The short story “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” by Raymond Carver begins with two couples sitting around a kitchen table. The narrator, Nick, and his wife, Laura, are visiting their friends, Mel and Terri. While they are drinking, their conversation moves to the topic of love, which all the characters see in a different light. 

Mel and Terri tell the story of Terri’s previous relationship with Ed, an abusive man. While Terri claims that Ed truly loved her, Mel disagrees and claims that true love does not mean being abusive. Mel and Terri then explain how Ed tried to kill himself twice after Terri left him. The second time Ed tries to kill himself, he shoots himself in the mouth. He survives and lives for three more days in the h...

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