You met someone. You can’t stop thinking about them. You want to spend every waking minute with them, talking to them, or talking about them to anyone that will listen. You feel high with emotion. This is so exciting! You’ve been waiting so long for this! It all seems too good to be true. Then, the question creeps up on you. Is this love or is this lust? How do you know?
Well, first, what is love? According to the ancient Greeks, there are actually 4 types of love:
- Storge – kinship love
- Philia – friendship love
- Eros – romantic/sexual love
- Agape – divine love
Reading those, it seems crazy that English only has one word that is supposed to encompass it all. Love is such an intricate and complicated emotion with so many different levels.
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about “eros,” or romantic love. Arriving at that state of bliss can take many different paths. Some couples start out as friends and become pleasantly surprised when they catch a spark of desire in each other’s eyes. Other couples meet and instantly feel attracted to one another. Others break up and make up multiple times before truly falling in love.
And some couples think they are in love but over time, find out it wasn’t the kind of love that lasts.
Here are some telltale signs that attraction is turning into love:
- You look forward to being with him or her
- You prioritize your time together
- You give up opportunities to do fun stuff because you’d rather be with him/her
- You genuinely care about his/her thoughts and feelings
- You think about him/her when he’s not around
- You find his/her imperfections cute
- You start thinking about a future together
- You feel like a better person when he/she is around
- You want to see him/her thrive and grow for their own sake rather than for your own benefit
Another thing about love, that many people miss, is that love doesn’t have to be crazy and sudden and full of passion. There is this Hollywood notion that suggests true love is always a roller-coaster ride and you have to be falling over yourself and unable to speak in the presence of “The One.” Sometimes love develops slowly over time and you don’t even realize it’s happened until one day you realize you can’t imagine your life without this person. It doesn’t make for a very exciting movie but the slow and steady love can make for a great life.
However, here’s the rub: Just because you are attracted to someone, or even in love with them, doesn’t make them right for you.
In fact, there is evidence to suggest that attraction is an unconscious process, and it stems mostly from unhealed childhood wounds. In other words, sometimes we are attracted to others because of unhealthy family patterns that we were exposed to in early life. Our unconscious mind attracts certain people to us so that we can heal those wounds, but that doesn’t mean that those people are meant to be our life partners!
I mention this because I’ve seen many clients struggle to form healthy relationships because they continually seek out unhealthy partners who they feel strongly attracted to while ignoring possible healthy connections because “the initial spark wasn’t there.” Maybe true love isn’t about the spark at all. Maybe, it’s more about feeling comfortable with that special someone who doesn’t judge you for being you.
That’s the thing about love. It’s really hard to define.
If you would like to ponder more about falling in love, being in love, or simply understanding what love is, contact me. This is my favorite topic!