Try any book, movie, or song and you’ll find a different definition of the undefinable experience of love. But how much can we trust these definitions, which have been molded to propel a story or to fit a rhyme?
That’s a tough question to answer because, like a riptide, love is almost impossible to spot until you’re in it.
Try any book, movie, or song and you’ll find a different definition of the undefinable experience of love. But how much can we trust these definitions, which have been molded to propel a story or to fit a rhyme? Possibly the bigger question: Is love the same for every person? It’s totally possible that—just like body shape or personality traits—this concept for which we have one word maps uniquely onto every different person.
We asked people how they knew they were in love, and for each person there was a different definition.
For some, it’s about the little things…
“When you catch yourself smiling at something dumb they did!”
“For me, it was when I saw my boyfriend with his family for the first time. We were sitting around playing a game and I remember thinking ‘wow I love him.'”
“Little things and quirks about that person that would normally bother you if anyone else did them don’t bother you at all but instead are a part of why you love the person. What you love about them is not just a list of things… but the WHOLE of them unconditionally.”
For others, it’s a little more intense…
“When your heart sings at the very mention or idea of being near that person.”
“The ordinary feels extraordinary. You feel invincible. Nothing can bother or annoy you because it’s you and the person you love against the world.”
For some, it’s about the way you see the other person…
“Literally no other person makes you more happy to spend time with.”
“You’re dating your best friend and also want to be intimate with them.”
“It’s hella scary how much you care about the other person. You believe in them and want to support them through anything.”
“You can’t plan the next day, let alone the next year or decade, without thinking about your partner. Because that’s what they are—a partner.”
And for others, it’s about how you feel about yourself…
“When you feel like the happiest, most content version of yourself with that person. When you’re with someone who challenges you and makes you feel like every part of you, the positives and the weaknesses, are amazing because it’s what makes you you.”
Every perspective is different, but one thing is for sure: There is no one right way to define love. It’s totally possible to feel some of these things about people who you don’t think of romantically, and it’s also possible not to feel every single one of these things with somebody you know you love.
Bottom line? We can’t nail love down. We can’t fully define it, let alone figure out how it starts or why it sometimes goes away. But the one thing we can do? Enjoy it while we have it and do our best to keep it healthy and growing. After all, we’re only human. Even if we can’t define love, it’s still the best thing we do.
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