Not too long ago, I wrote a Love & the Media article on how fairy tales may have intensified unrealistic expectations in dating and marriage by perpetuating the “Prince Charming” standard. There are even more sad and unfortunate ideas that have been perpetuated by the Hollywood standard. One of them is the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore” conversation that is so rampant in Hollywood movies. I have to admit that hearing that really, really rubs me the wrong way – particularly when that conversation takes place between married couples and is used as an excuse for terminating a marriage and/or having an extramarital affair. It’s quite frankly ridiculous, in my opinion.
I have heard it said that the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone is that the former is much more mundane than the latter. Being in love with someone means that there are butterflies in the belly and songs rising in the air as the loved one walks into the room. Being in love with someone means that your heart skips a beat and your knees tremble. It’s exciting! It’s adventurous! It’s far from mundane! It’s also quite simply a state of mind that is primarily backed by emotion with little to no room for reason: the antithesis of true, lasting love.
True love is much more than just an emotion. It is being commited enough to stand by someone’s side through life’s many ebbs and flows – and those ebbs and flows surely come. Relying solely on feelings of “being in love” are not enough to get anyone through the rough and rocky moments in life because real life can be very mundane.
True love is, much more than anything else, a choice! Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different. A relationship based on emotions alone is either lust or infatuation – no more! Love does not rely on mere emotional highs to keep going. It is a combination of those emotions and the grace to say, “I will do what is best for this person even on the most inconvenient of days.”
In real life, there are many days of hard work, effort and routine but that choice to appreciate the person you have chosen is what gives love that solid foundation. With that choice made, it’s a lot easier to actually be in love because your commitment spurs you on to the continuous appreciation for and fascination with the person by your side. I dare to say that seeing someone commit so deeply to you every single day and doing the same for someone else is the greatest catalyst for “being in love” that there is.
My bottom line? Let’s leave the “I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore” speech for Hollywood. Two people who are commited to loving each other will always find their way back to the emotional highs of being in love with each other.
What are your thoughts on “loving” vs. “being in love”? Do you think love is just as much a choice as it is an emotion?