To love or not to love

There’s a question I always like to seek other’s opinions on. Of course, I already have MY opinions on the subject, but here’s what I have to ask!

The feeling between “loving” someone, and being “IN love” with someone… how do you personally know and can feel the difference between the two?

I tend to have a lot of trouble differentiating the two, but mostly because being IN love with someone isn’t really a feeling.

I love most people, often to a very high degree. For me, the difference between loving someone and being IN love, is the commitment to put them equal to yourself fully. It’s a decision you make together after loving someone a lot.

Hope that makes even a little sense!

Romantic love is a very weird feeling in general! It’s hard to describe sometimes, but it’s kind of an irrational feeling. It makes you feel tingly in ways you can’t explain, and often (but not always) it’s accompanied by physical attraction.

Thank you for the replies, gents ^^

It sorta does help me to some extent, but I’m always open to hearing more opinions on the subject too. I think part of the New Year’s Resolution I had for this year was to try and seek out MORE knowledge about things as opposed to remaining ignorant and intolerant of things. So I appreciate any opinions anyone can pass on :3

Philosophers have mused for centuries on the different kinds of ‘love’ and what it means, and it shows up even in the bible.

It’s clear though that there are different kinds of love, from familial love, to brotherly love, to romantic love, to sexual love. We’re clearly built to form deep, meaningful bonds with others.

so as to the question of “loving” and being “in love” I look at what those feelings inspire. is it a sense of appreciation, camaraderie, trust and gratefulness? Sounds like brotherly love. Do I want to be physically intimate, does the presence of them make me feel physically and emotionally excited? Perhaps that’s more romantic love.

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Loving someone in my experience is more active on your part, and arguably the way more important form of love. God calls us to love our enemies, which means it can’t be based on happy feelings - it’s hard work, turning the other cheek as they treat you wrongly, refusing to gossip or hate on them as they slander you, being longsuffering in the face of the evil that other person is doing to you, with no repercussions (yet). Maybe no repercussions ever, if they come to Jesus and he takes their punishment for them. Truly loving someone can be absolutely miserable at times, but we do it because God calls us to, and it’s what He does for us

Being IN love is wonderful, by comparison. It’s like being on a drug, you’re intoxicated with the feelings. You want to interact with the person and be with them as much as possible. It’s scary because you do things you’re not sure you should be doing, like talking to them to much, going great distances to see them, buying them things, it’s almost as if you’re not in control of yourself. Sexual attraction in this context is doubly scary, as Christians who are trying to wait until we get married >o< But God is always faithful and helping, as strong as those feelings may be, they’re not stronger than Him

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I DEFINITELY feel a strong pull of brotherly love towards you Tom. Ever since we had the chance to get to know each other over Telegram, there’s a bond that I feel that’s become unbreakable if I may be so bold. You have a high level of trust towards me, and I trust you with a lot of my dark secrets as well XP.

I really appreciate your thoughts just like with Sleet’s and Taiga’s, it really helps put things into perspective for me ^-^

and YOU, I really appreciate you, first of all joining the forum! And secondly, also replying to me <3

Now, I know the type of love I feel towards Tom I ALSO feel towards you after all of the stuff we’ve been through together. That brother/brother + brother/sister pull, but with you specifically there’s always felt more to it than that… Like, when we’re talking about deep things or you’re listening to me vent about having a bad day, I get this tingly feeling in my chest, as well as shortness of breath. I always assumed it meant that I was THAT anxiety stricken that I was close to having a heart attack or something, but I feel that may not be the case entirely.

There’s… some kind of desire that God has me feeling where I just want to see you and hug you because when we hug each other I feel the warm embrace just making my stress vanish.

Now is that feelings of being in love or am I just going THAT insane that I’m having some weird kind of hallucination when we see each other in person? >_<

It doesn’t help that I’ve come up with cutesy nicknames for you over the years too XP

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Funny enough, I was thinking about this earlier without having seen this. For starters, I think there are a few different kinds of love. There’s platonic love, which is what I feel for my friends; there’s a kind of love that I feel for my family (not sure what to call it, but it’s different than the other types of love that I know of); then there is romantic love, the kind of love that most people think of when they hear the word love, which is what a person (hopefully lol) feels toward their partner.
I personally believe there is a difference between love and attraction. When someone has a crush on somebody else, I think that’s an attraction, as chances are that they’re fond of some parts of the person and are just hoping/wishing/believing not necessarily with proof that other parts of the person fit what they’re attracted to. For instance, if you like somebody because you’re physically attracted to them and share some of the same interests, but don’t know if they’re the same religion as you (assuming it’d be a problem if they weren’t), if their dreams or aspirations would be compatible with yours, etc., then you might just be wishing or guessing that those parts of the person are what you hope they are. I’m only speaking from my own point of view and experiences (which are very few) so take my opinion on this with a grain of salt.
Now, what’s my direct answer to your question? Basically, loving someone, to me, could mean that either you already have a relationship with them and “love” them (whether they’re a close friend, relative, or romantic partner), or that you’re simply “loving them” in the sense that you’re being extra kind to them, giving them gifts, helping them through a tough time, or something like that, but doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually have any real relationship with them. Being in love with somebody typically means that you’ve fallen in love with a person romantically, in my opinion. I’ve never really heard of any other story of being “in love” that didn’t end up meaning romantic love overall. I think it’s just a matter of which words you use, really. It might freak your mom out if you tell her that you’re in love with her as opposed to telling her “I love you,” know what I mean?
Anyway, these are only my views on the whole thing. I think everyone who’s responded so far has shared quite insightful thoughts. :3