In Love of the Time of Cholera, why does Marquez use similar terms to describe the effects of love and cholera?
Florentino falls in love with Fermina in a way that causes him great pain and suffering. Like a sickness, he is wrought with anguish over his love for his beloved Fermina. So devoted is he to the passion he has for Fermina, that when she marries a prominent doctor, and has a fifty year marriage, Florentino waits for her still. He is a patient man.
Like a sickness that infects you, once Florentino falls in love with Fermina, she is the only woman that he wants to marry. He is consumed by his love for Fermina.
"Florentino is so ruled by love that he finds himself unable to compose the simple business letters required for his job at the River Company of the Caribbean; he does, however, develop a comfortable sideline writing letters for the lovelorn."
While waiting for Fermina, Florentino has affairs with many women, but he never surrenders his heart. He vows to love Fermina forever. His devotion to her and his willingness to wait for her could be considered unstable. In fact Florentino is heartsick most of the time, that is why he continues to seek out more and more women to have brief affairs with to ease his pain over Fermina.
His actions can be viewed either romantically, as not willing to surrender the greatest love of his life, or foolish and unstable, throwing away any chance at having a wife and family to take a chance that he might one day be able to have Fermina.