Is it Okay to Love Someone But Not Be “In Love”?

Is it Okay to Love Someone But Not Be "In Love'?

My girlfriend of 2 1/2 years just put all our plans on hold, including buying a house together and getting married later this year. She says she loves me but she’s not “in love” with me. What is the difference?

Fernando

Dear Fernando,

It all depends on how much value you put on labels.

Being”in love” is a pretty cool feeling. But it can also be an illusion.

Being “in love” is the most commonly used phrase to describe the feeling of “chemistry”. People who are “in love” have obsessive thoughts about their partners – huge highs when things are good, deep lows when things are bad. People “in love” say things like, “you just know when it’s right”, and believe that they found their true soulmates.

Being “in love” is a pretty cool feeling. But it can also be an illusion. What people who are “in love” often forget is that the passion that brings them together is often the very thing that drives them apart. This isn’t always the case. Some people, like the ones in Helen Fisher’s brain chemistry studies, stay “in love” for an entire lifetime. And because of those few people, we all think that the only way to find happiness is to hold out for being “in love”.

That’s what it sounds like your girlfriend is doing to you, my friend.

She’s chasing a higher high, a greater feeling, something that you can’t provide for her, no matter how much you try. You can’t blame her, exactly. She wants what she wants. But she quite likely might be throwing away an amazing partner in pursuit of that “in love” feeling. Governor Mark Sanford just did the same thing. Just read the transcripts!

I recently read a thought-provoking book called “The Post-Birthday World” by Lionel Shriver. The novel consists of two parallel stories – one is what happens if the protagonist, Irina, stayed with her solid and steady boyfriend of nine years; the other is what happens if Irina cheated on him and left him for a more passionate affair that turned into a marriage. Without giving away all that much, her passionate marriage doesn’t provide her nearly as much comfort as the safe relationship she left. She just traded in one set of problems for another.

When it comes to love, I might sit here and give advice every day, but there’s not a “right” and “wrong”. All I know is that the majority of people who have been “in love” and “just knew” that they were meant to be have since broken up. That tells me all I need to know about the clarity of passion.

I feel for you, Fernando, but you can’t hold on to your girlfriend. You should probably have a heart-to-heart with her, find out if she thinks she needs to be “in love” to get married, and reevaluate your life. Because if she’s always going to be longing for a more passionate relationship, you’re never going to feel safe.

That’s too bad, because relationships should be safe. Not just for her, but for you as well. If she needs to be “in love”, wish her the best of luck finding it, and go invest your energy in a woman who loves you unconditionally – no matter what label she puts on it.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Helen

    My gut instinct, upon reading Fernando’s letter about what his girlfriend said, is that she has found another man with whom she IS in love. She has put things on hold with Fernando because she wants to see if things will work out between her and this other man first (which probably will not – she would likely tire of him after a while, too).

    1. 1.1
      Kenneth

      Helen,
      I agree with most of what you said except that would like to add a correction…. 
      “…is that she has found another man with whom she thinks she IS in love” :)

  2. 2
    Jennifer

    I think you can care about someone a great deal, love them, but not necessarily be sure that you should be life partners. Chemistry can be one reason for that, but there can be a host of others as well. Maybe as time has gone on she’s seen some incompatibilities between the two of you that she’s not so sure she can live with. She still cares about you, but may not be willing to sign up for a lifetime of x. Doesn’t mean she’s chasing something elusive, she could just be sparing both of you worse pain down the line.

    The end result is unfortunately the same- it likely won’t work out for you two. Which is sad but better now than after you’ve bought property and married.

    I have to say- with all of the work that people say is needed to maintain a marriage, why marry someone you don’t at least start out feeling passionate about? It makes good sense to me to hold out for some passion- why are people so often derided for that?

    p.s. I’m glad to see the old commenting system back :-)

    1. 2.1
      jayqueue

      One thing I’ve always wondered is if we used to be concerned with such things as “true love” for most of human existence (before big cities came about).. as I understand it, for tens of thousands of years, people would marry someone from their village and that was ok.. part of me is torn between thinking that either
      1. the “dating” lifestyle has killed our ability to develop true love with someone unless they are constantly stimulating us, or
      2. the requirements we now need from our life partners has increased due to the complexities of our lifestyles, or even
      3. the (relatively) large number of partners people now have leaves them emotionally scarred and unable to be receptive to true love except in rare cases..

