You may have heard of a couple splitting up because they claim that the spark is gone already. They may say something like, "We love each other, but we aren't in love with each other."
Often, at the beginning of a relationship, people may find it easy to identify and express their feelings as love. However, as time passes and they settle into a more comfortable relationship with each other, their love may feel less exciting.
Challenges in your relationship may also cause you to believe that you're no longer in love with your partner. You may question the relationship, including your feelings toward the person you thought you loved. What is the difference between being in love with someone vs. simply feeling love for them? What do these emotions mean?
Is Love A Choice Or A Feeling?
For example, choosing to lean in and work through conflict with your partner may show that you are choosing to love rather than abandon the connection. While the intensity of your feelings toward your partner may change over time, you can still choose to love that person day after day.
Potential Misconceptions About Love
Many individuals associate love with the feeling of excitement or energy that may exist at the beginning of a relationship. They may describe the flutter in their stomach, the excitement when their heart skips a beat, and other common symptoms that tend to mark the experience of having a new love interest.
These sensations may occur because of a physical and chemical reaction in the brain when it is stimulated by a new relationship. Some individuals may refer to this as the “honeymoon phase” or “puppy love.” These more intense emotions often don’t last forever. If someone believes that these initial feelings are the only form of romantic love, they may become confused or upset when the feelings become less salient.
So, What Is Love?
People often believe they made a mistake when the initial feelings and symptoms associated with love disappear. Some people are unsure what love feels like, and may believe they weren't in love after all.
However, this eventual shift in emotional intensity is often normal in romantic relationships. It happens because the brain can't keep consistently producing the same high levels of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine; instead, it adjusts over time.
It may be easy to confuse the comfort of a long-term relationship with falling out of love. However, the opposite could be true, and it’s important to not read too much into your shifting emotions.
How To Make Love Last
Couples in love often want to ensure their love stands the test of time. All relationships can encounter hurdles and require periods of extra effort. Here are some ways you can help your love life thrive even as time passes.
Take Care Of Yourself
You may have heard the expression, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s important to do what you need to do to feel happy, healthy, and safe as an individual before you help someone else.
While your partner may add positivity and joy to your life (and you to theirs), you may benefit from having separate interests apart from one another. Taking care of yourself in this way may help you be a more supportive partner. Studies show that forms of self-care, including practicing optimism, can improve martial satisfaction.
Learn Your Partner's Love Language
Gary Chapman wrote a famous book called The Five Love Languages, which discusses the different ways in which people may experience and express love. The five "languages" include:
Acts of service
Gift giving and receiving
Words of affirmation
Knowing how your partner receives love may help you show it in a way they understand.
Focus On The Positive
Humans tend to focus on the negative aspects of their lives more than the positive ones. This inclination may cause you to lose sight of the good things in your relationship. A little bit of gratitude can go a long way in helping you to appreciate your partner more.
Spend Time Together
Couples in happy and healthy relationships often prioritize spending time with one another. Although everyone has different needs regarding quality time, and personal space, with successful relationships, both people typically enjoy being in each other's presence.
What activities you choose to do together or how much time you choose to spend may not matter as much as making sure you're both having fun. Love may take a lot of work, but many couples find their efforts worthwhile.
How Online Therapy Can Help
You may reach a point in your relationship when counseling could offer further insight. Many couples find that couples counseling can be a tool to help strengthen their bond. You don’t necessarily need to have a mental health condition to try counseling, and couples counseling is available for people in any stage of a relationship, from casual dating to marriage.
If you're questioning whether you're still in love with someone, you may not know where to turn with your doubts. Sometimes, friends and other loved ones are too close to you and your partner for you to trust that you're receiving sound advice. Speaking with an unbiased person, like a therapist, may be helpful. A therapist can offer guidance from a more neutral perspective and be a sounding board for your questions.
Online therapy may be a good option for couples, as sessions can be worked around their busy schedules. One study found that couples therapy delivered online was just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. In general, both partners responded well to teletherapy and found that their experience was similar to conventional therapy.
Through platforms such as BetterHelp for individuals or ReGain for couples, you may connect with a licensed therapist from the comfort of your own home. Online therapy can help you navigate your feelings in the relationship and allow you to focus on your well-being.
communication, a commitment to continually getting to know your partner, and more.
