If you’ve been on this planet long enough (by that, we mean 30 years or so) and you’ve been in at least a couple of relationships before, you’ve either said or heard the phrase “I love you. I’m just not in love with you.”
If you were on the giving side of the statement, you probably didn’t know exactly what you were trying to convey. And, if you were on the receiving end, you probably thought it was a bowl of crap that was being dished out to you.
Because really, if you love a person, what’s the difference between that and being “in love”? And why, once that distinction is made, does it seem like there is immediately a ticking clock on the relationship?
Hopefully, this article will bring at least a little clarity so that the next time you say it or hear it and one or both of you is like “What the heck is that supposed to mean?”, you have a reference point.
Love Is A General Word
Love is special in any form. Unfortunately, because we use it for so many things; “I LOVE chocolate ice cream,” “I LOVE this shade of nail polish,” and oh, “I LOVE my man.” Some people don’t realize that being loved at all is a blessing. It means that someone has some level of affection and attachment to you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are “in love” or that it will ever grow to that point. They may love you as a friend or love what you bring to their life, but they’re probably not interested in the relationship going beyond anything platonic
And if they make the distinction between “love” and “in love”, they probably won’t.
“In Love” Speaks To Passion
Some people hear the word “passion” and immediately think of something sexual. While having passionate feelings for someone can definitely mean that you desire them sexually, there’s more to it than that.
Passion is about power; having a powerful emotion towards someone. And when you’re in love with them, that passion can be all-consuming. There is no one else you want. You desire to have a romantic connection. You can see building a life with that individual.
You Can Love And Not Even Interact With Each Other
Think back to someone from your past. Perhaps even someone you used to be in love with. Fast forward to now and maybe you don’t interact anymore. It could be because you lost touch. Maybe one of you got married and didn’t think staying connected was appropriate. Perhaps you simply mutually decided to go your separate ways. But you still have love for them.
It’s a dormant form, but you think back to what once was and there are still “warm fuzzies” inside.
Some people think they can be in love and function this way. Yeah, not so much. The next point breaks down why.
You Can’t Really Be “In Love” By Yourself
It might seem like semantics but just think about it for a second. Can you really be “in love” with someone…by yourself? Meaning you’re all caught up in them and they couldn’t care less about you? That sounds more like lust or even borderline obsession because being in love implies mutuality.
You are IN-LOVE with someone who is also IN-LOVE with you.
You can deeply love a person, hoping that it will transition into a mutual kind of powerful experience. But if you’re out here professing that you are in love with someone who is not interested in you or who have expressed that they literally had nothing but platonic love for you, you’re “in love” with the fantasy that one day they might be “in love” back. More times than not, that’s just a waste of your time.
“In Love” Is ALL In
When people hear the phrase “in love”, sometimes they focus too much on “love” when it really needs to be on “in”.
Love is an emotion. “In love” should be a lot more than that. People can’t “be in love by themselves” is because in love is about two people not just feeling or saying they love each other, but going through the daily steps to show it. They are IN LOVE because they are doing what love requires. They are on the same page of the same book and have similar goals for the relationship.
This might not have been the easiest thing to hear, but just think about how freeing it is to process “I love you” and “I’m in love with you.”
Knowing the difference can guard your heart, save you time and know just what to expect from saying and hearing both.