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What is being 'In Love' anyway?

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Confused1829 posted 7/19/2013 08:27 AM

So, I have a question that I feel I can only bring to SI.

I'm in my first exclusive relationship since D. ( I was D in November, 2011 starting dating SO in March, 2013).

Here's the thing: He is GREAT. I have fun with him, he's kind, everything. But I'm concerned that while I love him, I'm not IN love with him.

When I met my XH, I was 22 and was head over heals in love with him from the start. As badly as he treated me later on and as much as I would never go back, I still don't feel that 'in your gut in LOVE with someone' feeling with SO that I felt with XH.

SO is SOOOOO much better than XH. He's emotionally mature, he's kind, he's trustworthy, he's all the things XH wasn't. He is a good man for me, so my question is...

Is that 'omg I'm so in love with someone' part of being young and naive? Does that part just fade as you get older and realize what's best for you? Is love and spending your time with someone more of a decision of what's good for you in the long run?

I am starting to think you just can't have both, that being overwhelmingly, 'in love' with someone blinds the other stuff. I mean, that's just an uncontrollable chemical reaction, right? No one is really destined for someone even though I wanted to believe the fairy tale, the fairy tale doesn't exist You make your own. Maybe the desperate 'in love' feeling comes from not ever really knowing if you have someone really committed to you, ya know?

He's a great guy, and I dont want to stop seeing him. But it makes me question a lot. I know he is seriously in love with me, so is what I'm feeling normal? Or will I never have that 'in love' feeling again because that part of me is gone now?

I don't want to lead on SO, I really do care for him. I don't want to end things with a great man, I know that good men are truly few and far between and hard to find.

Also, selfishly, I live in a place where I very much KNOW that to be true. Part of me feels that my 'clock is ticking' and that if I want to settle down and have kids, there's not much time left. Pickings get slim, ykwim? I know I shouldn't say that and it's taboo, but ladies, it's the truth! And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, at least out of my group of friends.

In the meantime, I'm just taking it day by day and not thinking of 'forever' or the long term. I'm trying not to overthink it at all, but today I just had to let it out.

I'm sure I'll get 2 by 4s for this but I had to just say the truth.

What do you think?? Thoughts?

Take2 posted 7/19/2013 08:55 AM

First off let me frame this by saying, I am not dating, and not sure I ever will. But then, I am older: 55.

There was a thread listing red flags: couldn't put my finger on how to express it but - that "in love", as in WoW!! I'm in luvvvvv" is one of my red flags... maybe even a trigger.

That is how I felt about WS when we met (at 22 y/o too). I was blown away - Where have you been/Why did it take you so long to get here? Blown away. I think in retrospect that it might have had to do with how "blown away" he claimed to have been. IDK

I'm very curious to see the responses you get. There surely are "Squee" posts here in new beginning... but I don't think that the squee feeling can last... abiding love isn't as rife with chemicals I expect.

All that said - I'm not sure how I'd feel about jumping in to anything without the squee...

Okay, meandering... This isn't helpful, I'm in the same place you are, which either means - this is a farily normal thing... or you are as weird as me. Either way, at least that means you aren't alone in your thinking!

And the biological clock... very real I think. Gosh at 42 I wanted to restart - it was like a physical craving to have more children.

[This message edited by Take2 at 8:58 AM, July 19th (Friday)]

Broken hearted61 posted 7/19/2013 10:20 AM

I am very interested in other responses as well. Every relationship, other than my current one, had that same 'Oh My God feeling of being in love'. And each one of those relationships resulted in me trying to make things desperately work. My current SO is just as you described your current guy. I am going with the thought this is a mature, dependable relationship and its all good. The other previously relationships imploded....not good. I'll take reliable, mature any day.

lieshurt posted 7/19/2013 10:39 AM

Is that 'omg I'm so in love with someone' part of being young and naive?

I have read and been told that sometimes this feeling is really about somebody feeding our own dysfunction. For example, I grew up in a household where there was no affection, no "I love yous", no physical touch. When I'm with somebody who gives me these things, I can get that "head of heels" feeling. It took time and therapy for me to see that experiencing these things with a man didn't necessarily equate "love". It's taking some retraining on my part to understand that and to change my focus.