      1. 2.1.1
        Mikko Kemppe

        Jennifer, I agree with you. I believe you can love someone with all of your heart and still have a knowing that you are not meant to share the rest of your life with this person. It is a new concept that I think we are just beginning to understand.

        Jayqueue, I think you bring up a good point. Our society has definitely changed. I think people were not as concerned with finding “true love” as couples in the past were often more concerned with day to day living and survival. Marriages were formed primarily to survive, couples were loyal and there was love, but finding personal fulfillment and forming life long passionate relationships were probably not as important.

        I think the signs that we are more discern today than ever before could be also interpreted as a positive development. As most of us have had much more time to develop and learn about ourselves than ever before, in a sense we also have more love to share than ever before. Therefore, naturally we also want to take more time to find the right person to share all of our love with.

        Now while I believe this is a positive development, at the same time, of course, we are facing brand new challenges, such as our changing male and female roles. So while I strongly believe it is possible for us to find our soulmate and to be “in love” for the rest of our lives, I think it would be naive to think that this would be possible without also developing ourselves and up-dating our relationships skills.
        .-= Mikko Kemppe´s last blog ..Is Masturbation Good Or Bad For You? =-.

  3. 3
    Honey

    I agree with Jennifer, #2 – while passion/chemistry is one possibility, there are also incompatibilities that surface only after a lot of time together, and you have to decide if you’re willing to deal with them – AFTER you care a great deal about the person. For example, if the BF had told me on our first date that he wanted to own numerous assault rifles, I would never have gone on a second date. Easy. Finding that out after two years in, when I’m very anti-gun? Now I have to ask myself – can I compromise in such a major way?

    Although the lack of specificity here and the specific language his GF uses…it makes me think Evan’s PROBABLY right.

  4. 4
    A-L

    I’m very interested to read others’ comments on this topic as they pop up, but I think a key element of Fernando’s letter is that he and his girlfriend have been together for two and a half years. They’ve gone past the honeymoon/passionate/intense chemistry phase (which researchers say generally lasts 6 months to a year, I think) and gone into the next one which is traditionally associated with married couples. Whether or not that means they should or should not get married I’ll still leave up for debate though (or whether she ever felt “in love” and has now stopped, or if she always just felt love for him).

    P.S. Jennifer, how did you get the old commenting system back, because I still seem to have the new one!

    1. 4.1
      Jennifer

      A-L, you know before I posted I was reading some of the comments from previous posts and they were numbered, like the old commenting system. Then after I commented on this post everything looks like the new system again. So maybe I just went crazy there for a second :-)

      1. 4.1.1
        Steve

        You got my hopes up!

        Postus Interruptus!

    2. 4.2
      Selena

      A-L,

      It’s the 2.5 yr. mark that also made me think this situation is about more than missing the high of infatuation. Presumably, they know each other pretty well by now (particularly if they have been living together ?), and understand what life together would be like. It’s when “the pink cloud” has worn off, you are in a better position to evaluate the relationship realistically.

      You brought up an interesting point: maybe she never felt “the high” with him at all? And is realizing she shouldn’t marry someone she thinks of more as a friend?

  5. 5
    Eathan

    Too much emphasis is put on labels. Loving someone and being in love with someone can be two different things. I’m sure after 2 yrs she has love for you and an emotional connection. She probably cares about you, is concerned with your happiness and well being. But it’s also possible that she doesn’t see you as the man she wants to build a family with any longer.

    Jennifer is on point with her comment.
    .-= Eathan´s last blog ..Dirt Bike Boy – Summer Camp Edition =-.

  6. 6
    Andy

    I will say that with every woman i meet i go through this dilemma. I’m a person who wants that chemistry along with that “friends comfortable” feeling. Sometimes i think i might be asking for too much but it’s very difficult to hide or ignore your feelings.

    I have been reading Evan’s blogs for over a year now and do agree with most everything he says. I know it’s irrational to expect every relationship to be a movie type happy ending. It’s not that i’m looking for miss ubermodel to come knocking on my door, but i know what i want (one of the few men who do) and would like that relationship that lasts forever. I do feel better when i’m in a relationship. I do like that one on one monogamy but am finding it increasingly difficult for meet anyone i’m really interested in.

