You may think you’ve been in love before, but have you really? Here’s what the experience of being head over heels with someone for real is really like.
It means acceptance.
When you love someone, you accept them as they are. You don’t even dare to try to change them because you don’t want to change them. You love their quirks, which are likely to become annoying in time, but it’s that annoyance you sign up for when you fall in love. You enjoy the annoyance and find charm in all those ridiculous idiosyncrasies—the stuff that makes your friends roll their eyes.
It means selflessness.
While there is a middle ground between selfishness and selflessness, when you’re in love, you lean far more toward selflessness when it comes to the person you love. While this doesn’t mean you ignore your wants and needs, which you should never do in a relationship, it does mean that when it comes to your partner, you’re selfless in your behavior and approach, meaning you take into consideration how what you do and say will affect them.
It means giving your partner space.
Something that echoes a similar sentiment to selflessness in its own way is stepping back and allowing your partner to grow. Even if you’re one of those people who wants to be with your partner 24/7, all people need alone time and space to gather their thoughts, read, travel alone, or even just sit in silence.
It means taking the good with the bad.
No one is perfect and if you actually did meet someone who was perfect, there’s a very good chance you’d be bored in no time. When you’re in love, you take all the good knowing full well that the good stuff can’t exist without the bad stuff. This isn’t just a reality about relationships but the reality of life too.
It means willing to compromise.
If you love someone, you want to meet them in the middle. While there may be cases where you’re on one side of the spectrum and they’re on the other, love means finding a middle ground, which is just another word for compromise.
It means apologizing.
Being in love means when you eff up you apologize. You take responsibility for what you did and in turn, when your partner messes up and apologizes to you, you accept that apology.
It means making sacrifices.
Am I suggesting you need offer up your liver to your partner? No, not at all, but still being in love means sacrifices should follow. If there’s one slice of pizza left and both you and your partner want it? When you love someone, you give that last slice to them no matter what. In fact, when you’re really in love, as in still in that honeymoon phase, there’s actually a very strong possibility that you won’t even think about claiming that pizza as yours. In your mind, the last slice belongs to the person you love.
It means honesty.
Sometimes the truth hurts but so does love. When you love someone, you tell them the truth. It doesn’t matter if that truth might break your relationship, like an affair, or if it’s something smaller like maybe your partner’s attempt at confit de canard doesn’t taste exactly as Julia Child intended. Once you tell one lie, lies become easier and easier to tell. Keeping it honest from the get-go can help avoid issues later. Being honest is also a sign of respect.
It means trust.
If you’re someone whose trust has been broken even once, learning to trust again can feel impossible. But when we fall in love, we take a risk. In fact, we take many risks and one of those risks is putting ourselves out there and trying to trust again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
It means emotional support.
Listen, we all have our dreams and goals and no one ever said that these things have to be 100 percent realistic. When you love someone, you give them the emotional support they need to either wholeheartedly pursue those dreams or at least dip their toes in the water of those dreams. Giving someone emotional support means also giving them hope and we all need hope.
It means arguing.
Couples argue, especially the couples that care about each other and about the relationship. It’s healthy to argue fairly regularly because without it, things get pent up and then there’s an explosion. When couples explode at each other, far too many hurtful and even cruel things can be said. This is something you want to avoid.
It means reaching a resolution.
Not only does being in love mean reaching a resolution, it means wanting to reach a resolution. It doesn’t matter how big or small the argument was, being in love means wanting to work things out, talk things through, hear and understand both sides, and reach a resolution. Ultimately, being in love means never going to bed angry and realizing it takes a lot of work.
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