Is it better to have loved and lost, or to have never loved at all? This was asked to a multitude of people visiting or living in different areas of Chicago, ranging from nineteen years old to thirty years old. The people that were asked this, are people of all orientations, religious beliefs, identities, genders, backgrounds, etc.; here’s what they had to say:
“Yes. I had a little ho phase (I’M ALL FOR MAKING HO POSITIVE) after seeing someone for a while. But, I'm happy I loved/ lost because I explored myself and my sexuality and it was great. Also, he inspired me, so, yeah, loving and losing has positives.” - Female, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Yes. If you never love at all, you may lack the knowledge of certain life lessons, like knowing the type of person you could fall in love with, or the type of person who has pet peeves or tendencies that could turn into one of your pet peeves.” -Andrew Wegrzyn, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Personally, I believe that it is better to have loved and lost rather than never loved at all. Love is such an overwhelming feeling, and honestly, no words will ever be able to give that feeling justice. I was fortunate enough to fall in love at a young age. Looking back at my relationship, it feels like the type of love that you would read about or see it in a movie. We were highschool sweethearts who were determined to defy odds and end up happily ever after. He was the boy who came from a prominent family, and I was the girl who felt special enough to grab his attention. We were the couple who people placed bets on to be the first to get married. We were each other’s “first” in almost every sense of the word; including first love and first heartbreak. Our love was not perfect, but at the time I was perfectly fine with the simple fact that it was ours. My storybook high school sweetheart taught me a lot about myself when it comes to love. I learned that when I fell in love, I fell hard. When I experienced heartbreak, I thought it was unbearable and never ending. The heartbreak that I experienced verified that my love was pure. I’ve come to learn that the age that I experienced this love, the odds were not on my side, and in the end they won. After four years and a thousand miles circumstances and time negatively affected my relationship and eventually broke it. I still believe that if we had met at a later age, things would be different for us. Having true love at least once in your life not only gives you memories that'll last a lifetime, but also further set standards for future relationships. I know how I deserve to be treated, and he showed me that I do not have to settle for any less. By experiencing both, it'll give you a greater appreciation for the love you may potentially find. I'll forever cherish the love I experienced, and hold that relationship to a higher standard. I'm thankful to have experienced both because I'm conscious of the fact that many people live their lives not knowing either. If I never get the chance to fall in love again, although it is not ideal I would be content with just being able to say that I know what it is like to be truly loved.” -Kylie Adrian, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“I do believe that it's better to have loved and lost, than to have never lived at all. Why? Because I would rather know that I could find someone that loved me, than sit there wondering if I could ever be loved.” -Samantha Brown, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Yes, I believe it. You need to know heart break to feel alive. I know it seems like everything is impossible and the whole world is shit. But look at it. You can say that you can barely give your heart and soul, if at all. But you did, despite all odds, you had everything that you had. Although it may not go as planned, you can look how happy you were and the beauty you experienced. Love is a terrifying thing; it's giving your all and devoting it to one person. But that's the brilliance of it. You truly don't know the outcome. The risk and reward is outstanding. But you cannot go through life thinking love is some sham or some fake ass shit. Love can you make you go crazy. Love is the best thing ever. We as humans are meant to love. You can just feel it. Like that moment you see a stranger and for some odd reason they give you butterflies. It's not just because of attraction, it's because your souls and spirits are connecting and becoming intertwined. Love can make anything worth it. Love makes anything possible. To know and feel the true essence of love is breathtaking and it literally fills your body with a lighting bolt of energy and excitement. Love is such a wonderful thing. I know you may hurt, and I've felt your agony. But take it from someone who's loved shitty people for a long time, it gets better. I promise you it gets better. Will you always think about that person. Maybe.. Possibly but never let that part of your life cripple you and your amazing heart. Do not let it taint your soul with hurt. Do not let it make judgement onto your next possible love. Do not compare your past and future love. You must let love consume you and fall into it with an open mind open arms and a open heart and I'm positive that you'll see it's better to have loved than to never loved at all.” Male, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“I think I do agree with the saying, because after all, the emotional situations we go through, whether happy or sad ones, shape our character. That's one of the beauties of being alive and conscious; we get to experience an infinite amount of things, which then we can mold into things that help other people. If a person has never loved, they cannot share the happiness of the experience with another person (not necessarily the other lover), or they cannot weep with another person about what they have lost.” -Paulina Bober, 18 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Yes. Because I feel as if it's an evolutionary gift to us, being the only sentient creatures, to feel an emotion such as that. And to not have experienced it is to have been deprived of one of the various things that make us human beings.” -TJ Boone, 24 years old, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Instagram handle: @wherewewalked
“It really is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Do we all occasionally get shit on by our love interests? Yeah. Do we end up breaking a few hearts ourselves? Sure. However soul-crushing the ache, the agony, the intense pain may be, the love that we can find makes that worth it. It's when we find someone we could spend every single day with and not a moment without, the person that makes the mundane extraordinary, who is just as content exploring and adventuring with you as just laying around, sloth-like, doing absolutely nothing, perfectly happy nestled up next to you; that's worth it. That's worth taking that potential risk, because that love is worth fifty-thousand heartbreaks.” -Zak Hammerman, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“It is better to have loved, than to have never loved at all. The pursuit of love is almost instinctual. Love is one of those human experiences that helps you discover who you are as a person. I believe that who you choose to associate yourself with, friends, bfs/gfs, or lovers, is a direct reflection of who you are. Most people don't realize this. We tend to gravitate towards people that are either very similar to us or those that possess traits we wish we had. It's difficult to step outside of yourself and your situation to realize this. But for people that are able, love can be a crucial lesson in self awareness. To deny yourself this opportunity would be to negate part of your humanity.” -Queal, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois. Instagram handle: just_q
