It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? When that little voice creeps up in your head and makes you question whether you really want your significant other or you just want love. You’ll dismiss it the first few times. No, no, I obviously care about them. But do you? How do you even know the difference? More importantly, is it such a crime? You want somebody to love, so why not? That’s usually what comes next: well, it’s not really serious. We’re casual. It’s okay because we’re not serious. It’s okay, right?
When you are in love with love, you are in the relationship for its benefits, and you cower away from more difficult aspects. By cower, I mean, you don’t address them or you don’t go about dealing with things in a healthy, respectful way. Frankly, you don’t care as much about the person as you do what they can do for you. Your fantasies about being with them revolve around how they make you feel, what they do, what they say, and how wonderful it is for you. It’s showing that person off to the world on dates, it’s getting to update your Facebook relationship status, hoping that you’ll finally get the 6 karat Tiffany you’ve been dreaming of. That’s being in love with love.
When you’re really in love with someone, you want them: the good, the bad, the ugly. You come back at the end of the day. You are as accepting and nonjudgmental as you possibly can be. You don’t want to change them. You aren’t dreaming of the day when they’ll finally come into themselves or saying, oh, they look so much better when they put themselves together. You’re not scrolling to a better Facebook picture to show your friends. You’re not condescending. You don’t think their passions are a waste of time.
You’re not dreaming of a bright future more than you are dreaming of your next date, because being in love with someone means they make you happy right now. If you have to constantly resort to thinking about the great things that could come or dreams you’ve had that they could fulfill, you’re not in the moment with them. You’re just looking to see how they can be a role in your life.
When you are in love with love, you leave as soon as things start to get tough. You are waiting for the day someone becomes what you want them to be because you aren’t happy with who they are right now. And that’s another thing: sometimes people just fit into the idea of what we thought we’d want in a partner, so we think we’re in love because all the checks on the list are marked off. Don’t settle for someone who happens to have the qualities you think you’d find endearing. Be with someone who is a cataclysmal force in your life, someone you want to work out issues with, someone you love just as they are now, someone on whom you don’t put any expectations, someone who makes you happy just because they are.