Like a lot of our readers, I read a lot of dating blogs. One of my favorite bloggers is Evan Marc Katz, whom some of you may be familiar with for having written ‘Why You’re Still Single’. Although he’s no longer single, as he is married to a woman he met online, he still gives excellent dating advice to his readers while keeping his blog just as vibrant as ever.
One such advice column is ‘Is It Ok To Love Someone But Not Be In Love’. In it, there is an example of a man, asking what his girlfriend meant when she told him that she loves him but isn’t “in love” with him anymore, and how that affects their plans to buy a house and marry within the next year. Katz’s response to the reader is very explicit: there is a difference between being in love with someone and loving someone, but from this short intro into the topic.
The feeling of being “in love”, and how it can blind us to the partnership of our dreams. Danish people have two ways of saying I love you, and it actually is a big difference when they say “I am in love with you” (jeg er forelsket i dig) and “I love you” (jeg elsker dig), as the first is very specific and intimate, whereas the second can be attributed to a lot of things. Katz’s blog posting got me thinking about this elusive but oh-so-wonderful feeling, and how we know that we’re in love in the first place. However, is saying to someone that you care for them deeply but aren’t feeling that passionate oozy goodness anymore really a bad thing, or is it more an evolution of what truly loving someone is?
Love evolves, similar to what researchers have found when reviewing long term relationships and how feelings change throughout the lifetime of a relationship. There is the ‘honeymoon’ period, which can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to 18 months or so, where the “in love” feelings are the most present. The highs are incredibly high, the lows are sometimes a bit scary, and as a whole it’s a pretty powerful, earth-shattering feeling. This is the stage where people act more impulsively than normal, and say things that they normally wouldn’t.
Afterwards, most of us move into a more stable type of love, if the relationship can last through that crazy “in love’ process: something more dependable, resilient and unconditional appears. It’s the kind of love you know you can spend the rest of your life basking in, enjoying and growing old with.
For some of us, moving from the one stage to the other might feel a bit like ‘falling out of love’, or not being ‘in love’ anymore. For others, a crash, not unlike from a sugar high, and we crave more of that high again, so we seek it out elsewhere. Although I have yet to read any scientific proof that coincides with my feelings on this topic, it’s just my guess that this is why, and when, many relationships go south. To me, this is the stage where love becomes a choice and not a wave to ride, and for some of us that wave is a bit too heady and exciting to not live with every single day of our lives. But is it realistic to think that we can find that, or are we ending perfectly good, stable, loving relationships in search of it?