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Is the difference between being in love and loving someone purely semantic, or is it something you can actually experience? Even though the lexical distinction between the two terms may seem microscopic, when it comes to relationships, the gulf can be enormous. To help you distinguish being in love from loving someone, we’ve had a look at a few examples that might strike a chord.
Loving someone waxes and wanes, being in love doesn’t.
This is one of the most critical differences between loving someone and being in love. When it comes to loving someone, the passion you feel for them can vacillate from sheer infatuation to near nonexistence in an instant. Anything from a miscalculated comment to something daft they’ve done can be enough to stop you feeling emotions towards them. Being in love is a completely different thing entirely. When you feel that depth of love for someone, there is nothing they can say or do to change your mind, nor anyone else for that matter.
Lust vs. Love
This may be an age-old contest, but it’s one that still has a lot of traction here (it’s also closely linked to the former point!). In the early stages of most flings, feeling a burning desire to be close to your beloved and spend every waking hour in their company is the norm. However, when you’re not totally enamored with someone, this intensity gradually subsides. Having the same amount of zeal for your partner three years down the line is a pretty good marker that you’re in love them.
Undoubtedly in love
If there’s even the slightest ounce of doubt hanging over the way you feel towards your partner, or you find yourself questioning how committed you are to the relationship on the regular, chances are you’re not in love. Loving someone can be fickle, and this can have an effect on how close you get to your partner. Also, saying “I love you” is one thing, doing it is something entirely separate. Being in love with a person is akin to a calling; there are no question marks or nagging uncertainties looming.
READ MORE: Is your relationship built on love or lust?
Hold them close with open arms
Being in love with someone means that you’re willing to grant that person the freedom they deserve. Giving them their space and time to develop is an incredibly loving gesture. It also shows that you trust them to come back to you and that you respect their need to grow. This can range from letting them pursue a hobby or even leaving the country for a job opportunity. Loving someone is about immediate gratification; you want them in your life to sate a need. This is also one of the hallmarks of a controlling relationship.
Without sounding too cliché, being in love is synonymous with harmony; when you laugh, you laugh together, and when you cry, you cry together. Being emotionally in sync with your partner is the cornerstone of an enduring bond. This has a lot to do with communication too as it’s vital to be able to convey your feelings, as well as gauge how your partner responds to certain situations. Learning to speak the same love languages can strengthen this synergy!
It’s not all about you
It goes without saying that being in love entails selflessness. Any happy couple will tell you that this has to be mutual; anything else will likely cause resentment! Compromise is something that’s difficult to adapt to at first, but it shouldn’t feel like you’re being short-changed. Caring about your partner’s needs and letting them take care of yours is representative of the reciprocity love rests on.
READ MORE: Do you believe in love at first sight?
Tackling life as a team
Loving someone can feel genuine, particularly when the going’s good. However, it often doesn’t make the cut when life throws up an inevitable curveball. Whether it’s juggling the upshots of a hectic work/life balance or supporting your partner when they’re going through a rough patch, the noncommittal nature of loving someone can make it hard to stick at it. Being in love means that nothing is insurmountable; when the chips are down, you’ll be there plugging away at their side. One of the keys to a happy and healthy relationship is seeing problem solving as a challenge that will only make your love for each other stronger.
If you’ve ever lost love then you’ll know how it feels to adore someone unconditionally. Loving someone comes with caveats, and often those requirements aren’t met (or are unrealistic in the first place). Accepting someone for who they are, helping them overcome their weaknesses, and celebrating their strengths together make true love so special. Strolling off into whatever comes your way hand-in-hand is one of life’s greatest adventures, especially when it’s with the one you cherish.