"In Love" vs. Love. Thoughts?

  • I had this lengthy conversation with a reader about this topic. About being in love vs just loving someone. I disagreed with a lot of what they said.

    The reason this came up is b/c my BF whom I lived with for 2 years broke up with me and then later told me that one of the reasons he broke up with me is b/c he reconnected with a married woman he had dated 10 years ago. When they met up again for coffee, he said there was so much tension between them and she told him she had always been in love with him and wants to be with him. He then told me that she had always been one of the two women he's ever been in love with. Note: the woman is still married.

    Well, this reader was telling me that when you are "in love" with them, you feel like you can't live without them and you want to spend every minute with them. However, I have been in relationships before and I feel that spending every minute with someone is a little healthy. I think people need to have their own lives - rather than having everything in their lives revolving around their SO. Now, what's interesting is that previous long-term BF's I've had have told me they felt that I was too independent and didn't "need" them. With this BF, it was the opposite. He claims he felt I needed him too much in a way. (Part of that is b/c I moved to a different state to be with him and I don't drive and the public transportation here is pretty dismal for a large city)

    We actually did spend just about every minute together other than when he was at work. Of course, when I'd joke around about him cheating (b/c I never suspected that he was), he'd ask when he would have time to cheat since he came home for lunch every day and came home directly from work every day since we lived 5 mins from his job. I only became suspicious when he starting working through lunch a lot more.

    Anyway - just wondering what you all on here think. Is there a difference b/w being in love and loving your SO or is that just a big fallacy.

  • All I can say about being "in love" VS loving someone is that love is not an emotion it is an action. I know that it took a lot of years and a few experiences for me to fully realize this. When we are "in love" our hormones are raging, we feel all emotional and such. ya know like the "warm fuzzies". This is when we tend to decide if we are going to take action and attempt to love the other person.

    So this is what the action of love looks like for me. When I decide to love someone, I put their needs above mine and expect them to do the same for me so it all balances its self out. I focus on making their life better and again expect the same from them. I trust them with my innermost secrets and expect the same from them. I am loyal to them and expect the same from them. I keep my boundaries in tact and expect the same from them. See where I am getting at? Love is a series of actions and choices. When someone decided not to join in, then i know that the love is not there and must move on even if i still feel the chemistry and hormones of being "in love" with them.

    Does this help any?

  • I totally agree w/Topaz......Very well said by the way. When you really love someone it's your actions that will be noticed above all. And you do, & should, expect the same in return from them. There's a saying....."Why make someone a priority if they're only going to make you their option"? In real true love you're not an option; you're a #1 priority! However, being a priority doesn't mean spending every waking moment together. You have to have your own separate lives, friends, hobbies, interests, etc. Anyone can be in love/lust for a few hours/days/weeks maybe even a few months but real true love goes beyone that. You can be ANYWHERE when your life begins & you find the right person. It's just sad that so many people will find every excuse in the book & how to conduct their lives so they don't have to feel.......especially when love is everybody's right. Too many times peopple run scared & fall into the love/lust trap. Sex does not equal love.

  • Hi, Well, you didn't cheat so why is he focusing on you. Almost sounds like he likes to play games. If she "loves" him as much as she says, then she'll leave her husband. Don't see it happening. There's issues she's dealing with. Anyway, that doesn't matter.

    Love is patient, Love is kind, and is not jealous, love doesn't brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecominly; does not seek it's own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices w/the truth.......1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

  • Why is who focusing on me? The reader who gave me the reading??

    As for the other comments, I totally agree with those comments. That's how I view love.

    But, that's why I'm confused about what my ex and this woman he is with view as love. How can she be telling him that she is in love with him and always has been and vice versa? She didn't leave her husband for him 10 years ago so how in love with him can she be? She says it's b/c of the kids who are teenagers. Well, to me, you are doing more harm to your children by sneaking around and betraying and lying to their father, your husband. It seems she views it as love b/c of the fact that she is willing to risk that and see him, my ex BF, on the sly and that somehow that risk is something you only take when you're madly in love.

    And as for him, I don't get how he can say he's in love with her when 10 years ago, she was one of 3 women he was seeing. They never did traditional dating things b/c she was married. Yes, he ended our relationship so that he could be with her but how can he even really be with her when she's not truly available?

