Why isn’t there a word to describe the feeling between liking and loving someone? The stage after you’ve been on a handful of dates, but before you become entwined in each other’s lives. Before you’ve made commitments to each other of any kind, but have seen the most intimate parts of their body.
Just as Woody Allen couldn’t find a word for how strongly he felt for Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, “Love is too weak a word for what I feel for you, I lurve you, I loave you, I luff you,” there isn’t a word that perfectly encapsulates the feeling between like and love.
I don’t know that I have the answer to what we should call this stage of dating, but if we combine the words ‘like’ and ‘love,’ we get ‘live’. So I say let’s live. Let’s recognize this feeling and just live in it. Let’s not rush into love and all of the commitments and possible heartache that comes with it. Let’s enjoy this beautiful and nameless in between.
1. The mundane becomes fascinating.
This is two fold: you suddenly start to see the most mundane details about your day in a totally new way. You put a creative spin on your trip to the doctor, that crazy thing you saw on the way to work or what you had for lunch. You also become fascinated by the small details of their day: a new haircut, a conversation with their boss, what they had for dinner: so long as you’re talking to them, you’re happy.
2. You’ll find yourself losing all sense of reality when you’re together.
You’ll be spinning elaborately robust inside jokes that build worlds only the two of you inhabit. Other people don’t just fade away; they simply cease to exist when the two of you are together.
3. You constantly risk being late just to spend a couple more seconds with them.
Parting has never seemed like such sweet sorrow. You will gladly risk your boss’s wrath for just one more laugh, one last kiss, one more tryst in bed. When you’re with them, everything else is an afterthought.
4. You no longer play games.
When you first start dating someone, it’s all about how you play the game. How long do you wait to text them? How many days until you ask for another date? But once you’re past ‘liking’ someone, the guards we put up start to fade away. You can text them whenever you damn well please. A date every weekend is almost a given. And you can let them know the real you without the constant fear of rejection.
5. You’re always being tired, but in a good way.
You’re still getting used to this new person in your life and somehow they have to fit in with all of the other things it already contained: work, school, friends, passion projects. And on top of that, when you’re not with them, you spend every waking moment thinking about them. As a result, sleep tends to suffer.
6. You’re not quite used to this new person in your bed.
After waking up from a deep sleep, you begin to re-enter the world of consciousness. When your eyes open, for a moment your brain doesn’t recognize the person lying next to you. The split second after that happens, a flutter in your heart, a warm happiness, a slight nervousness…that’s the in between.