    I have taken some of Evan’s advice and dated women that i wouldn’t usually go for but that doesn’t work either. I guess the moral of the story is that some people are
    perfectly happy not having that fairytale ending. The meet someone their compatible with and build a nice life together. I just wish i was more flexible in my wants and desires but i do also need to be true to myself and not try to kid myself. It only leads to backing out of a relationship i probably shouldn’t have gotten involved with in the first place!!!

  7. 7
    starthrower68

    Some are not going to like my response, but here it is anyway: I’ve been that girl and probably could have saved my marriage except for one thing. I was spiritually dead insided. I was looking for anything to make me fee alive. Now that I am divorced and started getting that part of my life in order (not that I have arrived, but I keep pressing on), I look for different things in a partner and I find that if I don’t have that fulfillment without a guy, I’m not going to have it with him, either. I don’t deny that there are those that are “in love” all of their life. But I think there’s more to it. They might never lose their passion for each other, but I’m sure there are days when they don’t feel passionate. Then they make the decision to stay. Love is often a decision, and they have the maturity and character to stay commited to the relationship rather than chasing after a high. I’ve experienced that high, and for me it was scary because I understood what true obession felt like and I didn’t like it. But that’s just me. I always ok to agree to disagree agreeably.

  8. 8
    WithLove

    Fernando….this is my take on this…just an observation but it seems your GF is not willing to take the full commitment on. She seems like you have become more of a good friend than
    romantic interest. I love my guy and girl…friends…but I LOVE
    my MAN! Love my son and family……but the LOVE I have for
    that partner is different.
    She might even not completely know what has changed. She may have met someone that turned on something inside her and inturn she is questioning your relationship. Do you want all of her or just part of her. I would rather have someone marry me that is completely into me and have NO doubts at all.
    Hard to accept sometimes but things can change on us without any real understanding. At least she is being honest.
    Clarify this for me though…..when she said she is not in love with you does that mean everything is off with you too…or is this just hanging in the balance?
    Get clarity…..you deserve and need to know. She needs to figure out whether life without you will be better or life with you. Are you in it for the long haul? Are you sure she completes
    the majority of what you need….? Just ask yourself some questions too……hang in there….we are all in progress whether we like it or not but remember does not mean life is over!!!! It’s more like a kaleidescope…always and ever changing! :) Wishing the best!

  9. 9
    Isabelle Archer

    Oh wow, I loved the Post-Birthday World. It was one of those intense and almost disturbing books that left me dreamy and a little upset for days afterwards. Lionel Shriver is a bit wicked. Highly recommended.

    BUT – I think you’re only half right to say that “her passionate marriage doesn’t provide her nearly as much comfort as the safe relationship she left. She just traded in one set of problems for another.” True, she loses comfort, but she gains in many other dimensions through her passionate marriage … and the comfort of the stable relationship proved to be only temporary anyway.

    I think the major lesson of the book is actually that you just can’t predict the rewards and wounds that will emerge from any relationship choice — and that ultimately, making a “moral” choice is never going to guarantee your own happiness; or that you’ll be paid back in kind; or that your supposedly moral choice will really lead to the best outcome for all involved. Shriver is essentially amoral, I think.

  10. 10
    Selena

    “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”

    Very simply means, “I care about you as a person, but not someone I see spending the rest of my life as partners with.”

    Painful when YOU don’t feel the same way.

    At least it’s honest though. And less painful than someone who might lead you to believe otherwise because…uh…you’d be good at paying the bills; putting up the swingset in the backyard. Then…they actually do fall in love with someone else, or find the marriage so unsatisfying they leave “to find themselves”.

    Better she told you now Fernando. Sorry for the hurt.

    1. 10.1
      Steve

      Amen.

      I have a friend who is in such a marriage. He pays the bills and being married to him means she doesn’t have to face her fear of being unmarried after 40 (gasp!).

      Neither of them are happy people.

  11. 11
    Steve

    Fernando;

    It means she loves you like a member of her family and that she doesn’t love you like a woman loves her husband/lover/BF.

    The relationship has come to a full stop. It is time to start looking for a new GF.

    I know it sounds callous, but at least this is coming out now before you are married and entangled. You just dodged a costly and painful divorce.

    I know that isn’t any consolation.

    Be well.

  12. 12
    vino

    Lucky Fernando. He got spared years of anguish and financial torment.

