Loving someone and being in love with someone are similar feelings but they also have important differences worth noting.
Many people are unable to tell those differences, which results in unnecessary confusion for both parties.
Relationship expert Kemi Sogunle says, “Being in love with someone can stem from infatuation, possessiveness, and obsession. Loving someone on the other hand, goes beyond the physical presence. You desire to see them grow, you see past their flaws, you see opportunities of building into each other and together; you motivate, encourage and inspire one another.”
So if you are wondering whether you love someone or you’re in love with them, the following list can help you figure that out
1. Loving someone is not a choice
How can you tell the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone?
Firstly, you cannot choose to be in love with someone. It’s a force which takes control of you.
Sometimes it takes you by surprise and happens quickly. Other times love forms over time and you find yourself needing to be with someone.
You love your parents but you aren’t in love with them.
Writer, entrepreneur Paul Hudson says, “You need him or her to be a part of your life in some way or another, not because you want to own a piece of this person, but because you want to give him or her a piece of yourself; loving someone is deeming him or her worthy of owning a part of you.
2. Being in love means putting them first
Are you prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to make them happy? When you’re in love you put each other’s needs first for that to happen. Maybe you chip in some extra cash for the rent so they can get through college, or take some extra shifts to walk the dog in the morning because you know they like to sleep in, and vice-versa.
By putting each other’s needs first you accomplish much more than when everyone’s fending for themselves.
3. The difference between ownership and partnership
Your parents love you because, to a certain extent, they own you. You love your siblings and your best friend. But when you fall in love with your best friend (it can sometimes happen) you realize that it’s about building a partnership.
A lot of trust and vulnerability is needed when being in love with someone and your responses have to be equal.
Being in love with someone is about much more than ownership.
ing“If you find yourself caring for your partner but not desire them, caring for your partner but not needing to be close to them, caring for your partner but not wanting to share with them, you may love your partner but not be in love with them.”, says clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow.
4. Being in love means giving them the space they need to be truly happy
When you’re in love you feel good about having them around you, and you never want to part. However, you should be willing to provide them with the personal freedom they need to not feel confined. You’re ready to make the sacrifice of not having them around all the time if they’re going to be somewhere safe and happy, and among friends or family.
Having a balanced, happy life means that your partner can spend some time away from you and you know and accept that.
5. Being in love is forever
Love could end at any moment. They can do something annoying, or you get in a serious fight, and before you know it, you don’t love them anymore. But being in love isn’t that unstable. It stays through the fights and the crisis. When the honeymoon is over and life takes the shape of routine, only the relationship where you’re truly in love will continue to be a happy one. You won’t need constant excitement, because your feelings are real without it.
Closing thought by Robert A. Heinlein:
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”