Why Do Fools Fall in Love?

Stuart Buck observes:

Movies and popular culture often celebrate “falling in love.” I’d suggest, however, that outside of physical ailments (including everything from cancer to starvation), “falling in love” is ultimately responsible for maybe half of all the misery experienced by the human race.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying this because of any personal experience. It’s rather a commentary on how many people I’ve seen who messed up their lives by dating or marrying the wrong person just because they “fell in love,” as well as people who threw away a perfectly good marriage and abandoned their kids because they thought they “fell in love” with someone else.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hoodlumman says:

    Horrible, horrible movie…

  2. Bithead says:

    McCoy: [to Spock] You see, I feel sorrier for you than I do for him
    [referring to Kirk]
    McCoy: , because you’ll never know the things that love can drive a man to. The ecstasies, the miseries, the broken rules, the desperate chances, the glorious failures and the glorious victories. All of these things you’ll never know, simply because the word “love” isn’t written into your book. Good night, Spock.

  3. Stuart Buck says:


    As I clarified in a comment, maybe a better way to put it would be that falling in love unwisely is responsible for much of the misery that human beings inflict upon themselves (as opposed to bad things that people do to other people in terms of war, genocide, etc.).

  4. John425 says:

    Buck says:”…”falling in love” is ultimately responsible for maybe half of all the misery experienced by the human race.”

    yeah, but the other half who find love and joy are often the ones who go to the stars, find new cures and come running when help is needed.

  5. Janis Gore says:

    You don’t know Stuart Buck, commenters.

    He is responsible for the most romantic blog post I’ve ever read:

    Yesterday, my wife heard a radio broadcast of the middle movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, except with a twist: a classical guitarist was playing the melody line. (It’s one of the most beautiful works of the 20th century; click here to hear a clip of Martha Argerich playing it.)

    So last night, after the kids were in bed, my wife and I sat down to try our hand at it — her on the piano and me on the classical guitar. She had played the entire concerto in college, and still had the music (arranged for two pianos). The first few pages went fairly well — the melody actually fit nicely on the guitar. After that, it became much more difficult (i.e., lots of notes), beyond my ability to arrange for the guitar while sight-reading.

    But it was lovely indeed — a shared moment of beauty at the end of a long day.

  6. Michael says:

    I think some of you guys are missing the point. He isn’t saying love is bad, he’s saying this idea that you can fall in love and have everything come up roses all the time with no sacrifice or effort on your part is what causes so much misery.

    People who stay married for 50+ years don’t stay married because they “fell in love” 50+ years ago, they stay married because they fell in love one day and then made it work every day after that.

  7. DL says:

    It’s on the job training often for people who should be looking for work elsewhere.

    The right reason and shared values bigger than selves works very well. Failure isn’t so much that the parts don’t fit but mnore so that at least one of the parts is defective.

    52 years and still in training -learn something new every day – about her and about myself!