The Meaning of Love – Defining True Love
Live is difficult. It’s one of the hardest emotions to deal with because at one end, it’s so incredible but at the other, it’s awful. Because with love, comes a whole bunch of other emotions tied into it. You can’t just feel love without other emotions fighting for a way through.
That leaves a question for us to ask. What is the meaning of love? What would you describe as true love? It’s so hard to differentiate between what true love is and what passion is. It’s even hard to decipher if you’re in love with someone or if you just love them as a dear friend.
There are tons of different types of love out there. Love comes in all different forms and that makes it extremely difficult to decide if you’re truly in love with someone or if you only have a friendly love for them. That’s why we must define true love before we can decide for sure.
The Different Types of Love
As I mentioned before, there isn’t only one type of love. Accoridng to psychologists, there are actually 7 different types. There isn’t true love and then nothing. Love has phases and it’s important to know the different kinds so you’ll know when you have the real stuff.
- Friendly Love
This is the love you feel between friends. It’s the feeling of protection and fondness for a friend that doesn’t quite reach the level of family love. You feel fortunate to have them in your life and you care about what happens to them – but only as a friend. You don’t want a romantic relationship nor have you thought about them in this way.
- Family Love
You love your family. And as much as your siblings make you want to tear your hair out, you’d have their back in a second if someone was threatening them. This is the kind of family love that you feel for them. You can feel family love for friends, as well, if they reach that level. I have a friend who I think more of as family than as friends.
- Passionate (or Sexual) Love
We all know this love. This is the world spinning, butterfly inducing, powerful love we feel for someone else. This is desirable and it burns brightly in comparison to the other types of love out there. This is also the type of love that makes us forget all about our responsibilities and it can keep us holed up for days.
- Universal Love
No, this doesn’t mean you love everything in the universe. But rather, this type of love is referred to most when you think about religion. It’s the idea of loving nature, a God, or even all people on earth. It’s loving everything for what it is. This type of love isn’t found in everyone, but it’s important to understand.
- Playful Love
If you’ve ever been in a really flirty mood with someone or you just have a hook-up type of relationship, this is the kind of love you feel. It’s uncommitted and very playful. In other words, this is casual love. I know you don’t want to admit to loving someone you only had a FWB relationship with, but chances are, you felt this type of love during those times.
- Practical (Duty) Love
I’m sure you know all about arranged marriages. Parents set up their children to be married with someone who is worthy and even if those two people aren’t necessarily in love, they feel a love of duty to one another. This is also seen in kings and queens. They feel it is their duty to love their people and protect them. There usually isn’t any sexual love involved if you’re in this type of love.
- Self Love
This is both a good and a bath thing. Too little, and it’s bad. Too much, and it’s also bad. But you have to love yourself. You have to have a sense of care and love for who you are and if you don’t feel this, it’s probably very unhealthy. This type of love is necessary to have if you ever want to feel true love for someone else. You have to first love yourself before you can love another.
Mistakes People Make With Love
We’ve all made mistakes when it comes to those we (might) love. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make with love and determining if they’re truly in love or not.
- Thinking Possessiveness = Love
I once had a boyfriend who was beyond jealous. He wouldn’t even let me wear makeup because he said I “looked too good” and he didn’t want other guys going after me. I thought this meant he really loved me a lot. I was wrong. He wanted to own me. Don’t make the mistake of thinking jealousy and possessive behavior = love. It doesn’t.
- Being Blinded By Their Own Love
I think we all know someone who dated a person for way too long because they couldn’t see just how horrible they were being treated. Sometimes people get blinded by their own passionate love (not true love) that they don’t see the harm they’re putting themselves through. It’s tough to realize, but it’s necessary for a healthy and happy relationship.
- Letting Passion Be The Only Love
The honeymoon phase is a real thing. You get so wrapped up in the passion and desire for someone for the first few months of your relationship that you forget about the rest of the world. This passionate love is good an even healthy…so long as it’s not the only type of love you have. Many make the mistake of thinking this is true love when it definitely is not.
- Not Realizing When The Love Isn’t Progressing
Love goes through phases. The initial friendship love you feel for the person morphs into playful love, then into passionate love, family love, and ultimately true love. The trouble is when you don’t realize you’re stuck in a specific type of love and the relationship isn’t progressing as it should.
- Staying With Someone Who Doesn’t Love Them Back
Sometimes love sucks. You feel as though you’re in love with someone but they don’t always love you back. This is unfortunate, but it’s a lot of people’s realities. The mistake with this is that people stay in those relationship when they should save themselves the heart ache and split. Being in a relationship where love is only a one-way street is dangerous and harmful.
Signs it’s NOT True Love
Love is something that is felt between two people. It should be a connection and it can’t just be one sided. There are a lot of signs many people ignore about love that prove it’s just not true love. Here they are.
- Jealousy is Overbearing
When you’re truly in love with someone and they love you too, jealousy isn’t really present. Sure, you may not enjoy someone hitting on your boyfriend or girlfriend, but you don’t feel worried about it. If you’re in a relationship where jealousy is the primary thing, it’s not real love.
