How to recognise love?

Dear reader,

we often hear that rhetoric question “what is life without love”? And that notion of love being the ultimate driving force that keeps everything moving and sorts things out. You will also come across poetic writings in literature about love being a verb, which is very interesting, for language does determine how we think about things and life. In today’s blog I’ll explore the concept of romantic love between two partners. Other types of love we might do some other time.

Everybody talks about love and yet we don’t often know what it truly is and have difficulty describing it. We do slightly better by feeling (or not feeling) it. In the sense of when you love someone, you put up with things you never would with another person, you will go 29386 extra miles for them and they may be giving you million reasons to leave, but you are deciding to stay for only one reason, over and over again – because you love them. When your phone pings and you see their message your heart jumps. When you see your loved person, your body reacts to them. When you hear their voice, your own melts. When they don’t give you affection, you feel hurt like hell. And when you catch their eye, if it’s mutual, you both know how the other one is, you have common language, you feel each other and you work things out. Without wanting to change the other person. Am I being overly romantic? Today I had a chat with someone, who said my standards were too high, I should have been more realistic and such love doesn’t exist in real life. I said I won’t apologise for making them uncomfortable because their standards were lower than mine. And I didn’t.

Romantic relationship scene in London is quite unique, I must say. I hear it from my clients and I see it with my friends as well as myself. In such a multicultural city, where people do their lives differently as well as process and express their emotions in different ways, it’s not easy to find true love. Many times the word might be used prematurely and too easily, saying “I love you” way too casually, like misusing the word “happiness”. Both then get a bad name, people get bitter and disappointed and, well, unloved, blaming love for it. But love’s nothing to do with it, or does it?

So how do you recognise if you really love someone when you are not sure? And how do you know they really love you back? If love is a verb, it means it’s something we do. If love is a noun, it’s something we have. If it’s an adjective, it’s something we are. Whichever resonates with you better, take it. In life they probably go hand in hand, interchangeably. Let’s first explore how you know if you truly love someone. Do you love them because of something the other person has or does? Would your love stop if they did something to upset you? Does your love change based on what the other person does or does not do?

Now let’s go for the other side, how do you know you are loved – do you feel like you can wave your fist in front of the other person over and over and they will still be there with you? What would happen if the two of you terminated the relationship – would the other person still care for you? Or would they punish you? Manipulate you?

If you are not sure, try breaking up and see what happens. I don’t want to suggest this as something you should do (how would I know anyway), rather I’m offering this as food for thought. Would you be happy for the other person if you saw them being happy with someone else? Would they be happy for you? Would you wish the best or the worst for them? Would they pick up the phone if you rang them?

If you find yourself still having gentle, loving feelings towards the other person even when they are not with you, then you probably love them. If you are happy to be seeing them happy, even when this picture does not include you, you probably love them. If your affection for them is constant (which does not mean you wouldn’t get upset or cross with them), you probably love them. And if you are wanting to have them back in your life, but not forcing them to, you also probably love them.

Similar could go from the other perspective, so let’s build further from here. If you no longer had a relationship, what would the other person do – would they erase you from their life? Would they be insulted? Would they be playing games with you by using your friends in order to get to you? Would they disappear? Take revenge? Do you harm? I’m sure you could find your explanations on what those behaviours are so I won’t offer mine here, but one thing is certain – it’s not love.

In the end, love is going to kill us all. Or save us all? Have you ever been truly loved? Or truly loved someone? Have you experienced both? At the same time? Is this something that is common or rare? Let’s see what you think. Hope this is useful.

Biba

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Love is like an engine that drives things forward.