what does it mean to be in love with someone?
my wife says she doesn't believe i am in love with her, that i am only in love with the idea of her. she doesn't really believe that i know her.
i don't really know what the defense against a statement like this is. she can't really know what i do or don't feel.
this has had me thinking about what it means to be in love with someone. is there anyway to say exactly what it is that makes you love someone? poets seem to use metaphors and similes to get at the nature of it and can say things that we can sometimes identify as truths. however, it seems to me that love is too complex to vocalize or to rationalize in any real manner.
certainly, i could make a list about things i like about her and what i enjoy from her when we spend time together. but that doesn't really seem to put my finger on it exactly. there are a lot of people whom i admire and like spending time with, but that doesn't mean those pieces add up to love or justify exactly why i would rather be with my wife than anyone else.
a friend told me this quote by irvin yalom, "romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection."
that feels right. being in love is a mystery that doesn't seem to be rational or easily explained and deconstructing it may actually cause you to realize how tenuous and illogical of a thing it really is.
so when my wife says she loves me, but she isn't sure she is in love with me, what does that really mean? what are long term relationships based on? certainly there is an ebb and flow of attraction, passion and feelings of romantic love. i guess if you are lucky you both come back from the ebb at the same time...
is romantic love sustainable forever? or is it that passion brings people together and love keeps them together? or is it a bit of both?
also what is being in love based on? do you ever truly know another person? do we ever even truly know ourselves? and if we can't know ourselves, why would we expect to be able to know another person completely? so, is it fair for her to say that i love the idea of her, but not her?
maybe in the sense that we don't know another person exactly. but, sometimes we do know things about another person or see things in them that they can't see about themselves. so, where does that put us? maybe sometimes a person can know us better than we know ourselves or at least know some part of ourselves better.
i am not saying that i know her better than she does. but, it is possible that i know things about her that she might not know about herself and vice versa. sharing one's life with someone for 8 years is deeply intimate and i think i have an idea of the person whom i have been sharing my life with. not that i know everything, but i do know something.
can i say why i love her? sort of. i can express a lot of intangibles and strong feelings and emotions with words. but i am not sure it gets at the essence. the real essence is that right now she is the only one i want to spend the rest of my life with. if i could chose how life would work out, i would chose it to work out with her. i would chose her above anyone else or anything else and it wouldn't be a hard decision. the only why i can figure is that being with her is simply satisfaction and happiness for me. she has been a friend, lover, and companion and it has been mostly fulfilling on many levels.
obviously, i won't go on with her if she isn't able to feel these things for me any more. but, if i could find a way to make it work, i still would want to.