- You Only Feel it During Sex
If you only feel love during sex, it’s not real love. You shouldn’t have to get naked with someone in order to feel affectionately about them. You also shouldn’t only feel “connected” with someone when you’re having sexy only. The connection should be the strongest outside of the bedroom.
- You’re “In Love” After One Week
While you may have developed a feeling of one of the types of love after a week of dating someone (assuming you’ve been friends for longer than this), but you’ll never feel true love in this short amount of time. You can’t feel true love without knowing someone on a very deep level and having spent a great deal of time nurturing your relationship. Love a first sight is not true love. It’s passionate love.
- You Still Think There’s Someone Better
If, in the back of your mind, you’re constantly thinking about whether or not they’re the one and if there’s someone better out there for you, it’s not true love. True love doesn’t have doubts. True love is accepting of someone and knowing they’re the best person for you to be with – regardless of if they’re the best looking or anything like that.
- You Try to Change Them
If you’re trying to force your significant other to be more driven or to be more emotional, it’s not true love. You can’t change people and think you’re truly in love with them. You’re in love with the idea of what you want them to be. Because true love is all about loving someone for who they are – even their flaws.
- You Don’t Feel Supported by Them
This is a huge sign that it’s not true love. Because if someone truly loves you and you love them, you’re completely supported in your life. No, I’m not talking about being financially supported. I’m talking about your partner supporting your dreams and aspirations as if they were their own.
- You Withhold Certain Things About Yourself
Some of us try to hide our quirks and weirdness from our partners. We feel it may make them love us less because we’re unusual. But if it’s true love, you don’t feel the need to hide anything. You never feel insecure about your weird habits and quirks that you’d normally withhold.
- You Don’t Argue About Anything
This is something that stumps a lot of people. They think that just because they never fight, they’re in love. But it’s actually the opposite. When you’re in love, you care a lot. When you care a lot, you have strong opinions. Therefore, you’re bound to get into arguments every now and then. And so long as they’re taken care of in a healthy manner, it’s true love.
Signs it IS True Love
Just like there are signs it’s not true love, there are other signs that prove it’s true love. While all couples go through obstacles during the course of their relationship, if you can still stay these things about your partner, it’s true love.
- You Feel Inspired by Them
Having someone else who inspires you to be a better person is a rarity. When this does happens, it’s usually true love. You feel so overwhelmed with them and they have the affect of making you inspired to act differently in a better way. This isn’t to say that they inspire you to skip out on your daily responsibilities.
- They Good Outweighs the Bad by a LOT
Every couple goes through good and bad times. It’s just natural and not a reason to be concerned unless the bad is far more frequent than the good. When you have more great days and very few and far between troublesome days, it’s true love.
- You Don’t Feel the Need to Hide Anything
Being open and honest with someone without fearing their reaction or opinion is what true love is about. It’s being completely free of feeling the need to hide anything about yourself or anything you’ve done from them. When you finally feel like you’re at this point and it’s mutual, it’s true love.
- When There are Fights, You Find a Solution ASAP
You don’t let arguments fester for days. You don’t get into a fight and then push it under the rug without confronting the issue. If you’re in a relationship where you two argue, then sit and talk through the problem in order to come to a conclusion that works for the both of you, it’s true love. Wanting to fix things instead of forget about them is true love.
- You Feel Fortunate to Have Them in Your Life
We’ve all come across people who we just feel lucky to have in our lives. However, if you’ve been in a relationship with someone and you still feel fortunate to have someone like them in your life and you never lose this feeling – no matter what mood you’re in or even if you’re fighting – it’s true love.
- Your Honeymoon Phase Doesn’t Feel Like it’s Ended
You may have put a halt to how frequent you get busy, but you still feel the same passion and desire for them that you did in the beginning of the relationship. That’s how you know it’s true love. All relationships go through ups and downs when it comes to the physical intimacy. However, if you can still say you feel a burning passion for them when you do get busy – just like you did in the beginning – it’s true love.
- You Don’t Want to Change the Other Person
This isn’t to say that you don’t like some of their characteristics. We all have things we dislike about our partners. They leave the toilet seat up. They leave hair in the shower drain. They leave the peanut butter open on the counter. But those things aren’t something you want to change. You accept them for who they are – including all of those little things that are annoying – because they wouldn’t be who they are without them.
- You Work Together as a Team
True love is all about being a unit. You feel as though you’re not two people in one relationship but like you’re a team. When it’s true love, you work together to come up with solutions and everything is split right down the middle. One person isn’t putting in the majority of the work while the other sits back and enjoys the ride.
- You Feel Like Equals
Just like you’re a team, you’re equals. One person doesn’t feel like they’re better or more important than the other. When it’s true love, you both have equal respect and admiration for the other. You’re both equally as important to the relationship as the other. Without this, it’s a relationship that’s not fair and it won’t feel like love.
- You Trust Them With Absolutely Anything and Everything
Trust is by far the most important factor when it comes to true love. You have to honestly trust your significant other with anything and everything. It’s not just about trusting them with your life, but trusting them not to hurt you when they have all the power in the world to do so.
Love is complicated. I think we can all agree on that. But if you want to be able to tell the difference between true love and the meaning of love in general, this will help.