Is it love or the idea of being in love? Yes, there’s a big difference. And it’s one many people get confused.
“I met this great guy a few weeks ago, and I can’t help it! I’m already in love with him! He’s everything I ever wanted!”
A few weeks ago? You haven’t even had time to get to know him. You may think you do, but do you really? You may know his favorite color, his favorite tv show, his favorite food. But do you know who he is inside, under that list of favorites?
“I know we’ve only been seeing each other for a month, but I KNOW this is it! His last name sounds so perfect with my first name! He has a great smile, and we look so good together! Life is going to be so perfect!”
And then another month later, “I don’t understand. I finally couldn’t take it any more, and I told him I loved him. He didn’t say it back…instead he told me I was a good person, and a lot of fun to be with, but he wasn’t in love with me. In fact, he said he wanted to start seeing other women as well. What I thought was going to be the best night of my life so far…it was the worst. I’m devastated. My life is ruined….”
It’s not just limited to women either. Men do the same thing.
“I met her and it was instant attraction. I mean really, really strong. We were together 4-5 nights a week. We’d talked about moving in together when my lease was up. And then after two months…nothing. She said she just didn’t want a full time relationship. So I took the ring back I’d bought her… I won’t make that mistake again.”
Until the next woman comes along.
There’s a difference in falling in love…being in love, and being in love with the idea of being in love.
When we’re lonesome, tired of being alone, it’s really easy to imagine that we’re falling in love with the first person who starts paying a lot of attention to us.
And we overlook things we shouldn’t overlook. We put warning signs out of our mind.
They’ll change, we think.
It’s not that big a deal, we think.
That was in another relationship; ours is totally different.
Because we’re in love. And we’re surprised how quickly we fell in love. No, he/she isn’t perfect, but none of us are. We overlook all the little criticisms he/she makes. The times he/she is inconsiderate of our feelings, and we just go along for fear of angering him/her and risking losing the person we know we’re in love with.
But how do they feel? Are our feelings reciprocated? Are we afraid to find out? Why?
Is it because we’re in love with the idea of being in love? And not necessarily the person we’re with? Or want to be with?
It’s human nature to want someone to love us, and someone for us to love. We dream of that perfect relationship of happily ever after.
We love the idea of being in love.
And sometimes we try to make every person we begin to date be the one we fall in love with. Because we’re afraid no one else is going to come along.
The idea of being in love is only the first step to actually BEING in love. There are a lot more steps ahead that you both need to take in order to realize you actually love each other.
Love is commitment. Love is caring more about the other person than yourself. Love is a deep knowing in your heart that no matter what happens to him/her you’ll still be there, and vice versa. Love is accepting each other with every fault, every irritation, every piece of baggage that comes with him/her from past relationships. Love is not jealous. Love is not conditional. Love cannot be turned on and off like a water faucet.
True love takes time to develop. It is born into infancy and needs to take time to grow into that feeling which can develop into a lasting commitment, a lasting relationship.
Like a fire, it always starts with a tiny spark. Without that spark, it’s almost impossible for true love to develop and grow. And that true, lasting love requires two sparks; one for each of you. How the fire develops from those sparks, no one can really predict.
When we’re in love with the idea of being in love, it takes awhile to get that spark, if we ever really do. Sometimes we imagine we have it, just to convince ourselves we’re in love. But the spark never really takes hold; we imagine our future with him/her, but we imagine in our minds we just can’t seem to recreate in reality.
And if that’s what you find yourself doing, then you’re only in love with the idea of being in love; not the person you’re seeing.
So which is it? Are you really in love with that person? Can you imagine a happy future with them in ten or fifteen years? Or do you find yourself wondering if you’re trying to love someone who’s really not trying to love you?
The idea of being in love is wonderful; it’s easy to imagine. Being in love, and staying in love, is much harder.
But much more rewarding. And worth waiting for.