What’s the difference between loving someone and being in love?

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“I love you” and “I’m in love with you” are two very different things. Those two little filler words make a world of difference in providing a sense of distinct meaning to a very simple, yet insanely complex emotion: love.

While loving someone can last a lifetime, being in love with someone can be both inconsistent and short-lived. This is because the latter is mostly a phase at the beginning of a romantic relationship. We often tend to use the word “love” ever-so-loosely and mix being in love with actually loving someone. In this article, we take a look at nine notable differences between loving a person and being in love with a person.

Hint: It’s sort of the same difference between light and lightning. Read on to find out more.

Loving Someone Vs. Being In Love – Significant Differences

Choice Vs. Feeling

Choice Vs. Feeling

When you love someone, you make a conscious and consistent effort to continue doing so. You are past the initial stages of falling in love. Staying in love requires work and commitment. Once the rosy glow of the beginning fades, we ought to make a decision and ask ourselves the bigger questions: do we want to love this person and commit to a relationship together? Ultimately, who we love is as much of a choice as it is a feeling. On the days you are angry at each other and don’t quite feel the warm and fuzzy feelings of love – you will know what matters.

Steady Emotions Vs. A Rush Of Emotions

Steady Emotions Vs. A Rush Of Emotions

When it comes to loving someone, the feelings of adoration, respect, and affection come rather naturally as opposed to being based on raw emotions. While loving someone is not based on a storm of heightened emotions, being in love with someone is often emotionally charged with an inexplicable passion and desire for the other person. Loving someone stems from a deep-rooted place within you.

Partnership Vs. Ownership

Partnership Vs. Ownership

Loving someone includes the feeling for the other that goes beyond any self-interest or selfishness on the part of the loved one. It is not a mark of ownership over another person, but the exact opposite of that. It simply means a partnership, not ownership; appreciation, not possession. Being in love with someone is more about yearning for this person and wanting to own a part of them because your happiness literally depends on them.

Commitment Vs. Infatuation

Commitment Vs. Infatuation

Committed love is not the same as feeling intense physical attraction or a crush-like infatuation towards another person. Commitment requires both partners to stay together through the good, the bad, and the ugly – and not just when you are gleefully head over heels in love with each other. As your relationship moves forward from its honeymoon phase into a deeper sense of closeness, a loving bond of commitment is likely to follow.

Stability Vs. Dependence

Stability Vs. Dependence

Have you ever believed you were in love but later discovered that you were “in need” instead? When you are in love with somebody, you tend to put their needs above yours, and you may sometimes find that you lose yourself in the relationship. Loving someone certainly involves a similar sentiment and some sacrifice, but there is a lot more stability and assurance involved. You will feel more comfortable knowing that things are going to be just fine even if you focus on yourself for a bit.

Forever Vs. Fleeting

Forever Vs. Fleeting

When you love someone, it is far more permanent and long-lasting. Even if the person you love annoys the living hell out of you or disappoints you, you still love them with all that you’ve got. But when you are in love with someone, the spike of intense feelings can be fleeting. As time passes and the novelty wears off, you may find that your emotions have diminished.

Accepting Flaws Vs. Not Seeing Any

Accepting Flaws Vs. Not Seeing Any

When you love someone, you accept them for who they are – with their strengths and weaknesses both in the picture. But when you are in love, you may focus on an idealized version of this person while delighting in fantasies.

Wanting The Absolute Best For Them Vs. Wanting Them

Wanting The Absolute Best For Them Vs. Wanting Them

Loving someone is a selfless act. True love involves an overwhelming sense of wanting the absolute best for your partner. You want them to thrive and not be weighed down by anything that does not fully serve them – even if that somebody is you. When you are in love with someone, your brain is hit by a rush of addictive “happy” chemicals, and you just want to be around them as much as possible. It’s like a drug, you see?

Growth Over Time Vs. Peak And Valley

Growth Over Time Vs. Peak And Valley

When you actually love someone, it feels more grounded and resilient. Your bond only gets stronger and more wholesome as time passes. But when you are in love with someone, your connection may or may not be strong enough to weather storms and make it through challenges unfazed. Just because you are in love with someone does not mean that you actually know this person well enough to overcome obstacles together.

When you love someone, you just simply do – you love them for their flaws and their quirks, and the appeal only grows as time passes and you get to know them even more. But when you are in love with someone, there is a possibility that you are just in love with the idea of this person.

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