My three-year-old, she repeats, “I love you, Mommy” throughout our day. Although I am accustomed to it, there is something about the phrase that makes my heart sing inside. Being loved is one of the most wonderful feelings you experience in life. Yet it is one of the most complex phrases in the human language. For example, is there a difference between “I love you” and “I am in love with you”?
The first time a man *or boy* told me he “loved me” is one of those moments I’ll never forget. Hearing those words from someone other than your parents *who you know have to love you*, is one of the strangest feelings on earth. Extremely electrifying, those words make you feel instantly vulnerable and exposed at the same time.
In practical terms, love means, “an intense feeling of deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship, passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation.” With so many adjectives to describe it, how do you know that what you feel is the same as what someone else is?
Loving someone versus being in love with someone
Love is a very complex thing. Made only more so by the fact that you can love someone and perhaps not be “in love” with them. That is the second meaning of the word love. When used as a verb, the word love means “to feel a deep romantic or s*xual attachment to (someone).” There are times when you can be with someone who clearly “loves” you, but doesn’t seem to be in love with you. That is where things get a bit hairy.
If you feel like perhaps you love your mate but are not “in love” with them, these are the ten questions to ask yourself before staying put or saying goodbye.
#1 Is your love just going through the natural stages? Every relationship goes through stages. When you first get together, there is the romantic phase where you simply can’t get enough of one another. As time progresses, you lose a little of that chemical attraction.
#2 Is there anything you can do to get the heat back? Sometimes you have to put in a little energy to get love back on track. Many couples make the mistake of thinking that being, and staying in love, happens naturally and without any effort. Anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship tells you that it takes work.
#3 Do you think that there would be a more satisfying relationship for you? If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, it may be that you sense there is something or someone better suited out there for you.
#4 Did you ever have romantic feelings? If you never had romantic feelings for the person you are with, then that is a sign it may not be the right relationship for a lifetime. There are some couples who have an excellent friendship and are fine without the s*xual aspect. They usually started out not having much chemistry to begin with. If you were crazy in love and s*xually turned on by someone at first, and then you wake up one day, and it is gone, you may feel in your heart like something isn’t meant to be.
#5 Are you staying out of fear? What if you don’t find someone? There is the potential if you leave the person you are with, you could end up alone. Even worse, you could leave them to find you really were in love after all, and they will have moved on.
#6 Are you staying out of guilt or because you don’t want to hurt the other person? If someone said to you tomorrow you are guaranteed to be happier with someone else, or that the person you are leaving behind would be just fine without you, then it would be an easy decision to make.
#7 Are you finding reasons to avoid being alone with them? If you are trying to find reasons not to be alone with them because you don’t have s*xual feelings for them, then you may want to rethink your relationship.
We all have nights when we don’t want to have s*x or aren’t in the mood. If you notice it is a perpetual thing, and you find yourself avoiding bed until after you hear them snoring, you may not be in love anymore.
#8 Do you know that moving along is inevitable? If you have to convince yourself to stay all the time, then there is a good chance you aren’t listening to your inner voice. Often, when we spend a great amount of energy trying to tell ourselves something, it is because we don’t agree with what we are selling ourselves.
#9 Are you jealous when you see them with others? Being jealous of other people in a relationship is natural. If you feel like you aren’t in love with them, but you don’t want them to have anyone else, that is jealousy. That ultimately is very selfish.
#10 When you picture your future, are they in it? If you are considering a future without the person you are with, it may mean you aren’t in love with them anymore. When you are in love, you can’t imagine being without the person you are with. When you love someone, they are the cornerstone of your future and your plans.