Being in love with someone is such a wonderful feeling, as I’m sure many people can relate. It can be so intense that you feel there can’t be much more to love than this, but you’d be wrong. For a word as strong as love is, it has been misused and mistaken time and again for what it isn’t – being in love.
If you’ve ever fallen head over heels for someone and had to end things because some ‘veil’ lifted, you wouldn’t be the first or the last. Many of us mistake the rushy feeling that is being in love with the very different one that is actual love because we don’t know any better.
I, for one, was confused for several years on the subject until (I dare say) I saw the light. How do you know you’re in love? Is there a difference between what love means and falling in love with someone? What is in love and how do you know you love someone?
Those may be a few questions you’ve asked yourself at some point. Hopefully, with the following comparisons, you too would be able to know what love means and its difference from being in love with someone.
Novelty is one of the biggest appeals of being in love with someone. It’s new, and very few things in the world can actually compare to the ecstasy the feeling brings. When you’re in love with someone, you feel excited about the littlest things that concern them, and they somehow manage to consume your thoughts even while interacting with others.
Loving someone, on the other hand, is a lot less exciting, most of the time. It is a feeling that grows on you and gets deeper as time passes, so that eliminates the newness. The exhilaration that being in love gives you is replaced by a more familiar and profound emotion when it graduates to true love.
How do you know when you’re in love with someone? Well, it depends on the quality and longevity of the relationship. The sheer intensity of being in love makes expecting it to last unrealistic. Although some couples in long-term relationships still describe their affection for each other to be as sizzling hot as the beginning.
They are the exception, as the concept of the ‘in love’ feeling isn’t to endure forever.
However, genuine love thrives in endurance. It can persist in a relationship even without you necessarily feeling in love with your partner anymore. People fall out of love all the time, but it is a lot harder to put an end to true love.
The best wine in Bordeaux has got nothing on the intoxication that being in love makes you feel. You feel like you have the world narrowed down to your relationship with this person, while at the same time thinking the possibilities are endless. Things tend to get a little tricky, though, when the high clears.
In contrast, loving your partner is a steadier emotion, and the person you love would testify to this too. You don’t necessarily feel drunk in love, but you’re more assured in it. The former makes you nervous and anxious about where it’s going, while the latter is calmer and feels more like you’ve reached your destination.
When you’re in love with someone, your happiness becomes directly linked to their presence. You get excited when they are around and feel incomplete when they are not. Love is a bit like this too, except it doesn’t necessarily feel needy in their absence.
When you love someone, their happiness gives you joy, and you do whatever you can when they are sad to make sure they don’t remain that way. However, compared to the person in love whose wants tend to get pushed to the back to suit their partner, love is more interdependent than dependent.
As cliché as this line may sound, falling in love is indeed not a choice. It’s another one of those things that just happen. In it, you tend to want to succumb to your feelings and let the butterflies in your belly take the lead in your decisions.
However, being in love with someone isn’t necessarily long-term love. The fluttering eventually stops. You have to choose to nurture the connection for it to grow into lasting love. That means committing yourself to stick with that person even after the last butterfly is long gone.
When in love, nothing ever feels right unless you’re with your partner. You want nothing more than to spend every waking minute (and most of your sleeping hours) just taking them in. You may feel like there’s so much to explore and so little time to do those things with your partner. However, if the person you love doesn’t reciprocate that love and affection, it may spell doom for the relationship.
You hardly see someone in a long-term relationship get this obsessed with spending every minute with their partner because that phase has passed. At this stage, loving someone becomes much deeper than that.
Yes, they place importance on spending time with each other, but when you’re in love, it’s the quality, not the quantity. That connection grows deep enough to thrive without seeing or talking to each other all the time, and that right there is love.
Your emotions may feel like all the fuel you need to keep the ‘ship sailing’ when in love. It takes zero effort, too, and you may even start to wonder what others do wrong in their relationship to ever peg it as hard. Unfortunately, when you give your love to someone, no matter how good the relationship is, it can never be all a cruise.
The longer you stay with someone you’re in love with, the clearer your view of them gets, and you won’t always like what you see. Loving the person after the rose tint clears takes effort, patience, and other similar qualities. Otherwise, leaving them becomes tempting whenever someone better comes along.
Remember the analogy of the bird? Something about letting it fly away, and if it comes back, it means it loves you. Yep. That is hard to do when you’re in love with someone. You want to show the world that he’s yours, and there are just too many wolves out there to ever want to let them go.
When it’s love, you feel comfortable letting them fly because it’s more of a voluntary relationship. You can do your thing, and they can do theirs, but you eventually still find your back to each other because you’re a team by choice.
Ever been on a rollercoaster ride? In case you haven’t experienced what being in love feels like, that’s something to liken it to. Feelings tend to go really high at first, at which point the atmosphere around you and your love interest always seems charged with emotions.
However, when it crashes, it can feel just as low. You go from talking all the time about nothing and everything to barely speaking with each other. In comparison, loving someone feels less unstable. It’s not without its blue days, but the contrast isn’t quite as sharp.
Being in love is more like starting a journey that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’d get to your desired destination. Love, on the other hand, is that final place you hope to get to with someone when you fall in love with them.
With that in mind, spending time with someone you love goes to nurturing your connection and making your relationship flourish, unlike being merely in love when the feelings are loaded but superficial. You yearn for more of them because you are eager to see how far you can take what you have.