Crescita posted 7/19/2013 11:06 AM

Oh wow, other than the timeline I could have written every word here. My SO and I are a year and a half into our relationship. The OMG THIS IS DESTINY feeling has not kicked in yet. I don't expect it to. What I do expect is to continue to enjoy my time with him while I can, and just see where things go.

I used to think my WXH messed up what could have been a story book romance. Now being in a healthier relationship and looking back on that thought Even before the A, it was only story book if you left more than half the story out.

Walt posted 7/19/2013 12:29 PM

Is that 'omg I'm so in love with someone' part of being young and naive? Does that part just fade as you get older and realize what's best for you?

I'm 52 and I can tell you from my experience that the above does not fade as you get older. Actually I didn't even believe it existed until about a year ago.

OnceInALifetime posted 7/19/2013 12:29 PM

I'm interested in this as well. I've never had those feelings of sparks reciprocated, and wonder if I'm missing out on something wonderful.

This may be hampering my dating life, because I want the sparks.

chikastuff posted 7/19/2013 12:34 PM

I read somewhere (maybe Baggage Reclaim? I can't remember), that that giddy, stomach dropping "in luuuuuuurve" feeling is a symptom of being love-bombed. Love-bombing can happen mutually, it doesn't always come from one side or the other. But that feeling can mask a LOT of issues and red flags.

I can actually remember having this conversation with my therapist early on in my relationship with my current SO. I asked her if it was possible to fall in love, or BE in love with a person without that giddy feeling. She helped reframe the relationship for me and we were able to identify other ways he/we expressed love outside of the stereotypical lovey dovey PDA stuff (which neither of us go for). And she noted that falling in love and being in that fog is not a stable place to be. You're in the process of bonding, but you haven't fully bonded yet and it can be shaky ground and very risky.

She felt the feelings of enjoying being in each other's company, and mutual respect and admiration were more stable and indicative of the emotional place you go to once you're attached. And she thought skipping right to the stable attached phase was natural for someone who had recently divorced. It's what we know and I argue, that's more who I am than a ga-ga in love school girl.

I also want to note, you can be very much in love with someone without being stupidly in love with them. Do you know what I mean?

[This message edited by chikastuff at 12:36 PM, July 19th (Friday)]

Sad in AZ posted 7/19/2013 12:34 PM

The X and I met at age 17, and I did not have that head-over-heels in loooove feeling for him. It was more of a deer-in-the-headlights feeling, and in fact, I broke up with him about a month after we started dating. However, he was persistent, and we started dating again after a month of being apart, and that was when the feeling of being in love started to grow. It was not an instantaneous thing--more of a slow burn.

It lasted almost 40 years; if we were cave people, that would have been forever

I don't want the rush; I want the slow burn again.

wildbananas posted 7/19/2013 13:26 PM

I don't want the rush; I want the slow burn again.

This.

TrustGone posted 7/19/2013 14:15 PM

I have only had that giddy in luvvvv feeling a couple of times in my life and neither were with XWH#1 or WH#2. I did think that WH#2 was the total opposite of WH#1, loving, affectionate, respectful, etc...Until he also had an A. Even though I didn't have that giddy feeling, I was devastated because I did love him and thought he was a wonderful, honest husband, until he wasn't. I don't know if you always get that giddy feeling as you get older. It may have to do with discovering that there is no fairytale romances after all, I don't know. The two times that I had the giddy love feeling, those guys turned out to be jerks in the end. I would rather have a guy that I respected and that was dependable than one that made me feel all lovey dovey inside. JMO

hexed posted 7/19/2013 14:25 PM

i fell head over heals with my SO but that's kind of the way i'm wired. i don't think i came out of my M as jaded regarding romance as some people do. This whole A mess really affects some people much differently. Maybe you've walled off the head over heals part of your heart b/c of your past?

on the other had i read a great bit of advice about dating after divorce. if you meet someone and have an instant chemistry b/c it's comfortable and familiar you might want to rethink. If you're in familiar/comfortable patterns (ie. falling head over heals b/c that's what you always do) you might want to rethink it. it didn't work before -- is it an unhealthy pattern? so maybe the fact that this is a different process for you is a good thing?

