The Difference Between Loving Someone And Being In Love

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By Shweta Advani

Love is a term that is used very loosely these days. People mistake being in love with actually loving someone.

Being in love involves attraction, infatuation, obsession, or possession.

What is the difference between loving someone vs. being in love?

We meet someone, we find them attractive, and we spend time with them, hold hands, hug, kiss, and develop surface feelings. We crave them when they are not around and get high whenever we spend time with them.

It is due to the fact that our brain releases certain chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin when we are falling in love and getting closer to someone but usually this chemical rush doesn’t last long.

Loving someone, on the other hand, is a deeper emotion that lasts longer.

When you love someone you want to see them grow, you encourage them to reach their highest version. You take the time and effort to nurture the relationship. It requires commitment.

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Loving someone means giving love unconditionally without keeping score, whereas being in love is based on temporary feelings of attraction and what you can get in return from the other person.

Loving someone is an act that requires extending yourself towards the well-being of another.

Here are a few main differences between loving your partner and being in love with them.

1. Being in love can happen involuntarily whereas loving someone is a choice.

“Being in love with someone can stem from infatuation, possessiveness, and obsession. Loving someone, on the other hand, goes beyond physical presence. You desire to see them grow, you see past their flaws, you see opportunities of building into each other and together; you motivate, encourage and inspire one another.” – Kemi Sogunle, Relationship Expert.

Being in love can happen involuntarily, we might feel attraction or lust towards anyone and start obsessing about them.

We meet someone and we feel a rush of certain rush of chemicals in our bodies that trick us into believing that we love this person but this rush doesn’t last long whereas loving someone is not just based on chemical rush, it is a conscious choice that we make where we want to contribute to other person’s growth, we want to see them happy, we motivate them to reach their highest potential and love them without conditions.

2. Loving someone means putting them first.

According to Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Life Coach Keya Murthy, "Loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean putting them first always. It’s a highly-skilled act and refined emotion where you learn to put both of you on the same plane."

Being in love is focused on what you can get from the other person.

You are with someone as long as they are fulfilling your needs but loving someone means putting them first.

It involves extending yourself for the well-being of the other person. It is focused on giving unconditionally.

You accept your partner for who he or she truly is without being controlling or judgmental and trying to mold them into an image that you have in your head of how he or she should be.

3. Being in love is based on infatuation and short-lived, loving someone lasts longer.

Falling in love can stem from attraction, lust, or infatuation. You meet someone, get intimate with someone, your brain and body are high on love chemicals and you develop surface-level feelings for them and you mistake it for love.

But being in love is generally short-lived as the initial rush doesn’t last longer.

But loving someone lasts longer because it is a conscious decision that you make to stay with this person even after the initial rush has gone because you love them in totality for who they really are and you are willing to put in the time and effort to nurture them and see them grow.

Murthy says, "Being in love could be short-lived because there is the word “in” in it, which implies that you could be “out” of it too unless you work on your relationship and you outgrow being in love and start loving the other unconditionally. Loving someone lasts longer for sure than being in love."

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4. Being in love is needy; loving someone is wanting the absolute best for them.

Being in love is falling in love with someone because of what you can get from them because they make you feel better about yourself or help you to overcome your loneliness.

You fall out of love as soon as the other person does not give you what you want in the way you want.

Whereas loving someone is wanting the absolute best for them and wanting to see them happy wherever they are in their lives even if that includes being away from you.

“When you truly love someone, in a clean, unattached way, there is an overwhelming sense of wanting the absolute best for them. True love is wanting the absolute best for someone, even if what is best for them is to not be in a relationship with you,” – Jordan Gray.

5. Being in love is about ownership and loving someone is about a partnership.

Being in love is about possessiveness or ownership. You basically view someone else as a way to fulfill your needs and you want to own them because your happiness is based on them.

You will just fall in and out of love based on what you can get from a relationship. It is all about “I” and not “We.”

Murthy explains, "When you are in love, you might say things like “my girlfriend” or “my partner” etc. implying you own the other because of the relationship. There is the separation of I, me, and mine, as Buddha called it the trinity of self-delusion. Whereas, when in a partnership, without consciously being aware of it, you grow from the “I-me-mine” to the “we and us”. This is our car, our house, our dog, our vacation, etc. becomes part of your reality. Even if you alone are invited you say “let me get back to you” because you want to talk to your partner about it before you confirm."

Loving someone is like working together as a team. You want to share your experiences and growth and move forward together. It is all about “We” and not just “I.”

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Shweta Advani is a writer for The Minds Journal, a platform that brings together writers and readers from across the world to share thoughts that promote self-development.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.