I've been the girl who's stayed with a guy longer than I should have because I thought I was in love.
Looking back at that situation, I actually had never been so unsure of where I stood with a guy. While I had really strong, intensely passionate feelings for him, the times I wasn't with him felt like going through a drug withdrawal.
If he didn't text me, I would go crazy thinking up scenarios of why he wasn't speaking to me. Imagining him being with another girl made my whole world come crashing down.
I felt like I needed him in my life, like I wouldn't know what to do with myself if he wasn't around. I would spend hours in my shower crying because I was scared I would never see him again.
It wasn't healthy. At all.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have seen that just because my heart raced a thousand miles per minute at just the thought of this guy, it didn't equate to love. Just because I felt like I needed him, it didn't mean I did.
After all, I'm right here, right now, doing perfectly fine without him.
Despite the pain of it all, I'm glad I got the chance to experience that ~passionate~ love. Because at least I know now that it's not what I need.
When people describe love, they usually characterize it as this passionate, whirlwind type romance. I no longer see that type of romance as love.
Some people are able to achieve the kind of temperate relationship I'm looking for.
In a 2015 study on love and happiness, Aaron Ben-Zeév, PhD, coins the term for this phenomenon as "mild love."
Companionate love is less intense, but is a warm feeling of affection and tenderness that people feel toward those whose lives are deeply connected with their own. This type of love develops over a long time span and it is accompanied by an increasing level of emotional trust.
Mild love may sound monotonous (by definition, it means "not extreme"), but there's nothing boring about stability and moderation.
That doesn't necessarily mean I don't want butterflies for the guy I'm seeing, though. It just means I'm cool with dating someone I didn't fall head over heels for immediately.
Mild love may sound monotonous, but there's nothing boring about stability and moderation.
Because sometimes, the slow-burn kind of love is the best kind.
You tell me what sounds more romantic: A love that makes you cry in your shower every day out of fear of them leaving you forever, or a love that is lasting, creating a deeply connected, joint life built on years of slow-growing emotional trust.
Profound love, which involves a process of meaningful development over time, cannot be generated at first sight — it requires, among other things, time and joint activities. When love is fresh, it is very intense; however, with time the lovers might achieve profundity. The taste of love (and eggs) is marvelous when they are fresh; however, love can become more nutritious with time. As with food, both taste and nutrition are important, but if you wish to live longer, or to have a longer romantic relationship, the value of romantic nutrition cannot be ignored.
It's easy to see why people see passionate love as true love. Passionate love has those intense, life-changing moments of excitement and desire. Who wouldn't want that?
But the good also comes with the bad. And as my love life has shown, you can't have extreme highs without extreme lows.
Sometimes, the slow-burn kind of love is the best kind.
One of my most vivid childhood memories was a violent fight between my mom and dad in a mall parking lot. I can still remember all the screaming, fist-throwing and name-calling.
That didn't look like love to me then. But throughout my teen and college years, I began to see that as passion.
But there was no stability in that passion. In fact, that passion was kind of dangerous.
And when I experienced that passionate love myself, I luckily came out on the other side knowing it's not what I need.
So ,whenever I see these crazy, on-and-off again relationships on TV, like Kourtney and Scott on "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," it has no appeal whatsoever.
To me, it seems toxic and unstable — just like my parents (who, surprisingly, have not gotten divorced).
Now, the main thing I look for in a relationship is someone who can comfort me and make me feel calm. I have diagnosed anxiety, and the last thing I need is for someone else to add onto that.
In my experience, passion is fleeting.
People who have "fallen in love" with me quickly and passionately tend to fall out of love just as fast. Those intense feelings fade, and when they do, there has to be something underneath all of that to keep the love going.
People who have 'fallen in love' with me quickly and passionately tend to fall out of love just as fast.
I don't want to wonder if things are OK between me and my significant other. I want someone I can depend on.
I want to simply be happy just being together, rather than seeking out how to be more intense and more passionate.
As dull as it sounds, I want mild love.