"The Love Letter"

with Ellen DeGeneres

Viewed September 9, 2000

Romance was the big topic tonight. It was triggered by the romantic (some might say gushy) tone of the movie, certainly, but that just triggered our recollections of our own romances and broken hearts, and thus led into an in-depth examination of romance in our lives.

We started out with Question #8, and kept coming back to it throughout the evening. That's because we decided that what keeps us emotionally frozen is fear, and that fear is what makes it difficult to open ourselves up to either relationships or life in general. Falling in love sometimes made us less fearful, and therefore more open to life in general, and a willingness to fully experience life has sometimes made us less fearful and more open to falling in love. Either way, we experienced an open-heartedness that not only feels great, but makes us able to accept other people more unconditionally. In fact, one person said that he has found it helpful to try to see every other person as someone who wants to give and receive love; then their behavior doesn't seem as unenlightened or hurtful as it might otherwise.

One member of the group has a new love in her life who has a physical disability, and she feels like that has shaped his life (Question #4) in a very positive way by making him more inquisitive and open to learning about himself. Someone else shared that though he feels strong about many things in his life, romance is the one area where he feels pretty afraid.

A woman brought up the issue of not conforming to the way that society defines being worthy of love (Question #7). Specifically, she believes that she is sometimes seen as being overweight, and therefore as not sexually attractive to many men. She said that since she's not a size 6, it seems like many men don't find themselves attracted to her, preferring to see only the outside of her rather than the inside. Then another woman said that she's been a size 6 for all her life, and that has its own problems. She worries that men are only attracted to the outside superficial parts of her, and worries about whether they really appreciate her mind and heart too. So the societal ideal of loveliness feels damaging to both those who conform to it as well as to those who don't.

Here are the questions. By the way, I don't think we've ever come up with 13 questions before; this was a creative group!


  1. How have I given up on love?
  2. How can I honor the commonality of love?
  3. What role has timing and circumstance played in my love relationships?
  4. How has losing love shaped my life?
  5. When I've been hurt by someone, what do they have to do before I'll forgive them?
  6. At what point do my public displays of affection make me/others uncomfortable?
  7. How do I define love? How do I conform/not conform to how society defines love?
  8. What has opened me up to life when I've been "frozen" emotionally?
  9. When have I knowingly chosen a detour that has led me to my "right" path?
  10. How important has being in love been to me?
  11. How do I deal with constantly being reminded of a lost love?
  12. What keys have unlocked my romantic love relationships?
  13. Why do I fall in love?