As someone who likes every single one of her old boyfriends—and most days even the one ex-husband, I have plenty of experience with mad love but very little with love when it goes bad.
If recent headlines are to be believed, this is not universally true.
Taylor Swift’s recent hit Bad Blood and her music video of the same name would have us believe (and the pop star does seem to be our very own modern-day scribe), that mad love—the kind that curls your toes but can leave you checking your cell phone like a nervous squirrel checking its nuts—is too often just one bad date away from bad love.
My one brush with bad love left the four tires on my car flat.
From what modern-day balladeers like Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood or the latest romance blogger have to say, I got off easy—no baseball bats came into play, no revenge nude postings on social media, no sex tapes released (just kidding on that last one Mom).
So did my one brush with bad love leave me cynical or leery of love? Hmmm, I don’t think so. But the music, twitter, and video sharings of all the above young women have me wondering if maybe it should have.
My one comfort: if you Google Bad Love in books, the only book that comes up is not a romance but a page-turning thriller by Jonathan Kellerman, and the title of the book does not refer to a love affair gone bad. I like to think that’s because mad love is quite frequently possible and bad love, well, in truth, it is a rare thing.
Most of us read love stories expecting a happy ending. Most of us fall in love, hoping for the same thing. Yet sometimes love doesn’t work out.
So what keeps mad love when it ends from becoming bad love? What was your maddest love—or the maddest love story you’ve ever read? And if either went bad, please tell us why.
We promise not to tell Taylor.
— Jeanne Devlin