March 14, 2022

The Difference between Loving someone & being “In Love.”

I’ve been writing a lot about love and relationships recently.

It’s the one area of my life that has always left me a little confounded.

My job and purpose in life? I figured that out a while ago. My family and friends? I’m lucky to have a solid group I can always count on. My finances? I ain’t rich but I also ain’t poor; consider me comfortable with room to grow. My health? I could probably stand to eat (a lot) less sugar, but thankfully, all is well.

But love? Relationships? Well, that’s where things get a little tricky for me.

Choosing the right person, blending my life with someone else’s, creating and maintaining boundaries, managing my anxieties and fears, learning someone’s quirks and dealbreakers, and finding a way to honor my needs and wants while being part of a “we” has proven challenging. Fun and fulfilling (most days) but still challenging.

Luckily, there’s one lesson that I learned pretty early on: the difference between love and being “in love.” It’s one of those concepts that seems to make sense, at least in theory, but it’s also a lesson I’ve had to relearn every single day.

TikTok user Tiarra, who goes by @royaltliving, recently posted a video she recorded back in March 2017 of one of her high school teachers, Mrs. Robinson, explaining the difference between loving someone and being “in love” with someone.

I have no idea what subject Mrs. Robinson teaches, but damn, this should be a required course for every person on the planet:

@royaltlivingThis was March 8, 2017!!! I was 18 when one day my fav teacher decided to spit some game! I’m 23 now !! God I wish I really listened to what she was saying! S/O Mrs. Robinson !! Thank you ❤️❤️❤️❤️♬ Get You The Moon – Kina

“I think ‘in love’ is more like being in the spirit of something. Being in love deals more so with how I feel; it has everything to do with superficial happiness and this and that. I’m ‘in love,’ you know…my heart flutters when I see you. I’m ‘in love’—the spirit of love is in the air and I’m so head over heels, right? But it’s surface, it’s superficial because you can be in the spirit of love one day, and if that person really hits the right button, you’ll be completely out of the spirit, right? So, your heart won’t flutter; you’ll have some other things going on when you see that individual. However, that’s being ‘in love.’

But to love, that’s completely different. That has something to do with my will, my mind, and my emotions. Choosing to be fully committed and invested in another individual, period. It ain’t about what’s happening, what’s not happening, what you do or don’t do. To love is a choice—conscious, mind, body, and spirit. I’m in it and I’m in it for the long haul. I got you, I got your back, and you don’t have to worry about it. 

‘In love’ is superficial. You can feel that feeling and a lot of times we search for that as an indicator of whether or not the relationship is good. But it’s not—it’s not the main indicator. It’s not because that piece comes and goes. You know, I can have that feeling of being in love but what happens when that wears off? Does my mind and my will and my heart still choose to be sold out to you, even when I’m not ‘in love’ or in the spirit of love? If the answer to that question is no, you don’t love ’em. Period.”

And Tiarra’s caption says what so many of us are probably thinking:

“I was 18 when one day my fav teacher decided to spit some game! I’m 23 now!! God I wish I really listened to what she was saying! S/O Mrs. Robinson!! Thank you.”


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