Love Vs. In Love: Which Is Better?
"To give and not expect a return. That is what lies the heart of love." - Oscar Wilde
Love makes the world go round. But if you had to choose between love and being in love which would you choose? As a counselor, I spend a lot of time talking about love and being in love. A common question is, "What's the difference between loving someone and being in love?" Most of the time when people ask this, they're wondering about their love life. So, while I recognize you can love many people in your life in many different ways, I will be focusing on romantic love for this article.
Love vs In-Love: Chemistry
The chemistry behind love and being in love is a fascinating topic that social psychologists have found affects us in a variety of ways cognitively and behaviorally.
Being in love is a heady, lusty, lovely experience, often with great passion. It's a state of near obsession with your partner or love object. You don't see flaws. You crave their presence and spending time with them. You may find great joy in simply being able to watch and listen to them as you go about your day-to-day lives. Being in love is indeed like a drug. Being in love is usually a phase at the beginning of a relationship. It's chemistry, it's infatuation and it's short-term. We can be glad about that because many people report a loss of appetite, increased energy, and insomnia in the throes of being in love. Being in love is a foundation for long-term love. Though there's no way to keep the infatuation going as strong as it is during the NRE (New Relationship Energy) phase, couples that do well with pro-relationship behaviors will find themselves being in love many times over the years and knowing the difference of being in love vs love is a significant factor.
The Role of Oxytocin
Love is different from being in love or being able to love who you love. When you love someone deeply, the chemical balance in your body is affected. Oxytocin is released when you see them, prompting you to form and develop your bond. Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone that helps you bond with other humans, as well as animals. Loving someone can be best described as a type of emotional attachment. The long-term bond is strengthened by the action of a hormone called Vasopressin.
Falling in love is a different chemical process. Falling in love requires lust and sexual attraction. It uses the chemicals in your body thgetets your heart racing, literally. Dopamine is activated which makes you feel euphoric. Norepinephrine makes you feel nervous, making your hands sweaty and your heart beat faster. Serotonin makes you feel so deliriously happy, it's as though you've lost your mind. Falling in love can be an overwhelming experience, but watch out for making any serious decisions about your partner during the intoxicating initial stages of this. It's not likely you have yet had a real chance to review their flaws.
Benefits Of Being In-Love
Falling in love is energizing. Love is powerful. It is exciting and thrilling, typically with passion. This is a necessary stage for long-term bonding and attachment. All that exhilaration can't last forever. That's why being in love eventually gives way to a deeper form of love if you stay with your partner.
Some couples find themselves in committed relationships without ever having experienced a phase of being in love. Often, a client will reach out to discuss their concern about committing to their partner if they have never felt a strong sexual connection. The benefit of experiencing the crazy-in-love stage is that it builds a basis for the long haul. Couples renew and refresh their love tank when they return to the in-love stage that catapulted them into coupledom. It is important to understand that while chemistry isn't everything, it helps enormously in the rough patches you will inevitably hit in long-term love. If you are considering committing to your partner, and have never felt sexually attracted to them, you must be clear about why you are planning to sacrifice your sexual satisfaction for the remainder of your relationship.
Benefits of Loving Someone
Love is different from being in love. When you love someone deeply, the chemical balance in your body is affected. Oxytocin is released when you see them, prompting you to form and develop your bond. Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone that helps you bond with other humans, as well as animals. Loving someone can be best described as an attachment. The long-term bond is strengthened by the action of a hormone called Vasopressin.
Drawbacks of Being In Love
Being in love is temporary. All that lust and attraction cannot be sustained over the long term. One of you may experience falling in and out of love at some point in your life. Being in love is all-consuming - love is crazy and it can make you feel out of control. When you fall in love too easily, or only crave the thrill of NRE, you go from one relationship to the next, never enjoying the closeness and comfort of long-term love. Being in love can be addicting, especially if you expect your relationship to always feel this exciting. Watch out for this, as this idealism can result in the ending of relationships that could be quite promising and healthy.
