I’ve always been curious about this one so what did I do to understand the difference?  I did what everyone does today when they have a question.  I consulted the Google machine.

But what I found offered little insight.

“Loving someone is about how THEY make YOU feel.   Being “in-love” is about how YOU make THEM feel.”

Gimme a break.

Doesn’t anyone have some real perspective on this topic? 

Being “in-love” is often described as the more favorable, deeper emotion, right? 

“I DO love you.  I’m just not “in-love” with you.”

I’ve said this myself, usually right before I break up with someone.  But what does it mean?

After consulting the Google Gods, drawing upon my own experiences and hearing the experiences of clients, here’s my take.

Loving someone is characterized by respect and maybe even an admiration for another.  You care about her, wish the best for her and have things in common but there is something missing, something preventing you from going deeper.

That “deeper place” is what differentiates love from “In-love”.

What is it about that particular person that allows you to feel more deeply for them? 

“She gets me”

“I can be myself around her”

“She makes me feel loved”

These are the types of things we’ll say about women we fall in-love with.

They make us feel things like:

Feeling understood

Feeling authentic

Feeling loved

These are all great things and it’s fair to say most of us would want to feel them as much as possible.

But if these are the experiences associated with being “in-love”, can’t we also say they’re impermanent, out of our control and subject to change?

If this experience is so tenuous, why do we prefer it?

Why wouldn’t we want something more stable?

The answer is, we’re not motivated by the stability.

We’re motivated by the good feelings.

That’s what moves us.

And if someone else can instill those good feelings in us, well, wouldn’t we move mountains to hold on to that person?

We’re not wrong for wanting to feel these things but I believe, we’re misinformed about where they come from.

WE create these good feelings in ourselves.  Not the other person.

Let’s say a woman tells you you’re a great lover.  You then credit her for making you feel loved.

But she didn’t create that in you.

She merely said something and you interpreted it in a way that created feelings of love.

She may not love you at all.

What’s more, another guy might interpret that same statement differently and feel a different emotion – let’s say, flattery.

Being “in-love”, at least how the term is used in our society, often refers to a “state of being” driven by the other person – by a feeling they instill in us.

But is she creating it or are you?

The fact is, many relationships go south when we realize the other person is no longer stimulating the loving feelings anymore.

I have ended relationships because I didn’t feel that deeper feeling.  I looked to them to make me feel something I was unable to generate within myself.

I was looking in the wrong place.

It was within me all along.

The potential for love was really rooted in our attraction, our respect and trust for each other, our enjoyment of each other’s company, our ability to grow together.

Not in how she could make me feel.

Take responsibility for feeling your own love. 

Focus on the things that make you and her great together – the things that are more sustainable.

And make that the type of love you strive for.

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