“I completely believe in this. I believe that having a single moment of being completely in love in your lifetime is worth all of the hurt. A life without love is simply not worth living. That connection you establish with someone is indescribable, even though that connection may have been lost.” -Victoria Valde, 23 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“To have loved at all means more than to have lost love. But to have never loved, would mean there is no way to determine whether it be better or worse.” -Drü Petis, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“You can't find true love until you find someone that you believe in so much, that you don't even have to second guess their trust and that could take a lifetime to find in all honesty. But don't rush love; live in the moment and enjoy your life. Your true love will find you.” Joey Healy, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“I believe in the saying. It's better having one orgasm in your life than never having one. Because at least you had one. And now even though you may never have one again, you can still tell your bitchy friend, Kate, when she asks if you ever had an orgasm.” Female, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Yes, I believe the saying to be absolutely true. Being in love is one of the greatest things a person can experience. Love is one of those things that can change your life, and it goes beyond race,sexuality, ethnicity. If you love someone, then you love someone. Though it hurts a lot to lose your love, the feelings you get while in love genuinely surpass the angst and regret that comes from losing someone you love, just that's hard to see because the angst and regret are newer feelings that cause you to feel more. I've always been a hopeless romantic, and I've always believed that being in love and trying to find love is what gives life true purpose.” -Vinnie Ordinario, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“Well to me who have I loved first….I guess you can say that I experienced my first love in high school. It was young love and it was definitely a love that I experienced a lot of my “firsts” with. He was definitely the first one that I ever pictured marrying. If I were to recall all the amazing moments... like when we walked endlessly after school to talk. We would talk and talk for hours; in person and on the phone (back when talking on the phone was a thing). To experience those cliche butterfly feelings and trusting someone with your heart and body for the first time. It was a rush, definitely a high on someone; an adrenaline of getting to know that person. Smiling from ear to ear; “happy” as can be. However It was a difficult love; he was two grades older than me. Our military school program did not approve, and if anything, I was not given the top position in the program because of it. He ended up joining the marines right after graduation. At that point, I really learned what is was like to have trust and patience for someone; to dedicate a lot of energy and love to that person. It was definitely lovely to experience sending mail to one another for a whole summer and patiently waiting for my letter with the marine corps insignia on it. It ended tragically though. As for the way things ended, I always tell my little sister, or even when I reflect on it now, I say being in a serious relationship at a young age is kind of pointless. I wasted TIME; pre-relationship, relationship, post-relationship, ENERGY; the amounts of all nighters and homework I would skip, and MONEY; I paid for his prom, gave him an iPod for christmas, and spent money on dates. And for what? For that essential sensation? Because I was in love? I could have joined a sport, an academic club, yearbook or something. Was it just lust, or was it just emotions overcoming my rationality? I think the meaning behind that quote really, is that is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all, because if you aren’t to be with someone forever, at least you got to, for a moment, and with that moment comes lessons. And with those lessons they shape and make you who you are. I have dated after him and I want to say many of decisions based off of what I experienced in the first time influenced who I dated or how I am with the next person. I guess you can say it shaped me. I became a little more guarded, a little less of a romantic, and my innocence was gone. All in all, through my experiences, yes, it is better to have never loved at all. Even now as an adult, TIME is the only thing you can’t get back, EVER, and to me I might as well be better off dedicating time towards to bettering myself, spending time with my family and friends. This doesn’t mean I’m like, “screw love and stuff,” but for now at least in my early 20’s; I’m going to try to live life to the fullest.” -Female, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“I have mixed feelings on it. We are all love. It isn't something that we feel once and don't feel again, or even something that we lose. I guess you could take my answer as yes, I believe that's true. All we have in this life, this "reality", is THIS experience, the present. We should want to feel everything we can, while we can, in only a way the present allows.” -Codi La Flure, 25 years old, Michigan.
“Well, as far as me believing, I do believe it's true for certain folks. It really is a case by case kinda thing; some people are better off being immortalized as the L you took cuz shit didn't work out...and some you really aren't meant to fuck with at all. I'm both.’ -Ejay, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
"My opinion on the quote would be that I have mixed feelings about the quote simply because it's all about experience and feeling. To never know what it's like to love means that you won't be missing out on anything because you don't know what it's like. But if you have loved and lost you're going to miss that feeling of love or going to wish you never had loved. The positive side to know what it's like to love is a great feeling to love & be loved. It's a learning experience. You learn to love in different ways when it doesn't work out with a person or the next or the person after that because everyone desires to be loved differently. Then when you find the right person you will love them exactly how they should be because of all the past loved ones that didn't work out." -Lexx Camacho, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“I think if you truly have loved you never can lose it. If you experience something on that level it's hard to simply lose it you know?” -Male, 21 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
“No. Because people suck and you're better off not dealing with the bullshit. Also loving someone cripples you because then everything you do, you think about them and if they keep hurting you, you'll keep forgiving them because you love them. Therefore hurting yourself and putting yourself through hell just because you love them and you become too naive to see the signs that they are not a good person or that they aren't good for you. Love is the most powerful drug because it makes you do literally anything and makes you blind to reality.” -Devin Stafen, 19 years old, Los Angeles, California.
“I don't believe in it because if you have never loved you would never experience loss.” -Nicole Villarreal, 20 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
This experience has been very insightful. I would like to thank everyone who participated and gave their honest opinions.