Love: It's a prominent theme of life that never fails to capture our attention. We’re constantly exposed to the subject via songs, movies, dramas, novels and other kinds of media — and of course, through real-life experiences.
Yet, despite its universal appeal, there is a lot about love we don’t understand. I suppose its mystique is part of what makes it so captivating. Love is this mysterious, abstract entity that eludes any kind of definition or comprehension.
But, every once in a long while, we are able to get a glimpse of some truth about it.
Now, it’s true I’ve never been in a serious relationship; in fact, I've never come close to anything resembling a date. But, I have had my fair share of experiences with love, and I’d like to share some of the observations I've made and lessons I've learned throughout the years:
There’s no love at first sight
There is, however, physical attraction at first sight. Let’s be honest: The first thing we notice about someone is how he or she looks. Literally, the first thing you see "at first sight" is a person's physical appearance.
Now, I’m not arguing that it's impossible to hit it off immediately and stay together forever. But, even in those cases, there’s really no way to fall in love with someone upon first sight.
Falling in love doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye; it takes precious time to get to know someone long enough and well enough to make an emotional connection. There just isn’t enough time within that first sight for this to happen.
Loving someone vs. being in love
Oftentimes, these two concepts are used interchangeably and many people don’t seem to know the difference between the two, but there's a pretty big difference. When you are in love with someone, you’re basically in a constant state of euphoria. You think about the person almost constantly and you can’t seem to stop, not that you want to.
You see everything through rose-colored glasses and everything seems right in the world. But, this is only a temporary state and usually only happens after a relationship starts.
Loving someone, on the other hand, can last a very long time, though it doesn’t invoke the same rush associated with being in love.
When you love someone, you care about the person; he or she is probably a big part of your life, but you don't think about him or her constantly. You are able to focus on your own life, instead of devoting your life to him or her.
You don’t feel the need to always be with this person, but when you are, you'll experience a sense of warmth and comfort.
Loving someone is a more passive state than being in love, but it is a much more reliable and permanent feeling.
Every love is different
With each (potential) partner you meet, the process will always be different. It may seem strange that such a supposedly special feeling can manifest, but it can and it does. When you love someone, it isn’t just about the way you feel; it’s about the relationship as a whole.
Given that every individual is special and unique, your relationship with each partner should be as well.
In every relationship, the way you fall in love -- what you like about your partner, the things about him or her that get on your nerves, the perfect imperfections, how you interact and communicate with each other -- is as unique as snowflakes.
You couldn’t replicate these things with a new person if you tried. With every love you experience, an emotional fingerprint is imprinted in you, each of them one-of-a-kind and separate from the rest.
Love is an open door
When love finds its way into your life, it opens some metaphorical doors, one way or another. Love makes you want to know your partner better, to share in his or her likes and dislikes, to be involved in her life and so on.
Soon, you’ll be listening to music you’ve never heard of because he or she recommended it, watching movies you wouldn't have otherwise and generally making new discoveries and exploring experiences.
Your social circle will also change because you’ll be introduced to her friends, and if you’re lucky, maybe even her family. In short, love makes you want to try new things with your partner as your guide.
There really is no rhyme or reason
A lot of us are familiar with the irrationality and unpredictability of love, either from media portrayals or personal experience. But, you would think that there are at least some guidelines or rules of thumb that apply.
Yet the only rule that’s proven to be true is that there are no rules when it comes to love.
For example, most of us have some general idea of what we want in romantic partners, but oftentimes, the person with whom we fall in love doesn't quite match the “type.” Alternatively, someone who meets all of the requirements may not have that spark.
We have very little control over with whom we fall in love, and it always seems to happen when we least expect it.
When you’re secretly in love with someone, you try to make educated guesses about what you can do to win his or her heart, but it’s never a guarantee. You could be doing all the right things and have all the right traits, but it may just be that no matter what you do, he or she just isn't interested.
Conversely, someone could be doing everything wrong and have all the wrong traits, and somehow, you end up falling in love with that person — no reason, no explanation, it just happens.
Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s okay
Life is characterized by constant change. Circumstances change; people change. Sometimes, these changes can make you and the one you love grow apart, fall out of love or even stop talking to each other. But, that doesn’t mean either party is necessarily to blame.
Sometimes, life just takes two people in separate directions, no matter how hard they try to stay together. Love isn’t always about the ending. As long as you feel that the journey was worth it, there’s nothing to regret.