Some people struggle to form strong relationships. The good news is, there are tools to help you, such as online therapy. Research shows that online therapy can be a powerful tool for strengthening relationships.
You may read the full study here: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning.
Drawbacks Of Loving Someone
The drawback to loving is that it's not as exciting as being in love; there typically isn’t as much passion. The drawback to genuine love is that it takes work, sacrifice, and time. You must be committed to putting in the effort that a long-term relationship needs for the sake of its future and health, even once the initial, exciting phase of the relationship is in the past (though long-term relationships can still be quite exciting!). This takes maturity and level-headedness. There will be periods of disappointment and restlessness in the relationship. There will be times you don't like your partner. You will hurt each other. You will need to communicate well, be willing to settle the conflict, and set aside your own needs fairly consistently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is The Difference Between Love And BeingIn Love?
True love is often what comes after you fall in love. When you’re in love with someone it tends to be earlier on in a relationship. You may feel head over heels for them. Being in love can bring strong feelings. It’s easy to overlook any of the imperfections of the other person because the feelings you have for them can make you feel blind to them.
This is often referred to as the “honeymoon phase”. However, true love is what happens when you move past this stage. It’s much easier to be “in love” at the beginning of a relationship before reality sets in. The focus tends to be more on romantic love.
But eventually, these initial feelings begin to fade away and seem a thing of the past. You start to notice things about the other person that you didn’t notice before. It’s not all smooth sailing all the time. This is the point when some people think they’re falling out of love with the other person. You no longer have those butterflies in your stomach, and they aren’t on your mind every moment of every day.
The feeling of infatuation may be gone, but don’t worry this is normal progress of love. This is when you and your partner can grow to a deeper level. On some days you may have to choose to love your partner because it may not feel easy at the moment, but this only helps grow your connection and love for each other more. This is the difference between being in love versus true love.
Can You Love Someone and Not Be In Love?
It is possible to love someone and not be in love with them. For example, if you are divorced, your ex may be a person you love for the rest of your life. You have a connection, memories, and possibly children in common. The reasons that you separated may not be something that makes you hate the other person. But while you love them, the two of you may have decided to go separate ways. Eventually, you could find that you’re in love with someone else while still having feelings of love for your ex.
What Is It To Be In Love?
What does love feel like? When you’re falling in love, the other person begins to consume your thoughts and attention. Other things in your life aren’t as important anymore. Other people aren’t attracting your attention. Everything in life may seem a little better. Food and drink are better. People seem friendlier. Spending time with them is the most important thing. You may feel like all is right with the world. These are some of the signs that you’re in love.
But for relationships to be successful long-term, romantic love needs to grow into a different kind of love. The stages of love that follow don’t have all the same feelings that you experience in the beginning, but it grows into a level of trust and comfort.
As your romantic relationship deepens, it’s important to understand that love becomes a choice. Simply loving your partner when it’s easy isn’t going to develop true love.
Is Love a choice?
When you are in love with your partner it doesn’t always have to feel like you’re in love with them. Those initial warm and fuzzy feelings that come with a new relationship don’t last forever. But love is a choice. When you’re in love with your partner, you choose to continue loving them as your relationship grows. This is how your partner can also grow into becoming your best friend as well.
Love doesn’t always feel good. For example, when you love someone with a mental health disorder, there may be challenges that your relationship experiences. It may be hard at times. If you’re struggling to make the relationship work, you may benefit from meeting with a couple’s counselor that can help.
How Do You Tell If He Is in Love With Me?
"Does he love me back? What are the signs?" If you’re in love with him, you probably want to know if he feels the same way. Some signs you can watch for include:
- He prioritizes you over himself and other things in his life
- You’ve been introduced to friends and family
- He spends time doing things that you like even if he doesn’t like them
- He respects you
- He tries to make you laugh
Don’t worry if you don’t notice these signs in your man. This is not an all-inclusive list. Some men become quieter and more withdrawn when they realize that they’re falling in love because they aren’t sure how to process the emotion.
Can a relationship Last Without Love?
Relationships can last without love. However, they’re not likely to be healthy relationships. If you find yourself thinking, “I just don’t love this person,” you may be wondering what to do next.
