3 differences between falling in love with someone and actually loving them

When we are little, when we are at the growing phase of our life and when we’re just beginning to explore and learn about the things around us, there is one important thing that our parents, teachers and all the people we look up to for guidance miss out on! They forge to teach us about love- the one feeling that is bound to stay with us our entire lives in one way or another and the one feeling that has the potential to make or break our entire life.

I’ve noticed how the majority of people around me- the ones I’m close to and the ones who comfortably share the details of their love life with me- are constantly confused about whether the love they are experiencing in a relationship at a certain point in their life is going to lead to something more fulfilling and long-term. They wish to know whether this feeling where they seem to be falling more in love with another person after each passing day is just part of the initial honeymoon period (and is bound to fade away after a while) or if this love is actually real and more permanent, and if they’ve actually found ‘the one’.

I’m confident that most of you reading this article have also been in a similar kind of dilemma in life. We all want to be sure that the feelings we have right now will actually last. We all want to be content in knowing that the person standing in front of us is actually here for the long run. And we all wish to have a sure shot way of finding out whether the relationship we’re in is actually worth all the time and effort, and that it actually will amount to something in the future.

And I am here to provide you just that! Here are the three main differences between just falling in love with another person and actually loving them.

1. Desiring to have them in your life vs. desiring for them to get the complete best out of life

When you’re beginning to fall in love with someone, when all you wish to do is to talk to this new person day and night and get to know them inside out, when every single touch feels like an electrifying experience, and every word they utter causes butterflies in your stomach, it’s possible that you start to feel very dependent on their presence just so you can continue to feel extremely happy at all times. You feel like being with them is the only thing you need in life and when they’re not around, every single thing around you starts to feel pointless. While these feelings might be acceptable in the very beginning, they will turn into a problem if they continue to exist even months after you’ve been together.

In contrast to the above, when you actually love another person in a non-clingy and non-dependent healthy style, there is always an overwhelming desire inside you to make sure they’re always attaining the best and perfect experiences that life has to offer.

When you’re in a relationship with this person that you actually love, it starts to become your own personal duty to constantly help them learn and grow, and to make sure they reach the absolute fullest potential of their life and personality.

And if for some horrible reason or by some stroke of luck (some really bad luck), you’re not in a relationship with this person, you still continue to desire the best for them from far away and hope that they get to live the most fulfilling and complete life.

Real love is when you desire the absolute best for another person, even if the thing that’s best for them is to not end up in a relationship with you. Real love is never selfish. Real love is never conditional. Real love only hopes that the person in front of them keeps reaching higher and higher, without getting weighed down by anything or anyone in life.

So if you ever ended up thinking to yourself “I have never ever truly desired happier and better things for someone the way I constantly do for this one person”, then it’s probably that your love for this person is completely real and permanent.

2. Sudden fluctuations in love vs eventual growth over time

Do you feel like your life has become a complete rollercoaster ever since you started dating this new person? Have you noticed how you’re either completely and crazily in love with this person at one moment and then hating them in the very next? Are your feelings for them always at extremes and never at a constant peaceful state? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then what you’re experiencing at the moment is ‘passionate love’ according to the rules of social psychology.

This kind of love keeps soaring higher and higher in the first few months and then it starts to fade away. It’s the love that can only survive in the presence of excitement and burning passion. This love can only last till the honeymoon period- when there are still more things to discover about your partner, when you can’t seem to spend a minute away, and when their touch is the only thing you desire to feel. This is the part where you’re falling in love.

But when you actually love someone, what you experience is ‘companionate love’- the love that continues to grow steadily with time, the love that brings peace to your life instead of turning it upside down, the love that can truly last even when you’ve been with someone for years and years, even when their touch has become too familiar, and even when you’ve discovered each and every corner of their mind and soul.

3. You start to fall out of love with them once the chemical rush in your brain slows down vs your love only thrives and grows with each passing day

This is one of the most obvious signs- one that can be pretty hard to ignore. With time, the feelings you have for this person will either fade away or they won’t. Building a long-term relationship with a person requires more than just passion, more than just the excitement of their touch, and more than just a temporary rush of extreme emotions.

If you truly hope for a relationship to last, it’s essential for you to share an intellectual, physical, and emotional compatibility with your partner. And if you end up having just one of these or even two, it’s likely that you will continue to feel like there is something missing in the relationship, and like you need to have something more, something that can truly fulfill you.

So if you have noticed that the feelings you thought you had for your partner are starting to fade away pretty quickly after the end of the initial honeymoon period, then the situation you were in was simply one where you were falling in love.

But if you feel like time has just made your love for this person stronger and more permanent, if just the thought of them being happy makes you smile and feel content, and if you hope for them to get the absolute best in life regardless of the fact that they’re with you or not, then you actually love this person.
What’s important here is to understand that real love never holds a person hostage. Real love doesn’t set up conditions like,

“I will only continue loving you if you become mine/if you do things exactly as I say/if you keep me happy at all times.”
Real love liberates you. It sets you free to become the best possible version of yourself. It helps you see things more clearly in life than you ever did before. It allows you to get rid of the façade or the mask you had created for the entire world to see. And it makes you feel beautiful and praise-worthy as you start to accept and love all your flaws and imperfections.

Don’t take any drastic decisions based on the first few months of your relationship. Let the fire and passion in your heart burn out. Allow the chemicals in your brain to come back to their original concentrations. Take some time to really get to know the person you’re with. Get to know their mind more than their body. Look for the things that truly make them who they are.

And once you’ve done all of this, once you’ve allowed your feelings the time to settle down, and once you get out of the infatuation phase, just listen to what your mind and heart are trying to tell you. And you will clearly recognize whether your relationship can pass the above three tests and whether this person is truly meant for you.

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