Dating and relationships are a minefield and when your head and heart are all over the place, it can be tough to figure out exactly how you feel and what those feelings mean. For instance, how do you know the difference between loving someone and being in love with them? There are some pretty big differences if you pay close attention.
- Loving someone is a choice; being in love isn’t. The saying that you can’t choose who you fall in love with is totally true. Loving someone is an active decision you make on a daily basis. It means supporting them, uplifting them, being there for them, and caring for them through thick and thin. Being in love, on the other hand, is something that simply happens, sometimes even against your better judgment or wishes. You don’t do it consciously.
- Being in love with someone is emotionally charged; loving someone is more balanced. When you fall in love with someone, you tend to feel all over the place. You’re elated and your heart skips a beat whenever they’re around, you feel sick to your stomach, you might even be gripped with fear about things going wrong. However, when you love someone, it’s a totally different experience. It’s much more measured and calm, without all the drama.
- Loving someone tends to be permanent; being “in love” can be temporary. When you love someone, that’s a feeling that tends to remain for many years, possibly the rest of your life. Even after you break up and you move on to another relationship with someone else, you always have a feeling in your heart for them. That’s just how it goes. However, you can fall in love with someone only to fall back out of love with them months or weeks later, depending on life circumstances.
- Being in love can happen even with shaky foundations; Loving someone can weather any storm. When you’re in love with someone, that doesn’t automatically imply a strong foundation or longevity in your relationship. That means that coming up against tough times may prove to be fatal for a couple. However, when you love someone, you’re connected on a deeper level and have a stronger bond that’s more likely to get you through any obstacles.
- Loving someone is all about connection and comfort; being in love is based in desire. Love is one of the purest emotions you can experience and it implies a deep, abiding bond with another person and the comfort of being known and accepted for who you are. However, just because you’re head over heels for someone doesn’t mean that connection is there. Instead, it’s based more on physical desire and almost primal need to be with the other person.
- Being in love makes it hard to be away from them; loving someone offers the other person space. When you love someone, there’s no urgency to that feeling. You know it’s always going to be there and that it’s okay to take a step back and let it (and your partner) breathe. That’s not the case when you fall for someone. You’re suddenly desperate to be with them every second of the day lest you somehow lose them. It’s agonizing and brutal and kind of the worst, to be honest.
- Loving someone is all about making them feel good; being in love is based on how they make you feel. It’s natural that you want someone you love to feel cared for, adored, and confident in all the wonderful traits they possess. That’s why you go out of your way to ensure you do your part in helping them achieve that. However, when you’re in love with someone, it’s a selfish emotion based on how they make you feel.
- Being in love makes you possessive; love allows you to be equal partners and individuals. When you first fall for someone, you can’t help but almost want to own them, to keep them close so that they never leave you. You want them all to yourself and will do anything to make that the case. When you chill out a little and simply learn to care for the other person, you realize that you’re both individuals with your own lives and personalities and that’s okay. This allows you to have a much healthier relationship that can last much longer.