When asked to remind his wife how much he was in love with her, Al Bundy, from the television show, Married With Children, would say,“I love beer, I love bowling—I don’t wanna cheapen the meaning of the word.” Some people argue over the semantics behind love and in love. However, in the poetic sense they have two very different meanings.
The distinction between these words can be described by the Greek words, filios and eros. Filios is the love of a family member or close friend (“I love you”), while eros is the passionate love reserved for only romantic partners (“I’m in love with you”). A man may say that he loves you, however, whether or not he is truly in love–depends on nine important factors.
Love (Infatuation) Vs. Being In Love
- Your Best- When in love, the relationship should bring out the best of both, you and your partner. Love, by itself may feel giddy and happy, but if you evaluate yourselves honestly, you might find you’re trying to be something you’re not just to keep him around.
- Happiness- When in love, a guy will be happy when he makes you happy. This is contrary to love, which offers a guy the most gratification while you’re making him happy.
- Selfless- “A cardinal rule for Happiness is not to think less of ourselves, but to think of ourselves less,” says Dr. George E. Vaillant, a researcher that has been studying love and happiness for decades. When in love, a man should seek to understand with compassion. He will wonder what he can do to make your life better. Love may drive a man to treat you to nice things, however, those “gifts” will be given in expectation of receiving something in return.
- Planning- When in love, a man will plan his weekends around you. Love, on the other hand, only coerces a man into making his own plans, and then seeing if you fit into them.
- Joy- “The secret to life is finding joy, not happiness,” says Dr. Vaillant. “Happiness is drive reduction (i.e. “My peppy feels tingly; therefore, I will have sex, and be happy)—Joy is connection.” Vaillant would argue that only when love is no longer about its rewards, will a guy understand what it means to be in love.
- Future- When in love, a man will see a future with you. Love in itself, does not necessarily influence a man to think ahead, as he will be mostly concerned with the here and now (see the above example: “My peppy feels tingly”). In other words, he is not committed for the long haul.
- Vulnerability- Love can feel dangerous to a man’s heart, because he knows it may result in commitment, sharing, expectation, and an eventual heartbreak. Being in love, is when a guy allows those fears and vulnerabilities to bring the two of you closer. He understands that weakness and loss are all a part of the risk, but worthwhile, none-the-less.
- Attachment- Men in love will become attached to their relationships, whereas, love itself, is more of an addiction. You can differentiate between the two, as the addicted man will cry out, What’s your problem, during an argument. The man in love will ask, What can I do to make this better?
- Pairing- Pairing up as a couple in love, is about sharing intimacies with each other. Love is the comfort of having someone in your arms, and the convenience of a built-in Saturday night date. Saying the words, I love you, might make a man feel like he’s a part of something special. However, until he can say, I’m in love with you, will he understand the full meaning of these words.
True love should be selective, connected, and enduring. You say Pot(ay)to, he says Pot(ah)to. However, when it comes to romantic love, five words (“I’m in love with you”) are usually better than three (“I love you”)!