NOTE… all of the thoughts below spring from my personal flawed human experience. Your mileage WILL vary!
Being in love is not just about being very attracted to a person. I am blessed to be in a dance community that is filled with the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. I am insanely attracted to some of them, and love them dearly because of this, but this does not mean I am in love. Being in lust is miles away from being in love. Be sane with this one!
The amount you love somebody is not always an accurate forecaster of being in love. Hmmm… this is a strange one! What I’m saying is that the intensity of loving somebody is often not the same as the intensity of being in love. Having love and being in love are sometimes disconnected. Yes, you do end up loving the people we are in love with, but it can be an outcome instead of a precursor.
Being in love makes a person do some really strange things. People step outside of their comfort zones when they are in love. They travel when they normally wouldn’t. They communicate when they normally would not. The reasons for doing these things seems mysterious, and their cause is realized only after you make the frank admission of being in love.
Along the lines of the last point, being in love creates nuanced changes in behavior. You will do things a little bit more than usual. You’re not a completely different person, but there will be an enhancement of how you act towards the object of your being in love.
It is incredibly difficult to “fall out of love”. REALLY HARD. For me this is the biggest difference between being in love and being in lust or having a passing attraction. In fact, barring some horrible experience with the person, you may never fall out of love. Being in love can be an emotional brand that lingers for a very long time.
Being in love creates emotional interactions that are incredibly powerful. This power is two-edged. You will be incredibly blessed and incredibly cursed by the outcomes of being in love. These swings can hinge on a single word or sentence.
You will think about the person a lot if you are in love with them. This thinking thing is an early sign of being in love, and one of the most accurate IMO.
You really really want to be with the person. There is a desire for intimacy, and this intimacy comes in several forms: physical, proximity, emotional, and intellectual. The longing for intimacy can be constant, like a fog surrounding you. How do you know when you are here? Consider person who is just a close friend. The difference between how you long to be with them, and the person you are in love with, is night and day.
In my experience, learned several times over, being in love sneaks up on you. It is not a sudden arrow of love. That’s the being in lust stuff. Being in love can sneak up on you, and will. You’re committed to being in love before you know it. Gads. It is almost not fair!
Lastly I want to share some tough truths I’ve learned along the way. Goodies for those who have hung in there! Firstly, you can be in love with multiple people at the same time. This is very possible if you have a lingering past “in love” connection as you move into a new one. We call this normal. This can set up a person for a complicated life. Secondly, being in love does not automatically translate into a person being your soul mate. Sorry, I don’t buy into that. In fact, I believe that soul mates can be almost anybody in your life. That’s another topic.
Being in love is a wonderful and horrible thing. It is also part of life and is the bedrock of the human relating experience.