The Difference Between Being In Love And Loving Someone


I live in South-western Florida, the area which is supposed to be hit hard by Hurricane Irma. I am scared of losing my life, my husband’s life, and my home. Perhaps this is just one reason for the snit I’m in right now, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with my ex-boyfriend than with anything else. My ex-boyfriend and I had a big argument yesterday morning, and I was so angry that I asked my husband to drive me to my counselor’s office.

I went to see my counselor, who happens to be a woman around my age, who has been helping me emotionally ever since my late husband, who was very ill, killed himself in 2009. When I reached her office, to say I was in a horrible mood would have been a gross understatement. I was absolutely furiously out of control, and I was angry because of something my ex-boyfriend told me yesterday morning about that horrible woman he took up with after I left him.

My counselor listened to me, and after a while, she made a very simple statement, “The problem is that you love your husband, but you’re not in love with your husband. You are still in love with your ex-boyfriend.”

After I left her office, I thought about this, and I decided that there are major differences between being in love with and loving someone. So, I decided to write a blog about it. These are just my opinions concerning the differences between being in love and loving, and some of you might have totally different perceptions or definitions of these two quite disparate states of mind. However, I think some of you might relate to what I see as the differences between being in love and loving someone. I think this topic is worthy of discussion, and I’d like to get some feedback from you.

When you are in love with someone, you want that person badly.

You fantasize about what it would be like to be with that person. You have difficulty concentrating because you are constantly thinking about your love object, and you might find yourself talking your friends’ ears off about the fantastic person you met and how much you are in love with him or her. There is a kind of desperation to your feelings. It’s almost as if you think that, if your love object rejects you or leaves you, you wouldn’t be able to survive. You want to become part of that person, and sometimes your feelings border on obsession. You want to possess or own that person. You sometimes become unreasonably jealous of the other people in his life. (From now on, I will use the pronouns “he” and “him” in my blog only because I’m a heterosexual female.) There is an element of unreality to your feelings. You find yourself fantasizing about making love with and just being with the person with whom you are in love.

When you love someone, you need that person in your life.

When you love someone, you don’t feel as though you are floating on cloud nine. You don’t experience the highs (and lows) you might experience if you are in love with someone, but you feel so strongly about the other person that you need him to be a part of your life. What you want most is to make him happy or for him to be happy with or without out you. When you love someone, you often put his needs ahead of your own. Loving someone isn’t about ownership or possession.. it’s about wanting what’s best for the person you love. Hopefully, the person you love will feel similarly about you and will want to be with you. If that is the case, you might embark on a steady relationship or even on a marriage.

When you’re in love with someone, you feel as though you’re on an emotional roller coaster or as if you’re floating on a cloud.

You feel high and on top of the world. When you’re not with him, you worry about what he might be doing and with whom he might be doing it. Whenever you hear his voice, you melt. Whenever you make love, you feel exhilarated and ecstatically happy. You love the way you feel when you are together, and you hope like Hell that the high you feel will never go away. Unfortunately, this feeling of being on a “high” doesn’t last forever, and when you come down from it, you either find yourself loving your partner, or you find that the relationship wasn’t meant to last. Being in love does not necessarily last forever, and it does not guarantee that you’ll have a lasting relationship.

When you love someone, your emotions settle down.

Once you get over the excitement of the honeymoon phase of your relationship with someone new, the two of you settle into a more stable pattern. You want to be together, but you concentrate on building a life together, and you realize that loving someone and developing a successful relationship requires work, but you don’t mind this at all because you can see yourself with that person for the rest of your life.

When you’re in love with a person, you seem to always crave more, but you actually might care LESS for that person than you think you do.

You think you found your soul mate because you have so much in common and the person “wows” you with his charisma or with whatever caused you to fall for in love with him in the first place. You don’t see your partner realistically. You put him on a pedestal and you have elaborate fantasies about him. Being in love is less about who your love object is than about the highs you feel when you are with him or when you hear his voice. It’s about the way he makes you feel and not always about who he really is.

When you are in love, you do not see your partner realistically, but you idealize him. You think he is the most wonderful, most brilliant, most desirable man on earth, and you would do anything to make him return your feelings. Sometimes a person with whom you fall in love is not good for you or possesses qualities which you later learn to dislike.

