LoveLast week, I wrote about a visit from an old friend, someone who holds a special place in my book of teenage memories.

It triggered a wave of email from past relationships who chose to express their feelings not in the public comments sections but in personal emails.

Fred First, who writes the older and much more comprehensive blog about life in Floyd County, shared a link to Susan Sharpiro’s book, Five Men Who Broke My Heart, her revisiting of past relationships.

Shapiro says she was in love five times during her single years from 13-35, once every 4.4 years.

Which raises the eternal question: What is love? The dictionaries have various definitions. One says: "a strong positive emotion of regard and affection." Another one is: "a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction." Another is more basic: "sexual activities (often including sexual intercourse) between two people." Some believe there is only one love for each of us.

Others say love is simply a chemical reaction and can — and does — strike us down many times.

And when love dies, does it mean the love we thought we felt was not genuine or is it simply a change of body chemistry?

I thought I was in love when I married at 21 but when divorce came five years later, I wasn’t sure. In the seven years of single life that followed, I dated many women but loved only one — until that day when I proposed to who I hope is the final love of my life. Yet after 24-and-a-half years of marriage, can either of us say love is forever?

We hope it is and if emotional commitment is the guiding force it should be. If, however, love is nothing more than body chemistry then anything can — and most likely will — happen. Too much to think about on a Monday morning.

(Photo taken in Paris in 1987)