Falling in Love?
Love – what a beautiful, intense, sensual, and spiritual emotion. It makes the whole world go round, but it also makes time stop around you. The heart goes pitter-patter and the stomach does weird flip-flops inside the body when you catch sight of your lover. Even though you have so much to express, language seems to desert you completely, and no matter how well you dress up, you feel you could’ve done more to look good for them.
Ah, the intoxication of love! Who can claim to be immune to its power? The mightiest of men have had to kneel before it and the haughtiest women have fallen prey to its charm. The pursuit of love has maddened each and every one of us, and however that may have turned out, we can all agree on one thing – ‘it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!’
But as times change, so does the meaning and understanding of love. These days, I see many young people falling in and out of love with such rapid succession that my mind is hardly able to keep up with their antics. Relationships blossom on What’sApp and die on Facebook messenger. Right swipe, and they’re in love, but a few months later, they’re single again, moving onto whoever catches their fancy next.
Young adults profess undying love to someone within days of meeting them, and I can’t help but wonder – could this really be love? Or something that feels quite similar to it, like infatuation?
I can understand why people might be mistaken. Love and infatuation are such strong feelings that it’s extremely difficult to tell one from the other. When you look back, you might be able to spot the difference yourself, but when you’re right in the middle of an intense affair, perspectives are far from clear. To make things even more complicated, infatuation can sometimes lead to true love. But, at other times, it peters out and vanishes in no time.
Both love and infatuation have their own fascination, but to my mind, I would any day take the mature stability of love over the whirlwind high of the latter. Infatuation centers on sexual attraction – that pull you feel towards someone when you set your eyes on them for the first time. You may know absolutely nothing about them, but you’re enveloped suddenly and rapidly by this overwhelming fascination for them.
When you’re deeply infatuated with someone, you behave differently. You’re not your normal self and you’d go to great lengths to please that one person who’s caught your fancy. But regardless of how strong the attraction is, infatuation is bound to die out, either to be replaced by love or that feeling of complete bewilderment, followed by, “Whoa! What the heck was that?”
Love on the other hand is a different experience altogether. And though the greatest poets have failed to capture its true essence, I am going to make a humble effort to explain what love means to me.
Love Takes Time
In the age of 2-min noodles and instant messages, time is precious commodity. But love cannot be rushed. It takes its own sweet time. And just like you can’t get that cake to bake any faster or the cement to set any sooner, you cannot fall in love in a jiffy, no matter what Disney or Hindi films are trying to sell you.
Attraction is instant, infatuation is instant, sexual desire is instant. But love? Love is that beautiful cherry tree that takes time to grow. But when it blossoms and bears fruit, you realize that all the effort you put into tending that tree was well worth it.
Love Runs a Lot Deeper
Unlike the all-consuming euphoria of infatuation, love is about forming a deep attachment with your partner, one that happens when you know each other inside out. What drives love is not appearance or sexual desire, but an intense personal connection with each other. So, although you may have been attracted to your girlfriend’s cute little button nose and curly hair, what has made you stick around is her personality that has revealed itself to you over time.
Love is Synergistic
Love brings with it confidence and contentment. You’re no longer pandering to the whims of your partner or giving into unreasonable demands. When you’re in love, you’ll make the effort to communicate with your partner and set appropriate expectations. By using polite assertiveness, you’re able to develop a comfortable co-dependency that’s harmonious and symbiotic.
Love Lets You Be Your True Self
I think one of the biggest indicators of true love is that, when you’re with your partner, you’re comfortable being your true self. You can drop all pretenses, walk around in your boxers, make an appearance without make up, and go the whole day without having a bath. Everything is cool, because your partner loves you and accepts for who you are.
Love Means Bestowing Happiness
When you’re attracted towards someone, you will do anything within your power to please him / her. That could mean buying them gifts, fulfilling their (sometimes unreasonable) demands, and spending all your time with them.
Love, on the other hand, concerns itself with happiness. It’s a lot stronger and far more deep-seated emotion. You still want to see a smile on your partner’s face, but you don’t feel the need to buy their affections or behave irrationally to win them over. You’ll work in their best interest, but the act, in itself, will be selfless. You don’t expect them to like you for what you’re doing for them or even acknowledge your gesture. You’re genuinely motivated by the desire to give them all that they deserve.
Love is Accepting
When two people come together, there’s bound to be friction and conflict. We’re all individuals, possessing distinct personality traits. We have our own likes, dislikes, and opinions and it’s only natural that we’ll be at loggerheads with our partner over one thing or the other.
Love, however, accepts these differences, embraces them even. Both partners bring their diverse outlook to the table and find a way to work through them. There’s no penalty for being different and you’re not made to feel bad just because your thinking is at odds with your partner’s.
I could go on and on about love, but it wouldn’t be enough. Love starts where infatuation ends. When the high of the romance fades away, what takes its place is true love. When you take off those rose-tinted glasses and see your partner for who they are, not who you imagine them to be, that’s true love. Gone is the need to put them up on a pedestal and worship them. Instead, you start discovering gentle companionship, the joy of sharing all things, big and small, and making a friend for life.
Love isn’t perfect. It makes room for fights, bickering, heartaches, pain, and disappointment. But as couples work their way through these emotions, they only emerge stronger, making adjustments along the way to get along with each other. Love doesn’t call for a celebration every day, but true love is a celebration in itself!