    I’m going to translate Fernando’s letter

    “Dear Fernando,

    It’s been a wonderful 2 1/2 years with you, but I met someone who makes my ‘gina tingle. You don’t.”

    1. 12.1
      girl-with-glasses

      I agree 100% with Evan, that the high one gets is usually an *illusion*. But even so, does that even matter? It may be an illusion, but the effects are very real, meaning it hits the brain where it wants it.

      It could very well be a sign of the times. A lot more women have high libidos now. For me, maybe another side of the story is that the man usually takes the woman for granted in a LTR, or what is presumed to be a LTR.

      I’m for fidelity, but it just seems men assume that ‘their’ women should be faithful, and it’s usually the woman’s role to excite her mate rather than the other way.

      Just a sign of the times, relationship between the sexes are alot more complicated now days, with alot of misconceptions about ourselves and the other party.

      1. 12.1.1
        Steve

        I don’t think Evan wrote that the romantic high is an illusion, only that it is fleeting ( scientists say it last 1 – 3 years tops for most of the population ). If you feel it, you feel it, its not an illusion.

        Men and women have been cheating on forever. People like to think it is a new thing or that one sex does it more/less.

        Both men and women in LTRs let themselves go, both take the relationship for granted, both claim — falsely — that they can’t control themselves.

        As the pretty blond cylon says “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again”

      2. 12.1.2
        mic

        Women do have higher libidos these days, by all indications. And many who don’t seem to think that they should, that passion should drive them. It puts more pressure on males to look good, when perhaps there wasn’t enough such pressure before, though it needs to be said that women’s looks will always be somewhat more important due to wiring and sexual performance issues.

        Whether Fernando’s girlfriend is operating too much on chemistry or not, it seems that he is being dumped in a very murky, hurtful way and maybe should see what he can do in the future – say, improve his style and avoid immature good-looking women – to have a better outcome.

      3. 12.1.3
        vino

        I don’t know that *more* women have high libidos, so much as the freedom (read: lack of social stigma) to pursue them.

        “For me, maybe another side of the story is that the man usually takes the woman for granted in a LTR, or what is presumed to be a LTR.

        I’m for fidelity, but it just seems men assume that their women should be faithful, and it’s usually the woman’s role to excite her mate rather than the other way.”

        I disagree, and I’ve see a few articles to support that. I can’t remember where, but I read that 60% of both spouses in a marriage are cheating. The point being here is that women are equally likely to cheat.

        I think both sexes assume their partner should be faithful. that said, there is this myth out there that men cheat far more than women, which doesn’t seem true based upon several things I’ve read.

        It’s each partner’s job to try and excite the other.

        Also, you gotta wonder with that infidelity rate… look around. Every other person is cheating on their spouse.

  13. 13
    Miss MatchMaker

    It sounds to me like she is confusing “in love” with the feelings of a new relationship…the newness wears off and off she goes chasing the high for more newness! Very unfortunate…
    .-= Miss MatchMaker´s last blog ..The porch swing test =-.

  14. 14
    casualencounters.com/blog

    Love intoxication: overrated, and usually ends in heartbreak and disaster.

    The thing is, this shouldn’t be news to anyone. It has been figured out since as long ago as there were people around to do figuring. Why does it come as a revelation to so many? Maybe they need to start teaching EQ classes in schools.

    1. 14.1
      mic

      Yes to EQ. Yes to relationship skills, perhaps integrated with sex ed. Appearance management, too, of course :)

  15. 15
    zann

    Chemistry-shmemistry. Chemistry is not passion. Chemistry is that sexually-charged little la-la land we go to when we meet someone new (“our eyes met, across the room”) and we could swear that voltage is being generated, just by being in the same room. It’s a great high, and it’s fleeting. Maybe that’s why we crave it so much. But why, WHY do people still use that tired, empty non-explanation of “I love you but I’m just not IN love with you.” As if that somehow makes being dumped so much more palatable. Not only is it lame, it’s meaningless. It’s her way of saying no thanks, while still saving face and convincing herself that she’s still a good person. Which she may be … but she’s not for you. Like Evan says, who wants to head out into life with a doubter? You deserve more than that, and maybe the best thing to do is to walk away with your head up and with the knowledge that she just forfeited something very valuable. I’m truly sorry for your pain. Be good to yourself.

