What’s second nature to many may come with struggle for a few.
I sometimes feel a bit of intrigued envy for the ability of others to effortlessly fall in love over and over again. I have friends who find themselves in love with every single person that they date seriously. Every partner that they have becomes a blissful romantic affair, even if short-lived. And if it is short-lived, they just start the process all over again with the next person — back in love before you know it.
It’s never been that easy for me. In my life, instances of romantic love are far and few between. I can date a person for months, enjoy them, develop a connection but still not feel in love. I can have a boyfriend with whom I never envision going past this phase.
But I love, love. I relish the tenderness, the adoration and passionate affection. I enjoy the butterflies and appreciate the progression of growing more and more fond of another human being. Nothing feels more magical. I look back on those rare occasions where I have encountered such richness of relationship with profound gratitude. I am thankful for having loved and been loved because I believe it to be nothing short of a privilege to experience.
This leads me to wonder, if we all want it the same, why does love seem to come to some much easier than others? For the latter, it can feel as though your test is full of essay questions when everyone else is breezing through multiple-choice responses.
Over time and observation, I’ve come up with a few distinctions:
Varying Definitions of Love
Love for me may not be love for you, and vice versa. Love is a personal experience, and therefore defined personally. My idea of love involves more choosing than falling. Some may view love as being with someone every possible waking moment of the day. While others are drawn by having the space to be individuals without waning chemistry and intensity.
It’s not apples-to-apples. Everyone has different needs. You could meet the exact same people, have the exact same experiences as a person in love and it still not evolve into that for you. Some definitions may also be more common, and thus come attached with needs more readily fulfilled.
Value of Companionship
Some are willing to put up with and do more than others in order to attain or maintain companionship. It’s simply higher on their list of priorities. Research has shown that relationships and romantic love are fundamentals of our biological nature. Yet, that need will never undermine my need to be respected, valued and supported. To me, these are essential components of love that are just as, if not more crucial than companionship.
I also enjoy my own company and have no issues with doing things alone. So, while I take pleasure in having someone to join me for movies, engage in conversation or lay around the house with all day, its weight is not substantial enough on my list of concerns to serve as a motivator.
We Find What We’re Looking For
I’m more of a ‘wait-and-see’ type of person. Those who fall in love quickly and frequently often go into the situation looking for love. They want it to be love even before really getting to know the person, sometimes to the point of making it so. They aren’t concerned with potentially fatal flaws or reasons not to pursue the relationship.
Or, they’re just more open to love. Engaging cautiously can breed skepticism and keep you a bit closed off, especially in the beginning. The vulnerability that serial lovers instantly exhibit is inviting, and likely comforting as the other involved party doesn’t have to fret over trying to “figure someone out.”
It’s Not Love
I do believe that love is unquantifiable. There is no set explanation. No rules. There is no right or wrong way to love, only the way best suited to each individual. However, sometimes what we are witnessing is not actually love — not in its pure, authentic, all-encompassing nature.
Sometimes, it’s co-dependency and attachment, masquerading as love.