Being in love is not overrated, but it can make you feel like you’re up for more than you really are. To elaborate, when you get so smitten by someone that their love intoxicates you, you rate their importance to you based on how you feel.
You’d literally feel like you can do anything for that version of their person in your head when in reality, it’s just your hormones talking. When the secretions subside, so do the overwhelming emotions, and you realize it wasn’t that deep.
With love, the opposite actually tends to be the case. It’s not all-consuming or anything, but when you come close to losing them, you see it’s even more profound than you realized.
When you fall in love with someone, your life becomes ridden with anxiety as the feelings grow because losing them becomes something you actively fear. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been doing okay until this person came along, you can’t picture being without the warmth and color they bring.
So you’d worry and strive to remain on your best behavior. You’d arm yourself with wit and humor and struggle to keep them interested because losing that bond is simply inconceivable. You can relax with love because you must have gone through all that and done it right to even get there.
When in love, we tend to romanticize our partner and see things in terms of rainbows and roses and unicorns like in fairy tales. “He is so strong and pure,” “she would never do that.” You convince yourself they are better than others, and even little peeves are cute when someone you’re in love with does them because they’re special.
When smitten, we conveniently forget that this person is another human being prone to mistakes like the rest of us and place them on a pedestal. However, love is more realistic in that it takes the above into account, and falling short sometimes doesn’t become a dealbreaker.
New or not, you want the object of your affection to be happy. However, the difference between loving someone and being in love with them becomes evident in your approach. For the former, it feels nice to be the one who brings them joy, but it’s also okay if they find it elsewhere. What matters is that they are content.
However, someone in love can’t imagine another person making their lover happier than they can. You want them to have all the good things of life, but only as long as you remain in the picture.
The whole world could be against you when you are in love, and you wouldn’t care as long as your partner approves. This is also true for real love. However, one of these two people doesn’t have enough to go on yet, and so craves reassurance more than anything.
You constantly fret about your look, attitude, dress sense, and generally try to be your best self when you fall in love in hopes that they like it. You are always on guard because, God forbid, you mess up and make them lose interest. Genuine love is more secure and lets you feel comfortable being yourself.
Since their approval means so much to you when you’re just falling in love with a person, you go looking for ways that guarantee it. As far as connections go, it tends to happen faster when we see a part of ourselves in someone, hence the need for a shared interest.
You may be indifferent about something, then find yourself growing a dislike for it just because your new flame hates it. The same goes for what they like. Love doesn’t necessarily make you conform to your partner’s every interest, you can keep doing you as long as there’s common ground.
Another difference between loving someone and being in love with them is how time affects both emotions. The rush and heady feeling of the latter feel great initially, but it also pushes you to learn more, and the more you know, the less fiery it feels.
Your curiosity drives you to want to know more when in love, but the excitement also wanes as the mystery unravels. Once you make the crossover from idealism to a less desirable reality, the whole thing begins to lose its appeal. However, that is when love – in the real sense – starts to develop.
Talking about idealism, challenges don’t go well with it, making it a threat when in love. When difficulties come up (and they absolutely will), you can get shoved into the reality you so conveniently left behind a little faster than you’re ready for.
While this can be a total turnoff for the superficial lover, going through difficult times together actually brings people who have long-term love closer together.
When you are enamored with someone, patience would no longer be your strong suit when it comes to them. As highlighted in most of the above points, you want them, and every fiber of your being pushes you to go for it and make them yours.
You want a relationship, labels, something, anything that allows you to possess them because you can’t help it. Love is more systematic in its approach, and the long-term sustenance of your relationship is the ultimate priority.
Another way to tell loving someone apart from the other one is in the way you see and address each other. In love, you focus more on their good traits but ignore the less desirable ones.
Love doesn’t necessarily overlook the person’s flaws. Instead, it accepts the good and the bad as a whole and leads each partner to strive to be better without asking.
To sum it all up, being in love makes you feel like the center of attention, even when giving 100% of your own to your partner. You feel transcendent and elated and any other positive adjective you can come up with, and you get used to it.
However, truly loving someone isn’t focusing on those feelings. Rather, it shows in your constant drive to give this person the world. Making you feel great is nice, but you get your ultimate pleasure from reciprocating and doing your best to make them happy.
It is possible to love someone without being in love, although the latter usually stems from the former for a romantic relationship. Once you form a deep connection with someone, it can be hard to let go even when you don’t necessarily feel a spark with them anymore.
Loving someone is certainly more enduring than merely being smitten by them. Falling head over heels for somebody does not guarantee you’ll feel the same way tomorrow, let alone something more long-term like a relationship, but real love does. Even when it’s not the way you want.
One feeds the other, but they are not necessarily the same thing. Romance is a form of expressing love, not the only way. You can love someone in a non-romantic way, but cannot sustain romance in the absence of true affection.
A man can fall in love with another person despite being married, but he doesn’t truly love his wife if he acts on those feelings. So no, as we cannot call it love if you choose to hurt your partner by pursuing a relationship with someone else.
Loving someone means choosing them every day despite all odds, so yes, love is more than a feeling, it is a choice. When you love someone, you consciously decide to nurture your bond with them even when it doesn’t come naturally, or when circumstances make it hard.
What does ‘in love’ mean to you? Better put, have you also been mistaking it for loving someone all this while? Well, we learn every day. I hope you enjoyed going through my list. If you did, show some love by sharing the article and leaving a comment in the section below.