For the longest time, I couldn’t tell the difference between “I love you” and “I’m in love with you”. To me, they were synonymous. At some point, they even became mutually exclusive; one being unable to exist without the other but being able to stand on its own once birthed. And for a while, I was convinced I had it all figured out. I thought being ‘in love’ was the encompassing of the emotion you felt and only you can feel; your 2am and 3pm thoughts of this person that had you believing in happy ever after, how (s)he made you feel…complete.
While ‘loving’ was the proof of being in love, the actions you took to show that you’re in love, the things you do out of love. But as I grew up, I realized that there was a difference. I don’t know how I knew, maybe it was the sense of injustice in me at the fact that I’d say “I love you” to a random superman that saves my iPhone from making acquaintance with the floor as I trip and still utter the same three words to the girl of my dreams that made me desperate to believe that I had it wrong and I knew if I ever was going to have my own happily ever after, I had to find the true meaning behind those two phrases.
Fast-forward 4 girlfriends, 2 flings in 6 years, I knew a couple of things for certain; a lot of people thought like a younger version of me, that being in love and loving were synonymous but I you can’t blame them. The line that separates the two is thinner than the veil that covers the bride enroute the alter. I also knew that of my Ex’s, I was only in love with one, the rest, I loved but I still didn’t have the words to describe this difference that was as clear as watching a 1080p video on a 17” laptop.
Then I met her and it hit me harder than the wrecking ball that hit Miley.
Allow me to use an example to differentiate between ‘loving’ and ‘being in love’.
I love reading novels, I love watching high-school drama/romance movies like ‘A Cinderella Story’, I f**king love milk! But here’s the thing, if a freak EMP detonates and wipes every movie from every database everywhere, all books spontaneously combust because of a reaction between the air and their pages and all cows suddenly stop producing milk (Breast milk doesn’t count), I would be sad for a while, but afterwards, I’d dust off my shoulders and keep on living, nothing spoil. I’d find a new hobby, a new genre of movie to love and I’d find a new addiction (pizza, maybe).
But if I was in love with the things I mentioned earlier, there is no way I’d be able to shrug it off and keep moving forward. I’d find a way to recall all the words of every novel and rewrite them, I’d find Hillary Duff and make her act another movie, I’d turn into a crazy scientist and start working on experiments to give me milk-producing cows.
What people don’t know is that loving, by nature, is conditional. You love the way (s)he makes you feel, how (s)he laughs, how (s)he always seems to get you, even at your worst. You love that (s)he can tell when you’re angry and when you’re just snappy because you’re hungry. (S)he is simply amazing but…what happens when (s)he changes? What happens when (s)he can’t seem to tolerate your mood swings anymore, when (s) can’t ‘accept you for you’ and keeps trying to change you? What happens to the love then? The fact that the things I ‘love’ are no more didn’t change me. Life as I know it still goes on, I’d find replacements.
Being in love is however much more…scary and beautiful. Because you don’t love something about the person but you are in love with the person himself/herself. You have come to realize what makes him/her tick, what drives him, what eggs him on and you love him still. Not his mannerism or how he makes your mind and body respond to his touch but the sum total of everything and none of those things at the same time. If this is lost, there is no replacing it ‘cos part of you is lost in that love.
Loving someone can lead to falling in love with that person but they are not the same thing. The latter transcends the former by a long shot and I think Jamie McGuire figured out the difference, that’s why he said;
“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you”
He loved her first, then he fell in love with her.
This is what I genuinely think. How ‘bout you?