  16. 16
    FrogPrincess

    I totally agree with Selena that this is girl code for, “I’m just not that into you.” Whether or not it’s because the chemistry is gone (or was ever there), or she’s started to see little red flags popping up everywhere is beside the point. She just doesn’t dig him, and who wants to be with somebody that doesn’t dig you?

    I do believe that love, and being in love, is a choice. I do believe that you can, and must, work to create passion and keep it alive. I do not, however, agree that you should just go for the safe, stable thing necessarily. I think there has to be SOME kind of connection, chemistry if you will, from the very beginning. Otherwise what’s the point? You might as well just grab the first person that offers to marry you.

    Compatibility is about more than just things in common and acceptable lifestyles. It’s also about being attracted to someone on a physical, as well as emotional, level. Nope, doesn’t last forever if left to it’s own devices, but it can last forever if you put some work and effort into it. I think that’s where most people screw up. Where they confuse “love” and “being in love” and “chemistry” and all that other stuff. They think that if it’s the “right” relationship (their “soulmate”… GAG!), they shouldn’t have to put any thought or effort into it. And that’s a load of, um, poo. Every relationship requires care and nurturing and most especially a romantic relationship. Even simple friendship will die a tragic death if time and effort isn’t given to it on a regular basis. It’s just that most of us do it naturally, subconsciously. I don’t get why we think romantic relationships don’t need the same attention.

    Which leaves me wondering just how much effort did Fernando really put into his relationship? And how much did his GF? Or did they just sit on their laurells and figure they didn’t really need to do anything to keep the passion going? We’ll probably never know, but it’s food for thought…
    .-= FrogPrincess´s last blog ..He’s Just Not That Into You =-.

  17. 17
    Selena

    I’m not convinced “chemistry”, or lack thereof, is the reason. I think it’s entirely possible that after 2.5 years together she does love him, but isn’t sure for whatever reason, the relationship will last a lifetime. Perhaps the reality of the wedding and buying a house forced her to acknowledge this. She surely wouldn’t be the first person to get “caught up” in plans for the future, only to reconsider the gravity of the commitment.

  18. 18
    Andy

    Zann you couldn’t be more correct. It was just a nice attempt at dumping him without feeling bad herself. Yeah it’s going to hurt for a while, but better to know now than really get entangled and then looking at a mess to try to get out of it.

  19. 19
    Curly Girl

    Here come the gender wars again: It’s amusing to me how when a woman says she isn’t into a guy she’s to be put down for that as if there is something wrong with her–especially if (as many are assuming here) it’s because she doesn’t feel the sparks–meaning, she isn’t feeling the hots for him. But if a guy isn’t feeling the hots for a woman, if he isn’t into her, if he isn’t attracted to her, it’s completely understood that it’s a non-starter.

    Here is my theory: I believe this double standard derives from the notion that male pleasure is more important in a relationship than female pleasure, and that women are supposed to just suck it up (pun intended) because they are getting “other things” out of their romantic relationships. Meaning, material security. I believe this outmoded belief system is still hanging around because people don’t want to put it together–to acknowledge that historically women have been in a bad situation in this regard–having to give up what they want in a relationship in order to barter for what they need to survive, given that they were barred from certain areas of accomplishment (education, work in the world) that would have led to their financial independence from men. (The reasons for this exclusion may have been/still may be justified or not; that’s another discussion.)

    This is why you get that specious “wiring” defense of male s*xual behavior. If “nature” ordains it then we don’t have to look at our beliefs about these things (or our wrong-headedness about what “nature” is), and we blog in a way that supports the idea that it’s OK for a man to dump someone because she doesn’t do it for him anymore, but it isn’t OK for a woman to do the same.

    And so the outmoded belief system gets reinforced here, and no one has to change. Except those of us who are highly motivated–those of us who believe that our pleasure is just as important as a man’s and that our work costs the same to deliver and that our minds are our own.

    1. 19.1
      Isabelle Archer

      Brilliant analysis. Eventually we will provide an entire feminist deconstruction of the dating self-help industry on this blog.

      1. 19.1.1
        Steve

        and that is why Senator McCain got away with brazenly admitting he would not support equal for equal work during the 2008 elections.

        It is also why reproductive rights are being eroded away and the ERA is still dead after 40 something years.

        Too many women focusing on everything else.

        1. Isabelle Archer

          Ummm, what is your point? That we’re being frivolous by applying feminist analysis to dating blogs? First – you’re making a huge assumption that nobody here is involved in other areas of activism. Second – the personal is the political.

