The Different Types Of Love (And How To Know If The One You Have Is Real)

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The Different Types Of Love

Which of these types of love are real, and which ones aren’t?

There are a lot of different types of love.

There’s love that likes to defy you, and there’s love that seeks to define you. There’s love that hides and denies you, and there’s love that boasts and brags about you.

There’s love that only shows up on Friday nights and love that wakes you up early on Monday mornings. There’s love that fights tooth and nail to deny it’s even there, then there’s a love that feels the need to compete to demonstrate its presence.

There’s complicated love that loves to complicate every little thing, and there’s simple love that doesn’t really build on anything. There’s unforgiving love that holds grudges instead of you, and here’s unsatisfied love that never feels good enough for you. There’s love that gives you butterflies from the get-go, and love that always seems to be missing that ever-elusive spark.

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There’s love that thrives on a sense of control, and love that opts at all costs for losing it. There’s love that’s utterly intoxicating, and then there’s love that’s only ever intoxicated.

There’s jealous love that hates competition, and there’s shallow love that thrives on it. There’s love that never shows up for you, and there’s love that just won’t seem to ever leave. There’s love that never seems to get along with your friends, and there’s love rooted in a foundation of friendship.

There’s love you move all your baggage into and love you finally kick to the curb. There’s nostalgic love, and love you can’t seem to remember a thing about.

There’s love you know is wrong for you but it feels so right, and there’s love you know could be right for you if it didn’t feel so wrong.

There’s love that only figures itself out in hindsight, and love that was always just on the brink of working out. There’s love that feels far too familiar, and love that’s only exciting because it’s different. There’s love your parents hate,and love whose parents you wish were your own.

There’s first love and in-between love.

There’s could-have-been love, and there’s never-should-have-been love.

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So which of these types of love are real, and which ones aren’t?

I don’t really think there’s an easy answer to that question, and I don’t think anyone can make one single distinction about what falls within the scope of what constitutes real love.

They say you know only what true love is when you have it. But let’s be honest: how many times have your feelings led you astray — having you go back on your word and utterly loathing someone you claimed to have loved only months earlier?

Perhaps it’s all a form of real love but in different shades and fragments.

Maybe most types of love show up to teach you powerful lessons about who you are and what you desire in this world.

These kinds of love tend to arrive at the absence (and even the expense) of self-love, and they cause a lot of anguish when they leave. But the presence of pain and the lack of duration doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not real.

I think real love looks like a lot of different things, and at the end of the day it ultimately comes down to being a choice. A choice to trust yourself, a choice to commit, a choice to learn from your past and a choice to choose a better future.

Love can be a lot of different things, but the best kind of love is the one that you envision for yourself.

Call me a romantic, but there exists within you an idea of what love could look like. It’s embedded deep down beneath the insecurities, self-loathing and personal experiences you’ve had that have led you to settle in relationships (and in your life).

It’s the kind of love you spend your late teens and early twenties avoiding like the plague; the type that seems very enticing but out of reach when you approach your thirties and forties.

The love you secretly dream about when you think that no one’s paying attention.

It’s the kind of love one you don’t let yourself deserve until you’ve gotten hurt enough to vow you’ll always care for yourself and doggedly learn how to make better choices.

The love that, I’d be remiss not to say, makes all the other types pallor in comparison. The only love worth waiting for.

So trust me, wait for it.

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Shannon Leigh is a writer, hand letterer and curious cat from Northern Ontario, Canada. In her spare time, she runs @thegoddessrebellion and has recently developed an affinity for graphic design.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.