    It's like people I know that claim to be in love with someone that they've never even met in person. To me, that is impossible. How can you love someone when you don't spend signficant time with them, when you haven't seen them or been with them through tough times and good. When you don't know their family or their friends. Don't see those interactions which often tell you a lot about a person.

    But that reader made it seem like I'm the one who doesn't know what love is.

  • Again. There is a difference between "in love" and love. At this point it sounds like you are just having problems moving on. You loved him and in return he showed someone else love...yes it SUCKS. But he is living his life and there is nothing you can do but pick yourself up, dust yourself off, do what you need to do to recover from the loss of someone you showed love too..and move on. We will never have ALL the answers we want or need when a relationship ends. that's part of life. It is harder then it sounds..I know..believe me..this exact thing happened to me about a year ago. he broke my spirit and it took a long time to get over it but I did. And I believe that real healthy love is possible again for me..and it will be fore you too.

  • Wow! That hurts, and sucks, but most important, it's over!

    It does not matter why she did what she did, and what he is thinking by going back to her.

    He is gone, and you have to move on. It is very hard, but you need to be open for the one that will be in love with you. That person is out there, get ready for the love in your life to come.


  • No, that's not my issue. I'm not dwelling on him or the past. I guess my question wasn't clear. My question was about whether or not there is a difference between being in love and loving someone. My point is that I don't think there IS a difference. I think that people mistake those "warm fuzzies" for being "in love." But those warm fuzzies don't last forever. Relationships face challenges and you have to work on them.

    So my question is a generic one. About whether or not there is a difference. I"ve been in longterm relationships and I've never differentiated between loving the person I was with and being "in love."

    I tend to be a philosophical and practical person so maybe my question is too abstract?

    Again, to clarify, my question was not about my past relationship. I used that as an example to illustrate how someone differentiated the two theories, if they are indeed theories.

  • MoonTarot -

    🙂 If humans knew the answer to your question, we'd have saved ourselves a great deal of heartache over the centuries. I guess for myself, I think there's levels beyond the either-or of love/in-love. I mean, I have experienced simply loving someone, putting their needs above my own, caring deeply about their good. I have also experienced the hormonal lust that is often classified as "in love" in our culture, the passion, the craving for the other's presence. I think the thing that many of us hunger for, though, is a melding of those two conditions. We want to feel passionate and, well, hot, about our SO, but we also want the caring and sharing. The myth (fairy tale, hopeful ideal, you call it) of romantic love tells us - at least in the West - that we can have it all, & that if we can't have it all, then what we have isn't really worth much. We have to learn that love, in any of its forms, really is worth it, whether long or short term, even if it isn't the ideal. Yah, I wandered pretty far afield on that one...

    Short version: Yes, there is a difference. Sometimes one becomes the other and sometimes the two never touch.

    Sigh. If this answer is as clear as mud, remember that first sentence?


  • Hi again, No, I don't think there is a difference. But, TO SOME PEOPLE there is. Form your own opinions, I think your on the right track. I don't think you knew your b/f as well as you thought. He betrayed your trust. I have talked with and heard "the guys" talk about women and relationships. Some guys view this as a way to avoid commitment. They can take the woman out, have fun and then not worry about the rest because she is going "home." And a lot of men aren't going to turn down a "good time." I just get the feeling from this that she is having problems at home and wants a shoulder to cry on. And, I think he is non-commital. You are right about getting to know a person etc. Cheaters can come up w/any excuse in the book. It doesn't necessarily mean it's true. That's what I mean that he's focusing on you. I mean take a good look at him. I would totally forget this one.

  • Okay everyone, lol, this is what I think....I think when you first meet someone and they make you all warm and gooshy inside and you can't spend another moment doing anything but talking with them, wanting to see them, or spending your every moment thinking of them, that is being "in Love". Like how most everyone feels when they first start their relationships. However, whether or not you stay in love, depends on how close you keep your relationship. You can lose those "in Love" feelings after a bit of being together, doesn't mean you don't "love" the person though. Loving someone is making them your priority, doing good for them, staying loyal and honest. I think two ppl can love eachother and stay in love if they work at it. It doesn't just stay that way. A good relationship is based on how well you communicate, trust eachother, and help one another out in good times and in bad. So yes, I say there is a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone, but it depends on either keeping the in love feeling which you work on, or just accept the love part without all the mooshy gooshy stuff, lol.

