We often casually interchange ‘I love you’ and ‘I am in love with you’ with the people close to us. It happens so as we believe that these two sentences have the same meaning. Actually, they’re not.
Love vs in love are two different things. It’s similar to loving someone vs being in love with someone.
Being in love comes when you’re attracted to or have an obsession with someone. You express it by holding hands and feeling lonely when your loved one is not there with you. You suddenly crave them when they’re not around and wish to spend most of your time with them.
However, loving someone is different. It’s about accepting someone the way they are. You accept them wholly without changing anything about them. You want to support them, encourage them, and want to bring the best out of them. This feeling needs 100% dedication and commitment.
Let’s understand the difference between the terms love vs in love properly.
15 key differences between love vs in love
Love and being “in love” are often used interchangeably, but they represent distinct emotional states and experiences in relationships. Understanding the differences between love and being in love can shed light on the complexities of romantic connections.
Here are 15 key factors to consider when talking about the difference between love and in love:
Falling in love vs being in love are basically matters of choice.
However, if you’re in love then you have no choice but to love the person. It’s something that happens without your consent. Furthermore, you simply can’t walk away from this.
2. Well being
This is an important difference between the terms love vs in love. Love gives us the courage to do things that we thought were difficult. It gives us the power to do better for ourselves.
However, when you love someone, you would want them to be the best. You want them to succeed.
In the other case, when you’re in love, you would not only want them to succeed, you would do things out of your way to make sure they achieve it. You would want to stand next to them and support them in their dream.
3. Shelf life of love
This again differentiates ‘I Love You vs I am in love with you’. As discussed above, when you love someone, you have a choice to be in love with someone.
You make a decision and then start loving. This love has a shelf life. When the feeling dies up or things change, the love might vanish.
However, when you’re in love with someone, there is no shelf life. You can’t just stop loving someone you’re in love with. You didn’t decide to love that person in the first place. It happened automatically. So, the feeling stays for a long haul.
4. Changing your partner
It’s a universal truth that no person is perfect. Everyone has their own flaws, but what they need is someone who can accept them for the way they are.
Accepting a partner without changing them is the toughest job. When you love someone, you live in a fantasy world where you wish your partner to have a certain set of qualities. You may want to change your partner to meet your expectations.
When you’re in love with someone you accept reality. You don’t want to change your partner a bit and accept them the way they are, with their good and their bad. This is the most significant difference between the terms love vs in love.
What does being in love mean and how different it feels from loving someone?
Often you would hear people say that when they’re in love how their partner makes them feel. Well, the feeling is another aspect to differentiate love vs in love.
When you love someone, you would expect them to make you feel special and great. Here, your feelings will play a major role.
But the situation is totally opposite when you’re in love with someone. When in love, you would want to make your partner feel special. This might sound right from a movie, but this is what happens. So, to determine the feeling, see whether you’re putting your feelings forward or your partner’s.
Just like feeling, the desire to be with them or not can help you determine the difference between feelings of love vs in love. They say, ‘If your love is true, set them free.’ This fits well here.
When you love someone, you would need them to be around you. The desire to be with them would be so strong at times that you would want to be with them no matter what.
However, when in love with them, you would want them to be happy, even if it’s without you. For you, their happiness matters the most. You would set them free and won’t stay with them unless asked to.
7. Ownership and partnership
It is important to understand the difference between love vs in love. When you love someone, you have a sense of obsession. You would want them to be yours only. This explains your ownership over your partner.
When you’re in love with someone, you seek partnership. You both decide to be each other and would look at your relationship as a concealed partnership.
Love emphasizes companionship, friendship, and shared values. Being in love often places a higher emphasis on passion, desire, and physical attraction.
The difference between being in love vs loving someone lies primarily in the sense of reality.
Love is grounded in reality and accepts that relationships have ups and downs. Being in love can sometimes create an idealized or exaggerated perception of the other person and the relationship.
10. Emotional dependency
Another difference to note in ‘in love vs love’ debate is emotional dependence.
Love focuses on mutual support, trust, and interdependence. Being in love can sometimes involve emotional dependency, where one’s happiness is heavily reliant on the presence and attention of the other person.
11. Growth and development
Love encourages personal growth, individual pursuits, and shared goals. Being in love can sometimes lead to a temporary loss of personal identity as individuals become consumed by the intensity of the relationship.
Love emphasizes emotional intimacy, trust, and vulnerability. Being in love often involves heightened sexual desire and a strong physical connection.
Love is a profound emotion that goes beyond romantic relationships, encompassing care, compassion, and deep affection for others. Being “in love” typically refers to the passionate and intense emotions experienced in a romantic relationship.
Here are some more differences between love and being in love explained for your understanding:
Some common questions
Now that we have discussed the key differences between the concept of love vs in love, it’s time to answer some readily considered questions about both terms.
Can you love someone without being in love?
It is possible to love someone without being “in love” with them. Love can exist in various forms, including platonic, familial, and deep friendships, where the intensity of romantic infatuation may not be present.
Which one is better – to love or to be in love?
Neither is inherently better than the other. Love and being in love are different experiences, each with its own merits and challenges. As per relationship and marriage advice, the importance lies in finding a balance that brings fulfillment, happiness, and healthy dynamics in relationships.
Understanding the nature of your love
Understanding these key differences between love and being in love can help individuals navigate their relationships with greater clarity and self-awareness.
It is important to recognize that both love and being in love can coexist in a healthy and fulfilling romantic partnership, but it is also essential to cultivate a foundation of love that goes beyond fleeting infatuation or temporary euphoria.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships Read more and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.
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