Should love leave scars?

Love hurts

Over the holiday my friend boasted love bites on his neck. Being in a new relationship, we teased him and his new partner about the hickeys. They blushed and we laughed. I joked that we will know when the relationship has gone to ‘the next level’ when there are no more visible hickeys to joke about.

Later, in more serious conversation, he asked us if we saw the hickeys as wrong. Should he be embarrassed? Are love bites ‘common’ and as adults, should hickeys be a thing of the past? The general response was that the hickeys were ‘cute’ and endearing for us as his friends who are happy about his new relationship -  but unanimous agreement was that the older one gets the more inappropriate hickeys seem to be.

Giving it more thought, the question about love and marks and scars came to mind. Love does leave marks: on your heart, in your memory and it changes your life. But should love leave scars?

Some people have tattoos on their body to celebrate or commemorate a love. At times, they regret the tattoo and then have it changed or removed (Consider Johnny Depp’s tattoo for Amber Heard on his knuckles, which he had changed from “Slim” to “Scum” after their break up). There are parents who have their children’s names displayed on their wrists, hands, arms and other parts of their bodies. My friend has a tattoo of birds resembling him and his siblings. The list of reasons to get a tattoo for loved ones goes on and on.

Then, there are marks that happen because of the act of love. Love bites, back scratches, blue finger prints from holding on too hard, and other in-passion and in-the-moment marks that mostly serve as a sweet, short-lived reminder of a sexual encounter. So far, all good.  

My daughter is currently going through a very painful breakup. Her depressed state, tearful countenance and gloom is taking its toll on her and the whole family. It hurts, she says. And without telling her so, I know that it is going to hurt for a long time to come. The mark it is leaving on her heart will probably become a lifelong lesson in love and the pain and hurt it causes. Perhaps it will make her cautious to love again, perhaps it will teach her to make wiser choices or perhaps it will prepare her for better relationships that will make her joyous and optimistic again – only time will tell. We all have experienced that first love that hurt like hell, but still puts a smile on our face when we think of the good parts.

Each love we have and embrace leaves a mark on our heart and on our mind. A lesson to learn, a path to follow or not to follow, the type of person we want to be with and the type of relationship we want or know to steer clear off. we only know these things once we have learnt the hard way. Each relationship leaves a mark or scar of some kind, and although it may take us years to recover or get over the hurt it caused, or the loss we felt when it ended, we are all better and smarter people because of it. It contributes to the persons that we are today.

But love should never leave scars of a physical nature. It should not bruise, cut or damage. It shouldn’t pierce the skin, draw blood or physically kill. That is not love nor is it done in love. It is called neglect, torture or physical abuse. And even if it is verbal abuse which doesn’t cut the skin or draw blood, it is still not love.


Love does leave marks, but there shouldn’t be scars.