In 2013, 22-year-old Marquis Baldwin, a Pensacola (USA) resident was arrested on four counts of armed robbery and six counts of aggravated assault after he held up four businesses with a gun, three of them restaurants. But the money Baldwin stole wasn’t being saved for a rainy day; he used it to pay off his girlfriend’s probation fees.
Love. It can make you do crazy things, or so the saying goes. When it hits hard, it knows no boundaries; it knows no race or colour. It is undoubtedly a beautiful thing; however it can also be intoxicating, especially when it makes people do strange things.
Like the Russian native who staged his own death, for example. His girlfriend found him covered in blood lying in the road, a paramedic told her he was dead and she broke down in tears. But wait for it … just when she thought all was lost, he sprang into action and asked her to marry him. Most bizarrely, she said yes.
Kenyan humourist Eric Omondi knows a thing or two about ‘crazy love’, however, the comedian has stated time and again that everything he does for his girl is purely out of love and that people who deem his actions ridiculous really don’t know anything about the four-letter word.
Being a man who never shies off from surprising his woman, one of his most memorable moves was when he put up a huge billboard with a special message to his lady on one of the roads leading out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
If you’ve ever fallen hard for a special someone, you know that love can be as dangerous a drug as heroin. One minute you’re completely sane, the next you’re jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s couch like a hyper toddler.
Remy Kalisa can relate. A few years ago, he was in a relationship with a beautiful young woman whom he says swept him off his feet. He loved her so much that he would do anything to make her happy — literally.
One night he received a call from her, she wanted to see him. It was late and it was raining, but Kalisa wasn’t hesitant even for second.
“I hit the road in the middle of the night. It was raining cats and dogs but I didn’t mind because I wanted to see her. She said she hadn’t had supper and I remembered that she had kids as well. I got to her place soaked wet. At times I wonder if she had cast a spell on me,” he says.
Falling in love is regarded as ‘dying by Cupid’s bow’. Many have done the unthinkable — things they normally wouldn’t do — all in the name of love.
Take Lyna Mutesi, for example, who recalls lying to her first love and pretending to be sick so that he would go and see her.
“I was in college in Nairobi. His workplace was about six hours away from the city. One day, I felt I missed him and so I pretended to be sick and hospitalised. I even asked someone to pretend to be a doctor. He had to take a flight. He was mad but he realised it was all love and calmed down,” she says.
Yvette Kamikazi took her love a notch higher and sent her tuition to her boyfriend so that he could visit her — a move she ended up regretting as reimbursement became a hassle.
Why do people react this way?
Gloria Nyamwiza believes that the excitement that comes with being in love is what makes some people behave the way they do.
She admits to having her own share of crazy when it comes to relationships.
“I once had to take a late night bus to go meet my boyfriend. I would also sacrifice my hard earned savings to rescue him financially, not forgetting the late night phone calls and chats when I’d have to be at work all day,” she says.
Willy Kabera, however, believes that some people just take it to the extreme and use love as an excuse.
“I can understand if someone is in love for the first time because the feelings are overwhelming and you will literally do whatever your heart tells you,” he says.
He believes that it is such that leads to serious heartbreaks and that people need to be cautious.
“Giving your whole heart to someone else is not the wisest thing to do, also, having vast expectations of your partner isn’t good either, and this has killed so many hearts in love,” Kabera says.
Crème Kantengwa begs to differ, saying that if one is in love, they should let go and love with all their heart, arguing that withholding one’s feelings is not devoted at all.
“If I am with someone I will do anything to see them happy. I remember one time I waited for hours in the night for my boyfriend to get home just so I could see him before I went to bed. I once braved the dark and mud just to see his face and say good night. I only saw him for like two seconds but my heart was relieved after seeing him,” Kantengwa recalls.
Is it love or a dangerous condition?
Counsellor Damien Mouzoun says that this is actually very dangerous, regardless of the interest pursued.
He says that many people deceive themselves into thinking that happiness comes from possessions or fame, however, a true relationship has more to do with quality life, love and respect.
“You find that spouses do not trust one another to the point that they spend the greatest part of their time checking the other’s life; where they have been, whom have they been? This is more stressful than it is blissful,” Mouzoun says.
“Marriage or family life is all about “we” and the cooperation between two people is the essence of the relationship. Most mistakes, however, are not necessarily the result of bad intent from a partner, sometimes they don’t see clearly into another’s heart,” he adds.
The counsellor recommends that people learn more about relationships from related books by authors like John Gray.
“Counselling is very important as it can help one adapt to the reality of family life which is beyond simply falling in love. People need the independence and freedom to grow and find fulfilment, otherwise relationships can become insane,” the counsellor says.
A thin line between love and madness
Author Scott O’Reilly writes that love has been likened to a divine madness. When you are smitten with someone, your senses seem keener, the world appears enchanted, and every experience feels more intense and meaningful.
Love has also been equated with addiction. In fact, scientists are finding this as a very apt way of looking at the biology of romance. Put simply, the process of falling in love with someone involves the same brain circuitry and neurochemistry that is triggered by drugs like cocaine.
He goes on to write that, in most cases, the feeling of being madly in love only lasts a few years at most. As time goes by, couples become more familiar with each other. Ideally, they build trust and feelings of stress and anxiety subside. This process is accompanied by an increase in serotonin, which diminishes feelings of neediness and obsessiveness. In addition, couples tend to manufacture more oxytocin during this phase. This is the hormone responsible for social bonding.
Is love a drug?
Like addicts, couples in love exhibit tolerance, withdrawal and relapse, which are symptoms that one associates with substance abuse. Furthermore, people in love frequently engage in the risky, ethically compromised and obsessive behaviour that one normally associates with drug users.
“Of course, when it comes to love, the stakes are high. The next generation is on the line. And tying yourself to another person for life is no small matter either. It’s little surprise, then, that the brain’s reward system is inextricably involved in helping people choose their mates and forge an enduring bond with them,” the counsellor says.
I didn’t have a gift to give to a high school sweetheart, so I stole my dad’s really cute and unique whiskey glasses when I went home for holidays, wrapped them well and sent them as a gift to him.
Amy Sugira, IT Specialist
Before I started my music career I fell in love with an older man. He was way older than me that I would hide when he came to visit me at campus because I thought people would notice I was in love. I was so childish but I loved him.
Oda Paccy, Musician
I remember one day my girlfriend called me at midnight and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she hung up. I had no credit on my phone to call her back, so at 2am in the night, I got out of bed and looked for airtime but all the shops were closed. I spent a sleepless night.
Rodgers Munyaneza, Banker
They are actually a lot of things, I don’t know if I can recall all of them, but what I think is crazy is the fact that I decided to do everything for her just to make her happy.
Bruce Melodie, Musician