    2. 19.2
      vino

      Perhaps the biggest bunch of hooey I’ve read in some time…

    3. 19.3
      Andy

      I do believe that your assessment is correct. Men expect to sit around and be pleasured by their woman without the expectation of giving anything in return. What makes women any different than men? I have come to learn that women are not different than men, they have the same wants and desires and i like that. It turns me on when a woman is in touch with her sexuality. That’s why men who live in the “traditional” manner don’t do well on modern dating sites.

      But i think we all struggle with the “passion vs content” argument. It does take work on both parties and the expectation that the “fire” will die down a little is normal but it also doesn’t mean the fire has to be put out. We do live in an entitled society and everything should come so easy. Why can’t we seem to grasp the concept that the most rewarding things in our life are often the most difficult to achieve!!

    4. 19.4
      A-L

      Oh, dear.

      There are men (many alphas) who want what they want and always put their desires first, with less concern over what the female wants. Part of their reasoning may be that they’re paying for the predominant amount of the couple’s expenses (dating, marriage, or otherwise).

      Then there are women (high-maintenance divas, princesses, etc) who expect the man to do and buy them whatever they want, and who has to check in with them for the smallest thing. Part of their reasoning is that they have what men want and can milk the men for the pleasure of access to them.

      There are bad apples among both men and women, but I’d say that they’re the minority for each sex.
      But as Vino said, it’s each person’s job to try and excite the other (or make the other happy if excite is too sexually connotative). It’s not one gender’s fault that there are difficulties with romantic relationships.

  20. 20
    JB

    @FrogPrincess this isn’t “girl code” sweetie this is everyone’s code for “I’M NO LONGER ATTRACTED TO YOU” and now you’ve been demoted to the dreaded FRIENDS ZONE. I used that line on my girlfriend 20 years ago and tons of men & women use it every day when they figure out “I care about this person’s feelings,I just have no desire to kiss them or have sex with them ANYMORE. I know it’s tough but it’s almost impossible to get someone to change their mind back again so you have to walk away and ………dare I say it………start all over again.

  21. 21
    Helen

    Curly Girl – you are so right. You are so, so right. You’re awesome!

    Just this morning I was thinking the same thing (but not as articulately as you) that in sexual relationships, society emphasizes much more that the man should get what he wants, rather than the woman. Your point about women thinking they’re compensated through material gains is logical; I think your unspoken statement is that now that we can provide for ourselves, we no longer just want to make sure a man is pleased, and want to make sure we get something out of a relationship (including sexual pleasure) as well.

    This isn’t meant to be a man-hating comment, because I love men. But it is true, and society is changing, and we should change our expectations along with it.

  22. 22
    Diana

    While it’s typical for the “not in love” comment to signify that the “intense” passion and initially strong attraction are no longer there, assuming they were to begin with, the only real way to truly know what her statement means is to ask her.

    I believe passion in a relationship can continue to thrive for countless years beyond the stage of intense fireworks, if it is continually cared for and tended to, like seeking out new experiences in life, and growing as individuals. I have experienced this. It’s also incredible when the passion of one person ignites the passion of another, such as fulfilling a life-long dream. It makes you incredibly irresistible to each other.

    It is only natural for the infatuation stage of relationships to subside, typically between 18 – 24 months, and either real love will bloom or it doesn’t.

  23. 23
    Selena

    Comment by FrogPrincess
    2009-07-17 02:47:18

    “I do believe that love, and being in love, is a choice.”

    I believe this is bullshit.

    For one, love starts with attraction and I believe we have zero choice in to whom we are attracted. We have choice on how we ACT on that attraction however. We may find ourselves attracted to someone inappropriate, or at an inappropriate time in our lives. Perhaps we are in a committed relationship and become attracted to someone else. Or we are single, but become attracted to someone who is married. Maybe we are attracted to an alcoholic. Or a player. We can choose NOT to fall in love with any of these people by practicing prudent avoidance.

    Being “in love” is not the fluttery, sexual excitement of “newness” with a partner. That’s infatuation. Delightfully, sometimes infatuation leads to falling in love. Sometimes not. Being in love means feeling an emotional connection so deeply with another person, you can’t envision life without them. THAT apparently, is what Fernando’s gf is finding lacking. Doesn’t make her fickle, chasing a “high”, or some kind of heartless whore. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love Fernando, or is *choosing* not to love him. Just means she realized she might not love him enough to sustain a lifetime partnership. Should she be stoned for that?

