Love encompasses a vast range of positive and negative emotional and psychological states, from total acceptance to complete loathing, from the strongest personal affection to the lowest sexual pleasure, from utmost peace to greatest volatility. What it means to be in love differs greatly from person to person, and is more often a product of context than intent. For instance, my wife would say she loves me every day, but I’d say she loves me only when I’m being myself and having fun. She might say she loves me when I’m being overly self-critical, but not when I’m enjoying the time I’m spending with her.
Love is a complex spectrum, and each person will love in different ways. My wife falls in the “intensive feelings” category, experiencing intense feelings of love for her husband even when he’s behaved badly or isn’t showing affection to her in the way she wants. When we’re in a romantic relationship, these intense feelings of love may be more pronounced or more frequent.
Intense feelings of love means something else entirely for some people. True love means being completely and totally open and vulnerable with another person, and being open and vulnerable can mean that you open yourself up to hurt from your partner. This isn’t always a bad thing. It’s just a reality of the situation. If you’re willing to face your fears and take action to protect yourself from danger in the relationship, then that’s amazing and wonderful. If, however, you find that the constant fear of your partner brings you down and prevents you from being true to yourself and your partner in the way you want to, then you’re not in love.
Other people use various love languages to communicate their feelings. Some people feel love when being cared for. They may tell themselves they feel great when they’re doing well in school, for example. Others may feel love when helping a friend or family member get on their feet again. Others may even feel love when spending time with friends or family.
Whatever form love takes in your relationship, it should be formed in much the same way as it would be if you were in a romantic relationship. You must first of all be comfortable with being vulnerable. Next you must learn how to be loving and kind without expecting anything in return. Then you need to learn how to let those feelings of love and security flow naturally and uninterrupted so that they don’t get dampened by negative emotions from another person.
When you feel romantic love for your partner, it’s easy to forget about your own needs sometimes. Remembering that you are the one needing love and security sometimes can be difficult. However, remember that you’re the one who wants to be loved. You have the ability to build your relationship on the foundation of true romance.