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  1. For me it is a particular feeling of attachment to an individual, in which my heart swells when I think about them, I feel like I’m a better person for being with them, and at least while I’m in love, I can’t imagine not wanting them in my life. Not the best of descriptions. Mostly it is that warm fuzzy heart swelling joy that my life includes this person in it feeling. And it isn’t the same as lust, a crush, or infatuation. Though those might be present as well. Sometimes there is a clause to the feeling that I couldn’t feel any other way about the person if I wanted to. I can be angry and wish I didn’t know them at the time, I can be embarrased by them, I can be saddened by them, but I still feel this feeling for them which I attach to the phrase in love.

    1. Do you rely on that heart-swelling, warm-fuzzy joy to indicate to you that you are in love? What if you were incapable of feeling those things. How, then, would you know whether you’re in love?

      1. -The only way I can think of that would prevent me from feeling those things would be if I was on a medication that didn’t allow me to feel anything at all-emotional pain or otherwise. If I was in a situation in which I was unable to feel emotion, and love is certainly an emotion, by logic I wouldn’t be able to feel it.
        -Having never been in a situation in which I couldn’t feel anything for an extended time, I honestly don’t know what I would judge love by. I can only go by my own experiences in the past.
        -I don’t think love is sufficient in itself to keep a relationship intact. There are other factors and needs which are either equally or more important. If I love someone, but they are neglecting my needs and after communication they still will not or cannot provide things I consider essential to a successful relationship, then I won’t stay with them.
        -Based on this, I would extrapolate that if I couldn’t feel love, I would judge a relationship by compatibility.

    1. Re: Good question

      since i commented on your entry, i felt it only fair to offer a similar one of my own, though it doesn’t specifically address the love vs in love issue.

  2. It means I can’t walk away.

    1. Yes,

      But does not being able to walk away, equal being *in love,* or love itself? Is there that much of a difference? If so, what is it?

      1. Re: Yes,

        If I knew that, Avdi and I wouldn’t be having the same problems.

        1. Re: Yes,

          That was somewhat of a rhetorical question. If I had a set-in-stone answer, believe me, I’d share it. 😉

  3. definitions wont help

    if someone asked you how it feels to have complete faith in gods existence, you could use a lot of wonderful words, but none of them will specifically identify and explain that sensation of faith. yet people of many different faiths still feel a rapport to the idea of feeling faith – they know the feeling each is describing. Even if its forms and details are different, they recognise an underlying frame of mind inherent to it, they know the sensation you are referring to.

    you have spoken with some regard for other spiritual and religious perspectives. certain zen and moslem beliefs say some things are essentially outside the framework of words and definitions, and their definition of enlightenment or nirvana is a wordless state, a purer mental energy. i believe being in love (as opposed to loving) is one of those things that exists in wordless wonder. it is what it is.

    1. Re: definitions wont help

      Unfortunately, if Avdi has no underlying sensation to match it to, no amount of description will be enough. How do you describe faith to someone who has never known God?

      1. Re: definitions wont help

        How do you describe faith to someone who has never known God?

        i wouldnt ;( thats why i didnt even try to define the feeling of being in love.

        1. Re: definitions wont help

          Yeah, but look at me. I just did (see my journal) 😛

          Same as I try to inject my faith into people who don’t have any. *sigh* Although I never try to evangelize them, per se. Just to describe my own experience. Course they never get it. And neither do I. 😉

          1. Re: definitions wont help

            Same as I try to inject my faith into people who don’t have any.

            this is why i dont really credit the perspective of those who speak of being sure you know the person and are being totally realistic (sorry changchi!)

            if i say “i will have faith in God when it comes down her stands before me and proves its existence”, that isnt faith. faith is believing in it without yet having proof. if i say i will only fall in love once i truly know someone, and know i am safe and that things will go well, that isnt falling in love. those things can weaken or strengthen love over time. but the initial falling requires a leap of faith, and a willingness to take the emotional risk finding out if its a good idea or not. and for as many times as ive been burned by it, and as much as ive improved my ability to avoid certain things, id still rather get burned again than refuse to show that faith to someone. i could never be happy with myself knowing i had closed the door on ever believing in people before i have ironclad proof in my hands. needing that absolute of a safety net would be a failure of my soul more devastating than anything someone else could do to me.