If the person you’re with feels the same way, you have the decision to make. The two of you could decide to go your separate ways. You could decide to just continue on the way you are even if you’re both not happy. Or, you could choose to spend time working on your relationship and reconnecting with each other – but for this to work, both of you must desire it and put in the work. You may be able to find a life coach that specializes in relationships, a couple’s counselor, or an online therapy option like BetterHelp.
Can You Be in Love With 2 People?
You can fall in love with two people at the same time. You may appreciate different things in each of them, and both may be uniquely special people to you. However, if you’re going to move forward with a relationship it’s important to focus on the love that you have for that person. Remember, love is a choice.
What Is the Difference Between “I Love You” And “I’m In Love With You”?
The word love means different things to different people. For some people, there may not be a difference between these two sayings. So final thoughts would be not to read too much into these words. If you question what it means to the person saying it to you, ask them.
What Are The 4 Types of love?
The word love is used a lot these days. And it’s important to understand that there are different kinds of love. The 4 types are:
- Affection (storge)
- Friendship (philia)
- Romantic (eros)
- Charity (agape)
Do Men Fall in Love Faster?
Research over the years tends to suggest that men fall in love faster than women. They are also more likely to fall in love at first sight. But that’s not always the case.
What Does Real Love Feel Like?
Real love brings a level of trust, comfort, and commitment. It can help you to feel loved in your relationship. When you love your partner, you know that you’re going to continue choosing to love them even with their imperfections. It doesn’t always feel easy and long-lasting relationships can be a challenge, but in a healthy relationship, the work is worth it.
Does True Love Exist?
True love does exist. However, people must understand that it might not look the way they think it’s going to. Movies have a way of portraying love and relationships unrealistically. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re not likely to find it. True love means commitment through good times and bad; it means weathering the storms of life together and trusting that you will be there for one another.
Why Do We Fall in Love?
Falling in love is natural. As people, we’re not meant to do life alone. It’s nice to have someone that you can depend on and turn to for support and connection. The exact reason why you’re in love with one person over another can depend on what you think is important and what attracted you to them in the first place. You may fall in love with someone and your best friend who is just like you may not understand what you see in that person. Love is personal.
Why Is Love So Fleeting?
Why do some people feel like love is fleeting? Love can be fleeting because as people we’re imperfect. When imperfections begin to show through and the initial feeling of being in love wears off, we have to choose to continue loving the other person. Some people don’t realize that the loss of those initial feelings is a normal part of a relationship's growth and so they continually chase it.
How Does an Act When He's Falling In Love?
Some men become more emotional when falling in love. They may turn all their attention to the object of their love. Other men may not know exactly how to process being in love and they may pull back a little. Some men become jealous easily. Not all men are the same, so they won’t all respond the same way. If you’re unsure if your man loves you, you can always take a more direct approach and express your feelings or ask him how he feels.
Below are additional commonly asked questions:
What does being in love mean?
How do you know if you are in love?
Being in love can feel different for everyone. You may feel physical sensations; some describe falling in love as a feeling as though their heart will swell and burst out of their chest (in a good way) when they see or think about their special someone, while others may feel butterflies in their stomach. If you’re in love with someone, you may find yourself thinking about your future together, what your family may look like (children, pets, where you might live, and so on), and you’ll likely realize at some point that you have a strong emotional connection. When you’re in love with someone, you may recognize that they bring you happiness and you still wish to be with them even when times are hard and you aren’t necessarily getting along; there is a desire to keep working on the relationship and to be there for one another.
What is the definition of love and love?
Is in Love by Amy Bloom a true story?
In Love by Amy Bloom is indeed a true story. This memoir details her relationship with her husband of 13 years as he develops Alzheimer’s disease, the incredibly tough decisions that they had to make, and how their love shifted through this very challenging, trying time.
What are the stages of falling in love?
What does love feel like?
How do you tell if a man loves you?
How do you tell if a man is falling in love with you?
How quickly do people fall in love?
What is the difference between I love you and in love?
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