Far too many people deliberate over the underlying distinction between ‘loving’ someone, and being ‘in love’ with them.
It is often repeated that being ‘in love’ with somebody is an absolute feeling, as though you have been surviving in utter darkness for years, and now you are facing this blinding light, and you can finally tell the difference between having your eyes open and closed. Falling in love, and having the love requited with identical passion, is said to be the ultimate sign of discovering happiness in its truest form, that is, in the form of another human being to share your sorrows with.
Personally, I would have to say that I disagree with this.
My thoughts are that falling ‘in love’ with someone is a feeling that is commonly out of your control. It is rather similar to falling down the staircase, this feeling. It just happens. You are completely unaware that it is going to happen, and therefore, you are not prepared for it. And yet, it happens. It does not wait for your consent, or seek your approval.
‘Loving’ a person, however, signifies present-continuous action. It is not merely a passive infatuation or a fleeting sense of joy, or a phase that you are just going through and waiting to get over with. Rather, it is quite the opposite. You don’t wish it to reach an end.
Loving a person demands effort, kicking and screaming while it asks for it. It demands courage, honest allegiance, and some of the realest hard work. It might be easy to fall in love with a person, because it is not an act that you consciously decide to indulge in or be a part of, but what rightly is of consequence after the initial sowing of romantic seeds between two persons is whether or not they are prepared to love their partner.
To nurture them, to protect them, to look after them day in and day out, and to be sincerely delighted for them, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, or whether or not they align completely with the image that you had painted on an invisible canvas inside of you and soon interpreted into a neatly-composed catalogue in the final pages of your journal, enlisting the ten necessary qualities your ideal partner must be equipped with.
Loving someone is throwing out the books and the lists and the innumerable manuals instructing you on how to love your man or woman, gradually leading up to the part where you are taught how to make love to them. Loving someone is allowing your partner to teach you how to make love to them instead of a complete stranger, the face of whom you never will see. Unless it is your partner writing the article, in which case, be mindful of how much of that information they have whispered in your ear while you nibble on their shoulder back home.
Loving someone is about making their life yours, and taking an unpretentious interest in everything they do, simply because even the most mundane details about their day seem of such paramount importance for you to know and to learn. It is about respecting and consummately supporting them in their goals and their endeavors, even if you do not fully understand them, or if they don’t make much sense to you.
Loving someone is about something as uncomplicated as memorizing their daily routine, and accepting that they will message you or call you or contact you via any possible means as soon as they find the time to do so.
It is to get drenched down to the very bone in a torrential downpour that, amusingly enough, began as a slight drizzle, and to revel in it rather than complain of an awful weather.
Loving someone is about still loving them when they piss you off, and all you can think of in that moment of exasperation is picking them up and gently leaving them out on the doorstep.
And this is why I think that loving someone is of much greater significance than merely having fallen in love with them. Because falling in love makes climbing out of it with the help of a power cord or a ladder a daunting possibility, but there is no unloving a person you love and have loved, unless they really drive you to that point of no return.
You don’t choose to fall in love. You choose to act upon it, every single day of your life.