LOVE is a big word.
Ok, so it’s only 4 letters long, but we mean that it’s a word that means a lot.
So now you’ve got to ask yourself, what is love, and am I in it? Before we can say what love is, we’re going to compare it to what it isn’t.
Love vs. Infatuation
Infatuation (In-FAT-yoo-ay-shun) is another way of saying “puppy love.” Infatuation is temporary and based on feelings. You might have heard the phrase “He gave me butterflies.” That’s just another way of saying that there is an excitement in this relationship. Things are going great, everything is new, and you can’t bear to spend any time apart.
This is all well and good, but what happens once that excitement fades? You’ve been dating for a little while, and you’re used to each other. What now? The butterflies are gone. What’s left?
Relationships that play out like this are based on infatuation. We said earlier that infatuation is based on feelings. Well, feelings can change. If the sole basis of your relationship is how happy you are right now, what happens to your relationship when you’re not as happy tomorrow?
Some other descriptors of infatuation include:
- Selfish – You’re usually thinking about what you can get out of the relationship or what makes you feel good.
- Almost always leaps quickly into bloom – you’ve surely heard someone say, “We fell in love.” Truth is, you “fall” into infatuation. Real love isn’t an automatic thing.
- Based on sex or physical attraction – if the basis of your relationship is sex, what happens when you stop having sex? The relationship is doomed to fail.
- Feel you must get married right away – Usually with relationships based on infatuation, there is a feeling of uncertainty, so these couples feel the urge to hurry up and get married, so they won’t lose the other person.
- In love with the idea of love – You know those girls who seem to ALWAYS be in a relationship with someone? Like they always have to have a boyfriend for the sole purpose of having a boyfriend. This is what we’re talking about here. Instead of being in love with a person, they’re in love with the idea of being in a relationship.
So what is real love?
Love. So often difficult to describe, because we all think we have a grasp on it. We’ll try our best here to sort things out. Love is lasting. It’s unselfish giving. It’s the relationship where you are constantly trying to do things to make the other person happy, with no ulterior motives. It’s something that you grow into. Some other descriptors of love are:
- Unselfish – Like we said already, you’re constantly thinking of ways to make the other person happy.
- Takes root slowly, grows with time – There’s no “falling” here. Because love isn’t based on something like looks. Love has to start small and grow.
- Based on shared experiences, beliefs, or attitudes – Stuff you have in common. It’s great to base your relationship on things like this. If you are dating someone only because of their looks, what happens when their looks fade? If the relationship is based on something deeper, it has a greater chance of succeeding.
- Know you can wait to marry – Relationships built on love are bound with trust. There is no uncertainty or jealousy here. If you know you love someone and they love you back, what’s the hurry? Real love won’t go away if it’s really real love.
- A decision – This is perhaps the most important description of love. Love is a decision because sometimes it’s not easy to love the person you love. Maybe they did something to drive you insane! But think about it: you probably aggravate your parents from time to time, but they still choose to love you. Love means being devoted to that person regardless of the present circumstances.
So now what?
Hopefully by reading this you understand what true love is. So now ask yourself: Am I in love? Or is it infatuation? Or, if you’re not in a relationship, think about friends that are dating – are they really in love?
Save yourself a lot of heartache later, don’t jump in to telling someone you love them unless you’re sure you mean it. Love is a big word with a big meaning. Make sure it’s real.