It’s hard to tell the difference between loving someone and being in love with them, especially if love is something that’s new to you. Loving someone can feel just as fierce, passionate, and consuming as being in love, but it’s ultimately different. If you’re holding out for magic and butterflies in your love life, it’s important to be able to recognize the differences. If you’ve ever broken up with someone you initially thought was The One, you’ll definitely be able to relate to this list. Here are 8 examples of how loving someone is different from being in love with them.
Loving someone is a choice, being in love isn’t.
You can choose to love someone. You can decide you will see their best qualities, appreciate them for who they are, and be a supportive partner to them. You can also choose to stop loving someone, to walk away and forget about them. Being in love is not a choice. It’s something that can happen without your intention or consent, and it’s not something you can walk away from. If you leave, you’ll take the feeling of being in love with you.
Loving someone means wanting them to do well, being in love means putting them first.
Of course you want the person you love to do well, but are you actually prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to make that happen? When you’re in love, you put each other’s needs first because your happiness is linked to theirs. Maybe he chips in a little extra for rent while you get through graduate school, or maybe you take extra morning walk shifts with the dog because he loves to sleep in. When you put each other’s needs first, you accomplish more than when everyone’s fending for themselves.
Loving someone is fleeting, being in love is forever.
Love can literally end at any moment. He can do something annoying, or you get in a bad fight, or you’re kind of in a funk, then BAM. You don’t love him anymore. Being in love isn’t that fickle. It stays through the fights, the lulls, and the full blown existential crisis. When the honeymoon phase is over and life gets a little more routine, only the relationship where you are actually in love will be a happy one. You don’t need constant excitement, because your feelings are real without it.
Loving someone means needing them around, being in love means needing them to be where they are happy.
When you love someone, you always want them to be around. You crave them. You want them to be with you more than anything. When you are in love, you want them to have a happy balanced life, which means sometimes spending time away from you. You want them to have time out with the guys, or alone time, or time to pursue some hobbies without you. Being happy doesn’t equal being together all the time.
Loving someone is a rush, being in love is steady stream of emotions.
Loving someone can be the greatest high, but it also comes with low lows. Being in love is a steadier stream of happiness, but it’s more overall happiness in the long run. The roller coaster of loving someone can never last, and bad lows can be devastating. The intensity of the highs and lows is why so many people mistake loving with being in love, but the real deal will never make you feel like you are crashing and burning.
Loving someone is about how they make you feel, being in love is about how you make them feel.
A common answer people give when asked why they love someone is, “Because of how they make me feel.” That’s a valid answer, but if it’s all about how you feel, then you probably aren’t actually in love. Loving someone means you are only concerned with how he makes you feel loved, special, or appreciated. Being in love means you worry about how to make him feel loved as well, because that’s equally as important to you.
Loving someone is about ownership, being in love is a partnership.
When you love someone, you want them to be yours. Labelling them is important. You need them to commit to being your boyfriend and say they’re yours. Being in love is about wanting to be each other’s. You give yourself as much as you get. You two are a partnership, a team, and no one belongs to anyone.
Loving someone is an uphill battle, being in love is effortless.
You will hear people say, “It shouldn’t be this hard.” And they’re right, it shouldn’t. Fighting and scrabbling to stay connected and keep the spark alive isn’t being in love. You may love this person, but it will inevitably turn into a situation where you feel like you’re just forcing it. I’m not saying that a relationship with someone you’re in love with will always be easy, just that the feeling of being in love will be there without any effort. Some days will be difficult. Some days will seem to take everything you have. But at the end of the hard days, or the hard months, you will always feel that you are in love with each other. That feeling will never be work or effort.
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