Saying “I love you” in the romantic sense puts a person in the most vulnerable, beautiful, and frightening situations.
It’s so frightening and paralyzing because despite wanting, needing, and learning to love all our lives, we can never be sure what love really is.
We grew up watching movies where boys would grab girls’ faces, look them in the eyes, confess their love and then kiss.
Our hearts started to melt and we hoped to one day find someone like that.
When we try to find our happy endings, we sometimes come across relationships that mimic love.
They look and sound like love, but eventually, we realize they’re not love.
With a horrendous tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, I’ve given you countless love for the wrong reasons.
We may never know exactly what love is, but after our trials and errors, we become aware of what love is not.
Here’s what love is not:
Love Is Not An Obligation
In a long-distance relationship, I kind of joked about comparing communication with my boyfriend to doing laundry: it was rarely a substantial part of my day, I always put it off and considered other things more important, so I did them first.
Still, I knew it had to be done and I would be comfortable once it was done.
I thought love was an everyday obligation.
While love is a responsibility, it is something we take on by choice.
Relationships are hard work, and the love that comes from them is formed after investing emotionally in a partnership.
Being in love requires the kind of effort that couples sincerely want to exert.
Instead of comparing a relationship to doing a chore, a strong relationship should be like a good exercise: challenging, close to difficult, but incredibly rewarding.
Love is not a waste of time, but an investment of time.
Love Is Not A Noun
Love is a verb.
I’ve said “I love you” a million times and yet I haven’t genuinely fallen in love.
Because I still have to really give and receive more than words when expressing what I thought were accurate feelings.
Love is not the talk; it’s being able to act in a way that supports our worship claims.
Words mean nothing if they are not accompanied by gestures that validate them.
You can’t just talk love; you must show it too.
Without loving actions, it’s just another four-letter word.
Love Is Not Babysitting
If our partners see us as people who should put our lives on hold to improve theirs, then it’s not love, you’re being taken for granted.
We are so convinced that being in love means our partner’s happiness is ours, that we may sacrifice our own happiness to make sure our partner is satisfied.
But this notion is not a one-way street.
If we’re not getting the same support and care from other important people, then we become unpaid babysitters – it’s not worth it.
Love Is Not A Walk
Thinking that a solid relationship consists of zero arguments is a common misconception because we hate ugly things and the idea of hurting and being hurt.
But how can we use such strong words as love if we are unable to speak other strong words with our partners?
There must be a visit to the other side of the spectrum of emotions in a relationship in order to maintain balance.
Arguments can make us fall and burn, but fighting gives relationships a chance to rise as phenomena and be stronger than they were before.
Love Is Not A Battleground
Sorry, Pat Benatar, but I’m calling this notion bullshit.
Our romantic relationships should never be comparable to a war zone.
The metaphorical battle scars we acquire over the course of a relationship should be able to heal before a new relationship.
Sometimes we think that arguing is the only way to approach a partner.
But, love isn’t yelling at your partner, it’s your partner listening to you.
The moment we compare a relationship to a chance maker, it’s time to surrender.
We shouldn’t regret our past “I love you”s, but we should learn from them.
The more we learn about what love is not, the more we come to understand what love is.