      2. Re: definitions wont help

        William James made a pretty damn good attempt, but it took him a book to do it…

        1. Re: definitions wont help

          thats the best i can do, with the caveat that i consider it undefinable because no other word or combination of words covers it.

    2. Re: definitions wont help

      Do you believe that being in love is anything anyone says it is? Are you willing to acknowledge that there are states of being that are not love?

    3. Re: definitions wont help

      “Faith” is the sensation you have when you sit in a chair. You don’t think about whether it will, indeed, suspend your ass above the ground. You simply drop your weight on it and trust that it will hold, without much thought. That’s faith.

      Now you may be wrong about your assumption, and your ass may, indeed, contact the ground with uncomfortable velocity, but the sensation you had just before you realized you were wrong is the sensation of faith.

      I don’t believe “love” is a whole lot different.

      1. Re: definitions wont help

        is that all faith is??

        I would say that I don’t have “faith” that the chair will suspend my ass.. but rather that I have accumulated numerous experiences of chairs being capable of suspending my ass above the floor.. thus I trust it..
        i.e. there are concrete physical manifestations that I can look back on to justify my belief/assumption in the chair’s capability of ass-suspension…

        Faith is something else, imho… it is a belief in something for which you don’t necessarily have any repetoire of concrete experiences….
        thus.. faith in gods/spiritual faith/what not… is not just based on the artifacts fo physical reality…
        otherwise.. the babelfish would deny god…

        hi Shang!

        1. Re: definitions wont help

          You can justify your beliefs with past experience, but you can never really “know”, in the absolute sense of the word. Until you actually sit on the chair you can’t “know” what it will do. You can only have “faith” that your accumulated data would indicate that the probability of the chair suspending your ass high above the center of the earth without letting you down is very high.

          Now, your assumption is likely to be correct. Assumptions about the laws of physics are pretty damn reliable. But we now know there are exceptions to those laws, howsoever small and infrequent they are. Faith is a common as grass. We all live with faith every day.

          1. Re: definitions wont help

            think i gotta go with tricmstr on this one. inductive logic isnt faith.

          2. Re: definitions wont help

            May I humbly suggest you and Loki look up “scientific method” and the definition of a “theory” and how it is different from absolute truth.

          3. Re: definitions wont help

            While I will grant you that I cannot have “absolute knowledge”=aristotelian certainty about the chair holding me up.. this standard for knowledge is but one of many… and it generally went out of style as a working definition for knowledge after the skeptical crisis of the 16th century.

            Instead.. people back then–and generally what people today–use, is a standard of certainty called–like it or not–moral certainty.. And this standard, while not 100% logically provable (a status that is only possible with the realm of formal logic and mathematics itself, and thus relatively useless in the physical world)generally goes by the rule of thumb that “hey, am I willing to bet my life on it that it is true…”

            Thus.. while moral certainty can never give you 100% certainty.. it can give you something like 99.999%..

            This exposition goes towards the fact that by making moral certainty equivalent to faith, you blur the whole spectrum of relative levels of certainty that people can have about things–and also the kinds of evidence that they use to justify these positions.. and also the whole question of whether certain kinds of belief even need to refer to “certainty” or not…

            I do not have “faith” that the earth will continue to rotate in the manner that it has so far during my lifetime throughout the rest of my life..
            Rather.. I take this as a morally certain “fact of life” (fact=a given) since I have experienced over 10,000 instances of this fact so far…

            This kind of belief is qualitatively different from religious faith in a supernatural being in many ways.. (note, I’m not saying that this kind of belief is superior.. merely that it is different…)
            One notable difference is that there are a lot more kinds of “intersubjective/objective” ways of experiencing these kinds of morally certain facts than there are of generally quite subjective experiences of the supernatural…

            Additionally.. one of the major aspects of items in the realm of moral certainty is that you can test them… e.g. we can all attempt to see if the earth is going to stop spinning today or not.. all we have to do is wait and see…
            I don’t think that this kind of situation is very much like religious faith… if so, it would mean–for christians as an example–that you could put your god on trial and see if he put out…

            And that would not only be ludicrous–but also quite demeaning to the power of faith itself…

            And what is this power of faith? It is the fact that sometimes you just believe in things whether or not you know/suspect/have any clue whether they are going to go as you want…

            I, for example, place my faith in certain people–I can never know–much less generally have a good idea whether these certain people are going to dick me over or not–such things almost never approach levels of moral certainty…

            But I can have faith in them..

            or I can have faith in myself that I am going to accomplish a difficult task..

