You know what love is like? Love is a lot like a disease. Or a battle. Or death. OK, we're not being fair – that's only what love is like sometimes, at least in this novel. There's a lot of pleasure mixed in with all the pain and suffering, but, really, love is so diverse that it's hard to say what we should compare it to. All sorts of people love in Love in the Time of Cholera – from lusty teenagers to dirty old men – and the novel spans so many decades that we can see how the ways that they love change over time.
Of the three main characters, Fermina has the most pragmatic understanding of love – she's able to feel passion without relinquishing her obligations to herself, her family, and society.
Dr. Urbino doesn't love as deeply as Florentino or Fermina, but he is the happiest of the three.