Books, Movies, TV shows, Poetry, Music, Art and pretty much anything you can think of, there’s one topic that is focused on more so than any other: Love. But what is love? It’s not something you can exactly bottle up and sell across a counter…no, love is very elusive, some people even question its existence. Is there such a thing as love at first sight, for example? The question has been asked since the dawn of humanity and now, step by step, we’re getting a little bit closer to unravelling the mystery of this incredibly strong emotion.
Saying “I love you” to a partner is a big step in a romantic relationship, but it’s important to know that the L-word can have more than one meaning. The difference between loving someone and being in love with them is a little tricky, however, a relationship expert has done his best to uncover the difference between the two.
What Is Love?
There’s no arguing the fact that you can love someone but not be in love with them. Your feelings can change over time, or they may not…a relationship expert was interviewed for a little further detail.
Susan Winter is a bestselling author and relationship expert in New York City who writes about, speaks on, and coaches individuals through relationship challenges.
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Susan was asked her about the difference between loving someone and being in love with them, and she shared her thoughts on the distinction.
“It’s easy to ‘love’ someone,” says Winter. “We overuse the word love, just like we overuse the word ‘friend.’ This term has been so watered down that most people with a fondness for someone are certain they love him or her.”
She talks about “generic love,” which she explains is an overall feeling of liking and being interested in someone. Generic love is conditional, however, according to Winter.
We can love spending time with our partner and then within weeks that glow will fade,” says Winter. “What happened? Our affection was whimsical because we weren’t ‘in love’ with them.”
Falling In Love: The Rules
It takes time to truly fall in love with someone. Whereas it’s easy to “love” someone in the early stages of dating, when everything is going great, more than likely that’s just lust. You need to experience ups and downs with a person before you can share true, unconditional love.
Love vs Lust?
Winter differentiates being in love from being in lust. “In love means that you’ve weathered the storms of your partner’s negative qualities, and still choose to remain in the relationship,” she says. “Your love is unconditional. It’s all-inclusive as you accept the positive and the negative aspects of your mate.”
Love in Conjunction With Time
Of course, you can grow to love someone more over time. If you love your partner but don’t feel like you’re in love with them, that doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship lacks chemistry. Perhaps it’s just too soon. Winter points to the case of arranged marriages as proof that two people can fall in love with time.
The Look of Love
“Real love takes a while to establish its roots,” she says. “It is indeed possible to love your mate more deeply and thoroughly over time.” As you get to know your partner better and discover both their strengths and their shortcomings, you can begin to determine the depth of your love for them. Maybe you do love them more platonically, or maybe you can see yourself falling madly in love with them.
When You Know You Know.
Love is a tricky concept, so don’t stress over the definition. When you’re really, truly in love with a person, you’ll likely be able to tell the difference.
Love At First Sight.
But what about love at first sight? Is this a concept that’s possible? Susan Winter puts that down to lust. Lust at first sight is a lot more plausible.
Love is Blind?
A Man’s Best Friend
And how about the love one has for a pet, now there I believe that love at first sight is possible. How can anyone not love a little puppy at firt sight?
We all know too well the feeling of heart break (if you don’t know that feeling, you are one lucky lucky person). I mean, is love even worth it, really, to put yourself at risk of that empty feeling when your heart gets broken…?
Unrequited love is something that’s been written about for centuries, the feeling is so horrendous it’s infamous across humanity…if that doesn’t make love real, then I don’t know what does.
One good way of getting over a relationship is taking to the freezer and reaching for the cold stuff…yup, the icecream. It’s always there for you.
How about animals, can they experience love. Some think it’s what seperates humans from animals, but other animals experience love, don’t they?
What about love across species? And I don’t mean the illegal kind…I mean the unconditional love we might have for a kitten, a dog or a horse. A member of the family and do they feel it back?
One form of love that is without a doubt real is the love we have for food….or is it lust? I don’t know…just pass that pizza.
Home is Where The Heart Is
Or the sense of belonging we have for our home. They do say that “home is where the heart is”, is this a form of love?
In Other Animals
What about our closest living ancestors, the great apes. Do they experience love, or a different form of it. Don’t we all need love to survive, a way of getting us to protect each other from others?
Otters have been spotted in the wild holding hands and they apparently mate for life! that’s longer than most humans do….
He’s Her Lobster
If the sitcom “Friends” is anything to go by, then lobsters also mate for life, holding claws deep in the sea, until they drop into the boiling water. What a sad ending.
Want to learn more about love? Well funnily enough there’s loads of films out there which depict it in some way, shape or form. Like The Notebook. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams doing all sorts of lovey dovey things.
Marley and Me
Bored of watching films about human love…what about Marley and Me…the love Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston have for that dog will bring a tear to your eye, I guarantee it.
One of the best love stories of all time supposedly. Dustin Hoffman and Katharina Ross just falling in love and stuff. Damn Hollywood, it makes it look so easy!
Oscar nominated (forbidden) love story about two cowboys in the mountains. Beautiful story starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.