            And this is a powerful force… it can help people overcome problems that the rational mind (due to insufficient knowledge, for example) might even tell them are impossible..

            but to make faith just another form of probability guessing would strip all of this power out of it..

            it would become merely good guessing..

            Now of course.. you can define faith any way you want.. that is your perogative..
            but do note that your particular definition is merely one of many, and it is not, imho, one that particularly helps one achieve clarity or understanding of the world and our place in it very well..

          4. Re: definitions wont help

            I love it when you use phrases like “relative levels of certainty”. Let me try that on for size:

            “I’m relatively certain!”

            Oooo, that just turns me on like nothing else does.

            I’m not quite convinced that what you really want is “clarity and understanding”, so much as you want to feel comfortable with what you know, with what you believe, with what you have faith in, but it’s not important that I am convinced.

          5. good definitions will help…

            What’s wrong with the phrase “relative levels of certainty?”

            Has no one ever asked you “how certain are you of that?”
            Typical responses are “Very Certain!”, “Fairly certain..”, “Pretty sure…” “Not so sure…”

            Do not these examples exemplify the idea of “relative levels of certainty?”

            Not everything is black or white–in fact, almost nothing is black or white in this universe..In fact, quantum mechanics–something that you sort of vaguely allude to above–tells us that all we really have are relative levels of certainty about anything….

            We are all inherently grayscale.. even in what we believe…There is no “absolute knowledge” in the physical universe..

            And in terms of “clarity and understanding”–that is all that I really want… All that I really have ever wanted…
            It’s why I’m training to be a teacher in a field that will hopefully bridge the intellectual frameworks that have become rather solidified in the technical and humanistic realms…

            To get back to the point, to me, to use a term like “faith” to encompass all the different forms of “believing” is, at the mildest, misleading… at its worst, blurring distinctions has caused tremendous suffering in the world when people have applied arbitrary laws and views willy-nilly to mass groups of people just because they didn’t want to pay attention to the details…(or the details didn’t fit into their world view…)

            Your use of faith pretty much obliviates distinctions in forms of belief and it obscures the role of evidence in terms of justifying why we believe stuff..
            I can believe that the tooth fairy exists and I can believe that if I jump into molten hot lava that I will be burned to death… but these different beliefs are of a totally different kind….

            One is not supported by any evidence, but I can still believe it.. I can have faith in the tooth fairy… or a god… or whatever… I don’t need evidence here at all… (Note.. the lack of evidence does not make tihs kind of belief any less valid, in the grand scheme of things, than evidence-based beliefs.. it does make them, however, inappropriate for answering certain kinds of questions…)

            On the other hand, I do have lots of evidence that if I jump into molten hot magma, I will deeply regret it.. (at least for those few seconds that I am still alive..) The evidence comes in many different forms and has been fairly well confirmed my many separate individuals…

            There is a serious qualitative difference here… one that is analogous to the fact that both water and hydrochloric acid are both compounds, but that they are seriously different if you try to bathe in them…

            In the end, what I would like to know, is why you don’t think evidence plays a crucial difference between faith and knowledge… I will readily admit that the term “belief” encompasses both faith and knowledge.. but belief is so general that it doesn’t have, at least to me, nearly the political/religious connotations that the term “faith” has…

            Finally, ha ha, I would point out that I have the feeling that your point here about “Faith being as common as grass and all around us” is mostly about you wanting to feel comfortable with what you know and what you believe in, and with what you consider “having faith in” to mean…

            Of course, it’s not really important what my feelings are here… 🙂

            We can agree to disagree… 🙂

          6. Re: good definitions will help…


            *broad grin*

          7. Re: good definitions will help…

            It’s so nice to have someone online with whom I can get into serious discussions about important topics… Especially someone who sees the world quite differently than I do.. 🙂

  4. Chemical addiction –

    Purpose of existence.

  5. I would have to agree with …Somethings just cannot be explained…

    In scientific terms, it is just a bunch of chemical reactions within our bodies…That’s all…Wish there was more to it than that though…=/

    1. can you approximate how it feels to you? What’s the tell-tale that you’re in love?

      1. I don’t know if I even believe in the concept of “love”…or being “in love” but I can understand what you are driving at. There have only been a few times in my life where I felt this bizarre feeling with someone. Feeling butterflies whenever I am around them, feeling like I am being whisked away by a simple gaze, feeling like the world could’nt touch me as long as I was in his arms…

        Oh god…I think I might be “in love” right now…


        But it could also be “in lust” or “intrigued”…I have extensive views on this topic which could last a while….I need sleepies….