However, even if you are in love with someone who is right for you, the highs and excitement you feel when you’re in love don’t last forever. So, either the relationship ends or the couple decides that they love each other enough to stay together. It is also possible to fall out of love with someone with whom you were initially in love.

My ex-boyfriend is the most exasperating, argumentative, passionate, difficult, intelligent man I’ve ever known, and by rights I should have my head examined for ever having fallen for him. He is a classic narcissist, and he has humiliated and hurt me more than once, and yet I kept coming back for more until the cheating and the lying became too much for even me. That was when I said “Enough is enough” and I left him. I thought leaving him would be the end of everything, but he continues to pursue me. He is also married just as I am married. He says he hopes some day we will be together as a couple, and maybe because I’ve known him for so many years and because I’m still in love with him (he was our lawyer while my late husband was still alive), I just can’t break off contact with him. If I let a week go by without talking to him, I get depressed. This means I’m probably still in love with him.

My therapist mentioned that being in love has nothing to do with logic, and that it’s purely an emotional state. On the other hand, loving someone can be quite rational because hopefully we see a person we love more realistically.

When you love a person, you actually care MORE for that person than you think you do.

The more you get to know him, the more you need him by your side, and the more you want to make him happy. You get to know one another better, and you hopefully will grow closer together with time, if the relationship is a healthy, solid one. My husband is a wonderful man. He loves me deeply and I consider him my best friend. I can talk to him about everything, including my exasperating ex-boyfriend, and we have a warm, loving relationship. I love him, and I know I would miss him terribly if anything were to happen to him. He is currently in remission from lung cancer, but he only recently went into remission, so we don’t know yet how he will fare over the longer term. I felt the same way about my late husband.

I am sure there are many other differences between being in love versus loving someone, but I wrote this blog in order to talk about the differences I perceive, and to hopefully to start a discussion about it. Be aware that I’ll be off the computer for a few days because of the impending Hurricane Irma.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading this.


