Unfortunately, there’s not much new to report on those topics in my personal life, other than that I finally gave in to my friend Kori’s suggestion to try a dating app. More on that later, when I have a better grasp of what the hell I’m doing.
Recently, a close friend admitted that she has never been in love. I thought she was messing with me because she has been with the same guy for as long as I have known her, and they have kiddos together.
We got to talking, though, and she truly believes that while she loves her boyfriend, she has never been in love with him.
Which got me to thinking: How do you know when you’re in love?
I want to quickly mention that my friend encouraged me to write a blog post about what she told me. So she is on board with this, and asked me to tackle the topic. I will, however, keep her identity a secret.
The first Deep Thought that popped into my head was that the idea of “being in love” is different for every person.
For me, being in love means wanting to be with someone all the time, thinking about her constantly, getting butterflies in my stomach when I’m around her, missing her when she’s gone, putting her needs ahead of mine, wanting to be with her physically and emotionally, and carving our initials into the tree under which we shared our first kiss.
There are other aspects to my “being in love formula”, but those are the first things that come to mind.
Next, I thought about all the times I’ve been in love in my life. I counted six. Then I really pondered each circumstance and wondered if I’d truly been in love because now my friend had me thinking.
Was I just loosely tossing around the term “I’m in love?” Had I thought I was in love in the heat of the moment? Would hindsight make me judge those relationships differently?
Now that I’ve had some time to put my emotions under a microscope, I’m going to amend my original number.
I’ve been in love three times in my life.
How did that total get cut in half?
Well, the first time I thought I was in love, I was 16. Looking back on it now, it was a very one-sided crush with someone who couldn’t return the feelings because she was 20. Let’s just say that summer camp makes the heart think crazy things.
The second instance that has been removed from the list was a case of really caring about someone, and having her only want to be best friends. I pined after her, I was attracted to her, I wanted her to be my girlfriend, but it wasn’t love.
In the third relationship, we both said we loved each other, we dated for a while, and I was sure it was serious. Looking back, however, I realize it was more of a powerful attraction and infatuation.
Perhaps this was a case similar to my friend’s. She loves her guy, they are together, and they are serious, but she just isn’t in love with him.
I’m still not one hundred percent clear on the difference between loving someone and being in love.
In my mind, it certainly helps if the term “I love you” is uttered. However, I’ve just shared two cases where I thought I was in love even though I never told her how I felt, and she never told me she loved me.
Even though I’m foggy on the concept, I am certain I was in love with the three women who still remain on the list.
One of them, would obviously be my ex-wife. We were together for sixteen years, I was definitely in love with her, but over time, I believe that evolved into just loving her. And I say that because I knew our relationship had changed. When things weren’t going well between us, I’d think about life without her, but when I did that, I’d get upset and cry.
I couldn’t possibly see myself without her. I took that to mean I was in love with her.
Fifteen years after our divorce, I understand that meant I loved her, but was no longer in love. We’d been together for more than half our lives. She was important to me. She had become family. I might’ve been dependent on her. Or at least thought I was.
But I was no longer in love with her. I’m not exactly sure when that all changed. If it happened gradually, or all at once. But it happened.
Even though her cheating on me and divorcing me broke my heart, it was for the best because we weren’t in love anymore. And I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone if we weren’t in love.
This got me to thinking if I could ever again be in love with the three women on my list.
My ex-wife is a definite no. I stopped being in love with her, and then she did things that made me doubt I could ever love again. As a result, it would be impossible for me to come around and ever be in love with her again.
As for the other ladies, I was still in love with both when our relationships ended. When I think about them, which happens from time to time, it is clear that they still hold a very special place in my heart, and very well might still control he butterflies in my tummy.
Should they ever magically appear in my life again, falling in love would be a possibility because I don’t think I ever quite fell out of it.
But that is me and my definition of being in love. I’m curious to know how you define being in love.
Have you ever been in love? Looking back now, would you change your thoughts about a relationship where you thought you were in love?