  • I couldn't agree with you more olstoro. You can love someone without being in love with them, but you can't be in love with someone without loving them. Too many people seem to use the term "I fell out of Love". Love isn't something you fall in and out of. Love is something that either grows romanticly (ie physical/I need you in my life and by my side) or stays still. I married because I felt pressured to do so and keep the family happy. Was I in love with him no, did I love him, yes. He is the father of my child. Now my child is finishing school and loveing someone as opposed to being in love with them isn't enough. So yes there is a differance, I wouldn't be ready leave if I didn't think there was. Will I find love again, oh yea I know I will. Will I ever marry again, maybe, but it will be because I am drop dead, head over hills, pie in the sky in love with the person.

    Girl you have alot of people on here giveing you some good advice, don't get mad if some of us get off track, take all those words and live your life because you are hanging onto "how can she be with him if she is still married and how can he say he loves her is she was one of 3" stuff. One persons idea of Love can be so far off from anothers, does that help?

  • Just wanted to update this thread. Apparently, the exBF and the married woman ended things in December when her husband found out.

    He started dating a new girl at the end of January. Yet another woman from the past. This time, a girl he had a class with 20 years ago in high school.

    About a month and a half ago, I sent him a nice letter explaining my hurt and lettting him know that I'd forgiven him. My mom had recently died in a tragic way and I wanted to make amends.

    Since that letter, we started becoming friendly again. I had to end it though when he started admitting there was still a physical attraction and that he did care about me still. Too many mixed messages.

  • I personally wouldn't have contacted him again...even if I had forgiven him. But that's me! I do feel though that you were right to end it again because it would have been a vicious circle...he would have gotten your trust again and then unceremonially dumped you again when somebody else tickled his fancy. You are so better off away from him. Don't go back to your past ..head for the future!

    I was thinking about your original question this morning....I can count at least 3 times I have met someone and the physical attraction and sparks are electrifying BUT nothing happened beyond our initial meeting. Yet when I physically and mentally connect with someone and the feeling is mutual....to the point that at first I daydream about this person, get butterflies etc...that is me "in love" ....after a year or so that "love" should deepen ...it may not be as "lushy" but you should still feel something when you look at a photo or watch them sleep, just enjoying their company or when you're apart you should look forward to seeing them and relating your day or experience. Being comfortable with each other, feeling sad when they're sad etc etc. Also, if you pretend you're single and look at your partner and still "fancy" him/her even after many years. That to me is "love".

  • My comment and observations here may seem simplisitic but..... I feel there is a huge difference....

    I stll Love all but one of my Ex gf's. However I'm not IN LOVE with any of them.. I care a great deal

    about them.. They know if refuge or safety is ever needed I am the one to call . No harm

    would ever come to them while in my presence....However.. I no longer desire them or want anything

    more than the great platonic friendship we share. I share the In Love sentiment of wanting to spend

    as much time with that person as possible & the actual physical pain that is present when apart..

    Wanting to be with them more than anywhere else in the world... that's how I differentiate the two anyway.

  • Love vs In Love:

    2 very different feelings. I have been in a relationship for 12 years and I love him and care about his needs. I am tied to him emotionally, physically and financially. But I'm not in love with him anymore. Something happened and my attention turned to someone else, we've worked together for 8 years and one day about a year ago he looked at me, I looked at him and everything changed for me in that one moment. I can't stop thinking about him. I get all flustered when I see him. My mind goes blank. I cant concentrate and It's wonderful. I feel young and alive. But.. of course he is married w/ children. I am committed in my long term relationship, we both have obligations. I know he has feelings for me also but we work hard to keep from reacting on them. It's forbidden. So theres a difference between love and in love, its physical and its real.

  • Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like and earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides , you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together, that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just "being in love", which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident--having roots that grow toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from our branches. We found that we were one tree and not two.

    From 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'

  • Hi, Responding to the original post. It seems this guy has trouble distinguishing between Love or Lust. It's safer to go backwards than forwards. That seems like the only thing that is somewhat predictable about him. Your better off w/o him.

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