    If love were a choice, then we all could be happily partnered to anyone – logically. But we find it’s not possible. You don’t have to look very deeply into yourself to see this is true.

    Comment by FrogPrincess
    2009-07-17 02:47:18

    I do believe that love, and being in love, is a choice

  24. 24
    Evan Marc Katz

    Selena,

    Sustaining a lifetime partnership IS a choice and it’s unfair of you to criticize FrogPrincess because she disagrees with you.

    I’d recommend you check out Reva Seth’s “First Comes Marriage”, an amazing book which discusses the virtues of Indian arranged marriage. You would never want to forgo Western-style choice, but I’m pretty sure that there are hundreds of men you could be married to – if you made the choice.

    Really, it ain’t that tricky. Find someone who treats you like gold. Treat them like gold in return. Somehow that gets lost in all this gauzy talk about being “in love”. Building a life together is not about that feeling, which invariably fades. It’s about your ability to be there for each other through thick and thin for 40 years.

    Our inability to see past the first two exciting years to the rest of our lives is a perfect example of short-term thinking.

    Married couples always make the choice. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. But that’s what keeps them together.

    1. 24.1
      Curly Girl

      40 years? That’s all? Way the actuarial tables are looking we’re all gonna be hitting 100. You and your wife might make it beyond 60 years, EMK!!

      Hmm…wonder what your blog would read like 60 years from now? “I’ve written a new book–First Comes Online Dating–which discusses the virtues of a more traditional approach to love and marriage, an approach that has worked for decades but has now fallen out of favor. There are hundreds of people you could be married to–if you are willing to make the choice…” :)

  25. 25
    Selena

    All due respect Evan, re-read my post; I don’t confuse that gauzy feeling for being in love. I wrote being in love means not being able to envision a life without your partner. Which if you think about Evan, IS what couples do in building a life together, in sticking with each other through thick and thin for 40 years. I’m fortunate to have examples of this in my own family.

    And I don’t doubt that in all the world there are hundreds of men I could be married to – if I so chose. But could I LOVE each of those hundreds of men just by “deciding” to? Highly doubtful. And just because they treated me like gold, it doesn’t automatically follow I could love them so much as to not be able to envision my life without them. I might love some of them less, “as a friend” for example, rather than lover and partner.

    If it were possible to “choose to love” someone then it should be possible for a heterosexual to choose a homosexual as a partner. After all, if you find someone who’s smart, kind, funny, financially responsible and treats you like gold, why not? But it doesn’t work that way, does it? It doesn’t work because there is that “something is missing” factor. Something that also happens in both hetero and homosexual relationships sometimes.

    Believing you can convince yourself into loving someone is as much an illusion as mistaking the gauzy feeling of new lust for love.

  26. 26
    Selena

    Let me add:

    How far off is the belief “Love is a choice”, from “I can make him love me if I try hard enough – be patient – don’t give up”?

    Isn’t a premise of HJNTIY philosophy really that it isn’t about him “choosing” not to love you, it’s accepting that he just doesn’t and moving on?

    Now if you want to talk about people who are missing out on potential loves because they set their parameters so narrow…..I’m right with you.

  27. 27
    A-L

    Selena wrote How far off is the belief Love is a choice, from I can make him love me if I try hard enough – be patient – don’t give up?

    When Evan’s talking about First Comes Marriage and people are talking about love being a choice, it has to be a choice that BOTH people make. If both people aren’t committed to it, then it’s more of a HJNTIY phenomenon. But if both people are intent on making a relationship work, that’s the “love is a choice” idea playing out.

  28. 28
    Selena

    A-L,

    If there was a referrence to something called “First Comes Marriage” anywhere in this thread I missed it. In any case, I haven’t read it.

  29. 29
    Diana

    To me, the “choice” is the action that one takes in the relationship, based on the love they feel. I don’t agree with the wording that love is a choice. It implies that you choose who you love and that is not true. But what you do to act upon that feeling is definitely a choice.

  30. 30
    Selena

    Ah yes, Evan did mention that book in a later post. Did not know that was what FrogPrincess was referring to by saying she believed love was a choice.

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