It’s Time We Start Treating Love Like A Decision Rather Than A Feeling

I’m tired of hearing that love is a feeling from people and that we need to keep that feeling alive in a relationship. Sure, we can remember that warm, fuzzy feeling or that “butterflies in the stomach” sensation we get while looking at a crush, but I’m not sure that’s love. No, I believe that love isn’t a feeling — I think it’s a decision, and once you hear me out, you might see it that way too.

  1. Love is choosing to do something to make someone else happier for altruistic reasons. A hug for a grieving friend shows love. Planting a garden of roses for your neighbors shows love. Being there when no one else will shows a lot of love. These things bring people joy, and isn’t the end game of love supposed to be about seeing someone smile? Moreover, real love doesn’t come with strings attached. It’s done from the heart because you just care about that person.
  2. Actions say a lot more about how you regard a person than just having a feeling for them. You can get all the warm and fuzzies in the world, but that won’t help the person you supposedly love in any real, lasting way. Deciding to do something to make their life easier in a small or large way will, however, and that’s what really counts. You can say you love someone to the end of the earth and even feel it deep down, but it counts for nothing if you don’t use that to spur yourself into action.
  3. The actual feeling of love can change form. You know how you have a “honeymoon phase” at the beginning of every relationship and how that tends to fade into a comfortable familiarity after a while? You would agree that both feelings can be described as love, right? How we feel love changes form, which is why we can love our husbands, mothers, and children differently.
  4. When you break up with someone, you’re deciding you no longer want to be there to make them happy. That’s the most basic definition of a breakup. Think about it. You’re deciding to leave. Leaving would hurt your partner, but that’s what’s going to happen because at that point, you don’t care enough to stay. That says a lot about your choice to love them; the love there is gone and staying wouldn’t make sense for either of you. You might still have a fondness for the time you spent with them, but your decision to end things regardless takes precedence.
  5. When a partner abuses you or neglects you, they’re showing you that they don’t love you. If they loved you, they would want to make you happy instead of miserable. Realizing that they don’t care about you the way you care about them often makes it easier for you to leave — and that’s all the more reason to have this mentality.
  6. When your partner actively ignores the fact that something is making you uncomfortable, they’re proving they don’t really love you. People prioritize that which they care about. If they love someone more than you, they’ll make their relationship with them a priority over their relationship with you. If they care about drugs more than you, they’ll choose the drugs over you. If you really think about it, it’s usually pretty easy to see where you stand in terms of someone’s love. That’s a conscious choice.
  7. When you choose to stand by someone through hard times, you’re showing that you love them a whole lot. Every day you choose to be with someone, you’re telling them that you love them with your actions, and that’s really what it’s all about. Every day that your partner tries to help you out, or is there for you, they’re saying they love you.
  8. Love is rare, but “warm fuzzies” aren’t. I get warm, fuzzy feelings from a lot of people and memories. However, not many times do you actually see serious gestures of love among people. Think about it this way — you might feel that good emotion seeing a friend from time to time, but would you go so far as to give that friend shelter if she’s out on the street? Most people wouldn’t love enough to do that.
  9. Love is what you do, not what you feel. I truly believe that action belies emotion. Love, in its purest form, is an action. That’s why people say “I love you” rather than “I feel love for you.” If you look at what people are doing around you, you might be able to see a lot more about what they really feel about you.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.