together to liver a truer, fuller life by relating to each other authentically.
Familial love may be asymmetrical especially when the ‘couple’ in question differ significantly in age. A parent and child, a career and an aging relation. Unlike other manifestations this does not rely on personal qualities but is often expected to be unconditional.
Now consider if you will the playful or uncommitted love. The focus is on fun. Yes, it can be uncomplicated, undemanding and even long lasting. However, if one of the parties wants to move on, then what?
Pragmatism also plays its part. A love born from duty and long-term interests. Think celebrity and politically motivated pairings.
Self-love cannot be ignored. One word; Hubris. Of course, here we find a double-edged sword, self-esteem and the emotional appraisal of our own worth sits effortlessly alongside an inflated sense of one’s self. Arrogance and self-righteousness reign supreme.
Finally, we come to what is often regarded as charity love; it’s altruism. The helpers high. The universal love; for strangers, for nature, for God.
To each their own. Where I sit, where you sit, is frankly irrelevant and almost certainly a fluid playing field. However, it has become apparent to me recently that I had been in a long-term relationship for years - one that I have only just come to acknowledge due to not the relationship itself, but that which envelops it. Let me elaborate.
Forgive me if you will for the gender specificity. For the car owners; is yours male, or female? You get my drift. Running for me is she and she is a myriad of beautifully complicated emotions. Tonight, was my first run post injury, a testing run, and as every step went by I was awash with euphoria and fear in equal measures. After a month off this was first date territory and as with all first dates it came to an end somewhat awkwardly - does it finish now? I know I should wait before sending her a text. Yes, I’ll play it cool. I’ll see her again in a few days, any sooner would be foolhardy.
And so, the game plays out.
In all honesty I have no idea how the game will play out. It’s been a year of injuries and illness and like all relationships we have entered a new stage. There is a familiarity there now. There is balance. However, this has little to do with my relationship with her, but everything to do with them.
Yes, tonight’s dalliance was tantalising but interestingly, my yearning to get back to running has little to do with the run itself, but the relationships that surround the run. Previously I have always hankered for the solitude of a run, even on race day, but there has been a shift which I can directly attribute to the friends I now talk to, daily. We were brought together by a run and have stayed an incredibly tight and wonderfully supportive group. Through their support I have found a hitherto unknown confidence to talk to other runners, to attend races and enjoy the somewhat smelly social side post run.
Psychologists and their theories make for interesting reading, of that there is no doubt but for me runners occupy and personify all that is the best of love; friendship, trust, authenticity, altruism.
As for the second date… ‘she is frequently kind and suddenly cruel…but she’s always a woman to me’.
Brett is a father, a teacher, a runner. He completed his first triathlon at the tender age of 17 and has gone on to run every distance from sprint mile to marathon and aims to complete his first ultra marathon in 2018 at the not so tender age of 47.
He is open about his battle with mental health and since hitting rock bottom 8 years ago has been on what he would describe as being a life changing journey ever since. He is a firm believer that through sharing and support anything is possible and that above all else we must strive to de-stigmatise mental health. You can follow Brett on Twitter and cheer him along as he battles his anxiety and beats it most days.