So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • gummybears: I totally get what you’re saying Foxie.
    I think you hit on the reason why fewer arranged marriages end in divorce than "in love" marriages.
    I always marvel when I hear about couples that have been in a loving marriage for 70 years and ate also still "in love".
    I think being "in love" can blind us to our faults and our partner’s faults. Those lovin’ feelings help to skew our perception for the good and all too often for the bad.
    If we think about it, most of our relationships: with parents, children, friends all are about showing and reciprocating love, and have very little to do with being ‘in love’.
    But... then again, there is no drug that compares to being head over heels for someone! Haha! Too bad the crash is just as powerful. :(
  • FoxieLadie: gummybears,
    I agree with what you said about arranged marriages. Some of them are doomed from the get go because people who have practically no feelings for one another are thrust into marriages and are expected to survive them. I also marvel at people who have been married for many years who claim they are still "in love with" their partners. My parents’ marriage lasted 61 years, and I know they loved each other very much, but I can’t say they were still in love with one another. Maybe my Dad was still in love with my Mom (she was so beautiful and even tempered), but I know my Mom found my Dad to be a challenge, even though she loved him dearly. I know that being in love blinded me to my ex-boyfriend’s faults, and I suspect he only recently noticed that I tend to have a hair trigger temper possibly because I used to hide it from him when I was still DEEPLY in love with him. It’s too bad that the highs we get from falling in love don’t last forever. But, I suppose that’s the nature of the "beast." Thanks for your feedback.
  • Vale: This is a very interesting topic! I don’t know about this always helping with arranged marriages, unless the families of the couple really did pick the partner they felt was most suitable and not just the one that offered the family the most benefits. As for non arranged marriages, I can definitely see how being in love with vs. loving your partner can have a long term affect!
  • Spitfire: I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong, but to me being "in love" bears the connotation of romantic love which is a mixture of love, attraction and love, but heavier on the sexual aspects, whereas "love" is more of a general term but carries deeper meaning and usually last longer, as attraction and lust is more fleeting than love itself? For example, parents love their kids and kids love their parents, but they are not in love with each other, same goes with friendship, friends can deeply love and care for each other but they’re not in love with each other. Perhaps that’s why parental love and friendship love last longer than romantic love???
  • Vale: Nicely put Spitfire :)
  • Johnny Nicks: There are according to Sternberg 3 main constituents of love. Passion, intimacy and commitment. These lead to 7 different kinds of love. Of which romantic love has all three. Companionate love only has commitment and intimacy.. Basically as Passion comes from unpredictability and insecurity..
  • Spitfire: I knew you’re going to comment on my post with 7 different kids of love. You’re so predictable, Nicks, lol..
  • FoxieLadie: Spitfire (Angela): I have to concur with you that being in love has a greater sexual connotation than loving, whereas love can last longer... what mystifies me is why I am STILL in love with my ex, if being in love usually doesn’t last long, and why my ex can’t seem to get over being in love with me either, although I don’t think he is capable of loving (as a narcissist).
    Vale, I agree with you about arranged marriages. I think if parents who arranged marriages for their offspring took into consideration the TYPE of person their offspring might prefer, the possibility of love would be stronger.
    Johnny, unfortunately passion comes from unpredictability and insecurity, which are emotions many of us experience but really don’t want to experience. Johnny, I didn’t know about the Sternberg theory about the three components of love... thanks for explaining this to me.
    As an aside, my ex-boyfriend just sent me a message saying that he "wants to be a part of me and he wants me." Sound like he’s still in love with me a little bit?
  • Johnny Nicks: Yes he does Foxie:)
    Apologies for being predictable and boring Spitfire. Is that why do don’t pick up my calls any longer :(
  • Ajai: Awesome...AWESOME read! Thank you so much for this, I really needed it. I will definitely come back to read this over and over again for encouragement:)
  • FoxieLadie: Ajai, I am so happy to hear that my blog helped you. Foxie
  • vitameg: Foxie, nice blog.
    I am starting to learn that when you’re in a relationship with a man with very low self esteem one will see strange things. Including that hurt justifies hurt....
    When yourself struggle sometimes with Self esteem, that is when the difference between being in love and loving intervenes.
    When you are in love, you start to take a lot of hurt in the name of love and being there for him, you forfeit the right to care for yourself.
    When you love him, at one point you understand that walking away and even more never allow again to be hurt, it’s ok and that doesn’t prove you don’t love him or that you never loved him...
  • FoxieLadie: Vitameg, I have to agree with you that, when you are in love with a man who has low self esteem, it’s easy for you to get hurt because some guys with low self esteem need the love and attention of more than one woman. My ex, even though he had very strong feelings for me which even bordered on obsession, made ME feel as if I never was enough for him, and this affected my self esteem. You sacrifice a lot in the name of love, until you get so sick of being hurt that you have to walk away because you get tired of the ups and downs... glad you liked my blog
  • Spitfire: Lol Nicks, I was just trying to be unpredictable to test your theory that passion comes from unpredictability and insecurity. So, do you feel more passionate now?? Lol..!
  • Johnny Nicks: You are unpredictable. But photos are needed for passion;)
  • Spitfire:

    I can’t get around the idea of “passion comes from unpredictability and insecurity”. Can “flip flopping”, “hot and cold”, “up and down” be considered as synonyms of “unpredictable?” I tend to withdraw from people who are unpredictable and incite insecurity in me. Predictability is not the same as boring. Predictability means reliability and it provides us with a sense of stability, safety and security. I don’t want to dread calling or messaging my BF because I don’t know whether he’d be in a sour mood or not. I’d like to think that my BF will always be glad and welcoming when I call or message him. I’d like my BF to be as predictable as the sun that always rises in the east every single blessed morning 😊

  • Spitfire: I’ve been with a man who was as unpredictable as the English weather, one minute he was sunny and warm, and cloudy and bitterly cold the next. Honestly, that killed my passion rather quickly.
  • Johnny Nicks: Tell us more Spitfire? I’m intrigued..What did he say about you?
  • FoxieLadie: My ex was very unpredictable, but in a weird way. He either was all business or all passion. He was also unreliable and fickle which is why he is an ex. My husband is predictable but also spontaneous. Spitfire, I also need a predictable mate, although I never quite got over my unreliable ex.

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