Wondering whether you're still in love is okay, and you don't have to work through your doubts alone. Choosing to love and pursue your partner is an investment. Consider reaching out to a counselor to gain further insight on this topic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is love a choice or a feeling?
Love can be both a choice and a feeling. In the early stages, love is often fueled by powerful feelings that we tend to follow with our hearts more than our minds. One day, however, we must decide if those feelings are legitimate and worth pursuing based on other factors as well. So, love is a choice, but it is also based on powerful feelings like happiness, romantic affection, and more.
What does it mean to say that love is a decision?
Saying that love is a choice means that it’s often more than just a feeling. Eventually, couples must come to terms with love as a conscious decision. If a couple doesn’t ever come to this stage, it’s possible that their relationship will be more heavily based on lust or emotion. Saying that love is a choice means that you must show it through your actions and by choosing that person day in and day out.
Is staying in love a choice?
Staying in love can be a choice as well as something that you feel strongly on an emotional level. For example, your feelings toward someone may change in intensity over time, but you can still choose to stick by them. Staying in love is ultimately a choice, and an important one, because we have to make a conscious decision to do what is right for us and our partner.
Is love a matter of choice?
Love is both a matter of choice and a strong feeling. While feelings can change over time, love is more stable. Even if you don’t feel the same way you felt about someone at the beginning of a relationship, you can choose to stay with them even in the more difficult or boring times.
Who said love is a choice?
This is something that has been said by people such as Erich Fromm, Jodi Picoult, and Gary Chapman (as in his definitive book on love, The Five Love Languages). Many a book on love will use such words to describe love. Readers of these books will be familiar with this turn of phrase and understand how it insists on the idea that—unlike Romeo & Juliet—love is a choice and not simply destiny or the power of feeling.
What's true love?
In popular culture, true love is thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime love that can overcome obstacles. That said, this kind of love doesn’t only need to be the domain of popular content like Disney stories—we see it all the time, in fact: it’s the elderly couple walking down the street holding hands or a parent teaching their child their first words. Almost everyone experiences some kind of love at least once in life, even if that’s love from family or friends. True love is something that some of us will discover while others may not. In any case, it’s important to let love happen naturally.
Is love a choice according to the Bible?
In 1 Corinthians in The Bible, Paul famously says, “Love is patient, it is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.”
In this way, love is personified. That means that it takes on the characteristics of a person. The rhetorical message is to show us how love encapsulates the very best of what it means to be human: patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, etc.
In this sense, love is a choice in that we must work to act in a way that allows us to walk in the light of Christ and be loving vessels (e.g. being able to turn the other cheek, provide for the less fortunate, etc.). According to The Bible, therefore, love is an action and a choice.
Are feelings a choice?
Thoughts and feelings arise from our consciousness and subconscious, and they’re difficult if not impossible to control. However, when we do have a thought or feeling arise, we can control how we respond to it. That is our choice, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice at all.
Can we choose whom to love?
Yes, sometimes we can choose whom we love. At the same time, powerful emotions drive the way we feel. It can be tough to decide where the feelings end and where our rationality takes over. In stressful times, you can make the choice to keep on loving someone rather than leaving them. Love often involves both emotions and choice simultaneously.
Can we control whom we love?
It is tricky to say how much control we have over whom we love. Love is a physical attraction, but it is also so much more. We might not have much control over initially falling for a person, but we can choose whether or not to stay in a relationship with them. We can control if we want to continue loving them.
How do we get help with questions about love?
If you are worried about love, relationships, or other issues, you’re not alone. Fortunately, many sources can provide a strong return on investment for your time. For example, you can read a book or books that provide content on love and relationships. Books may be able to help you gain more insight into your relationship.
If you are having significant issues, however, it may be best to consult with a mental health expert. For example, you could speak with one of the therapists available through BetterHelp, an online therapy platform. They can help you sort through your questions, concerns, and doubts in a safe place.
What’s the best content for overcoming love issues?
By looking in the right places, you can find meaningful content and helpful information. You can utilize information on the internet from trusted sources or pick up a book at the library. You may also consider turning to a mental health professional or joining a support group.
What should I read to get help with love?
There are plenty of books that you can read to turn the page with your relationship. You might consider looking for authors who have degrees in psychology, mental health, or the medical field. Sessions with a mental health expert may also be impactful if books aren’t helpful enough.
Is love a choice or chemical reaction?
How do I stop having feelings for someone I love?
- Previous Article
- Next Article