InnerLight posted 7/19/2013 18:13 PM

I feel like my SO and I love, respect and admire eachother, but have never been giddy. We have a lot of fun and enjoy each others company. I would never break up because I'm not 'in-love' so I don't worry about it. I have been head over heels in love before (not XWS) and it ended in disaster so I doubt it's importance.

inconnu posted 7/19/2013 19:36 PM

I love my SO, and I am in love with him, so it's definitely possible to have both. Giddy feelings and all, plus being mature and responsible. It's a wonderful combination, actually. And a hell of a lot of fun.

SoHappyNow posted 7/19/2013 20:18 PM

inconnu ^^^^^^^^^ this! And two thumbs up to Walt. I deserve to have it all, and am getting it.

Yet my husband's two affairs taught me, as I plowed straight through the pain to learn the life lessons that I did, that I can survive anything and be JUST FINE and ENOUGH just by myself. So I keep my eyes wide open on a red flag watch. But it sure feels good to warm my hands and other pieces parts on that slow burn.

asurvivor posted 7/20/2013 18:07 PM

Ok so it's schmaltzy and from a schmaltzy movie but I like it

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

kernel posted 7/20/2013 20:59 PM

Is that 'omg I'm so in love with someone' part of being young and naive? Does that part just fade as you get older and realize what's best for you?

No, I don't believe this. There were many periods in my marriage of 25 years where the giddiness/sizzle/burn would come back to the surface. It was there in the beginning as well. The end of my marriage was not a reflection of what it was like for most of the 25 years. I sincerely hope to feel that sizzle/giddiness/slow burn and feeling of utter content combination again.

Confused1829 posted 7/21/2013 12:36 PM

Thank you all for your responses! Lots of really great, interesting feedback.

inconnu and Walt, I truly hope you are right! I want to have that in love feeling again.

Yet my husband's two affairs taught me, as I plowed straight through the pain to learn the life lessons that I did, that I can survive anything and be JUST FINE and ENOUGH just by myself. So I keep my eyes wide open on a red flag watch. But it sure feels good to warm my hands and other pieces parts on that slow burn.
most definitely!

I also agree, that now I know I can survive anything and that being on my own is enough too and I am happy with just being ME. Which is something completely new and wonderful to me that I wouldn't have realized if I hadn't gotten divorced.

Kernel - same. My marriage, though it had it's ups and downs of course, still had that sizzle and in love feeling. The end of our marriage was not truly representative of the relationship that we had. We didn't really fight, yes we had ups and downs, but we were deeply in love with one another.


Sigh, I just hope I am blessed enough to feel that way again. I wonder if it's just a once in a lifetime feeling. I know especially now and realizing what it's like to be single and date, how rare it is to find someone that doesn't raise red flags, is a good person AND you feel that 'in love' feeling with. It's so special and rare. Sometimes it makes mad sad too cause I really thought I had it before. If I'm fortunate enough to find that again, put a fork in me, I'm done!

inconnu posted 7/21/2013 12:56 PM

inconnu and Walt, I truly hope you are right!

Well, I've been with my SO for 3 1/2 years, and it hasn't gone away yet. I hesitate to say we work at the relationship, because it doesn't feel like work at all. But I will say we both make sure our relationship is a priority, we appreciate what we have and each other, and we make the effort to not take it for granted.

We know how very lucky we both are to have this second chance at love, and at being in love.

NaiveAgain posted 7/22/2013 05:30 AM

I love my SO, and I am in love with him, so it's definitely possible to have both. Giddy feelings and all, plus being mature and responsible. It's a wonderful combination, actually. And a hell of a lot of fun.
Yeah. Same here....

I've been in relationships where I never had that "in love" feeling at all...it was made more on an intellectual level where I felt we both were wanting the same things out of life and got along well. I have had the head over heels OMG he makes me tingle relationship.

The one I am in now has both. So, they are all different, but it IS possible to have it all.

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