The Difference Between ‘In Love’ and ‘Love’
By: Kathy
December 29, 2013

What’s the difference between ‘in love’ and ‘love’?  I hear people all the time say, “I love them, but I’m not in love with them anymore.” How do you know if you love somebody or are in love with them?  And what is the difference?

Being in love is really just a feeling.  It is the infatuation we feel when we are first attracted to someone.  You might say this is the more romanticized view of love.  We feel tender love for someone and are endeared to all of their quirks and nuances.  This is the love that everyone talks about, writes love songs about, the kind of love we see in the movies.  It certainly can exist beyond the early stages of a relationship, but we must be careful with it, because most of us are more in love with the feeling than we are with the person.

Loving somebody is quite different.  When we love someone, we truly care about their well-being and the love doesn’t go away when they have a bad day or do something stupid.  It doesn’t always feel like ‘in love’; it is more a choice, a determination, a stance that you take.  Love, in this case, is a verb – it is something you do, not something you feel. And here’s a scary take-away . . . when you love someone, you might not get anything out of it!

The biggest difference that I see between the two is this. Being in love’ is focused on you, while love is about the other person.  ‘Love’ is about what you give, while ‘In Love’ is about what you desire to take. One will withstand the test of time while the other one will continue to elude you. 

I know this may seem confusing and may go against everything that you’ve ever thought about love, but it is time that we explore this concept of being ‘in love’. I’m not saying that we should be in relationships where we don’t feel love.  What I’m saying is that if we are sold on the idea that we must feel this overwhelmingly powerful in love feeling for a relationship to work, then our relationships are doomed.  A real relationship will have ups and downs and get sideways at times.  Bringing two very different people (or even two very alike people) together to share a life, a residence, finances, family, and a bed together for the rest of their lives will absolutely come with some rough patches.  You will get angry, there will be conflict, you will have wonderful times, and you will break each others’ hearts at times.  But if your love remains steadfast, you and your love will come back together stronger through it all. ‘In Love’ can’t possibly compete with truly loving someone and it will never stand the test of time.

If you’ve been struggling in your romantic relationships, I encourage you to explore your definition of ‘in love’.  You may be chasing a very elusive feeling while the opportunity to have true love with someone is passing you by!