  6. A Wise Man Once Said…

    “Those who are sensible about love are incapable of it.” -Douglas Yates

  7. i’d recently come to realize how very in love i still am with a person.
    to be completely ambiguous, i’d suggest it’s the insatiable desire to stare into the other’s face forever. and as Becka worded so well in her response, it’s feeling as though you can never be close enough.
    i suppose it’s all really a depth of feeling – not so much emotion, and certainly not rationality, but an overflow of feeling.

    and being “in love” is starkly seperate from loving another.
    the two can coincide, but needn’t. and Love is more important than “in love”.
    if you’re “in love” with a woman, you’ll never want to leave her side, or even stop holding her. if you love the woman, you’ll sacrifice yourself to keep her fed.

    1. But is there really a fundamental difference between being “in love” and romantically loving someone?

      The love you describe when you said, “if you love the woman, you’ll sacrifice yourself to keep her fed,” does not strike me necessarily as being romantic love.

      1. i guess what is or isn’t romantic is how we perceive things. i think that’s horribly romantic, myself. but i guess i’m asserting that romance is not love, and love is more important than romance.

        1. …and when I refer to “romanticly loving” I’m distinguishing between the kind of love a man might have for his wife from the kind of love a parent might have for his/her child, from the kind of love one friend might have for another.

          1. ah – now i understand.
            yes, i do believe there’s a difference.

            there’s few examples i can think of off the top of my head to distinguish.
            i’d say that, if you’ve seen the film Ghandi, when the title character looks to his wife and says “when we first married, i barely knew you; but now i can say with all honesty that i love you” – i’d call that romantic love without being “in love”.

            so i think.

          2. Without having seen the movie it’s hard to say for sure, but that sounds like a clear indication of being “in love.” Which I define the same as romantically loving one’s partner.

        2. Well said

          Thank you Jonathan. I was trying to explain that in my post: if a spark is necessary to YOU, fine. If it is not, fine. Either way you can still have a relationship, whether it’s in love, or just to love.

  8. The way that most people seem to describe being in love is, to me, nothing more than a crush or infatuation. By saying that it is not my intent to invalidate anyone’s ideas about what it means to be in love.

    Avdi says that my view of being in love is different from anything he’s ever heard. My idea of being in love with someone is more about what I want to do for them rather than what they do for me. It’s about wanting to bring another person joy, rather than the thought or the sight of the other person bringing joy to the self.

    Ex. I want to be with Avdi as much as possible, I want to share my hopes and dreams with him, I want to give him support in whatever he takes on. If I can’t be happy in doing these things and give freely, then it would be pointless. I don’t necessarily mean it in a context of committment, but by the same token it’s not all feelings and gushy bad poetry either.

    1. Then perhaps your idea of love is much more selfless than all of ours.

    2. I agree with you.

  9. I struggle briefly with the idea of being in love but commitment always wins out and brings me back eventually to that love “feeling” that is lost most of the time in daily life. I believe that love/true love is finding that person who is the opposite of you in every way but you also share some common ground somehow. Mike is strong in every one of my weaknesses and vice versa. I don’t get it, but I greatly respect it. And being that he is a part of me we work together. Loving someone, to me, is desiring their qualities and admiring who they are to the point of wanting it to be a part of you. Unconditional love is different but builds upon the original idea of love- it is accepting everything about each other, even what is horrid and vile, forgiving trespasses, and working together to become better people and a better partnership through what life throws at us. It is holding one closer when they are pushing away but then releasing them to grow and find themselves so they can return to you again. And resisting the temptation to maliciously hurt your beloved when you experience your own growth spurts. And at the end of the day that sparkle is still in your eye, the one that says I love you so much and haven’t a clue as to why.

  10. To clarify…

    Let me try to clear things up. (Talking to Stacey just now made me realize there is perhaps a need for that.) Avdi, I do think that you and Stacey felt a spark when you first met. I just think that you may not have recognized it as such because you aren’t letting yourself go enough (remember the vulnerability factor?). Also, what you wanted was not a spark, you wanted to be consumed, having never felt that before. And consumed you were not. You were not infatuated with Stacey, nor obsessed. But a spark, I do think a spark was there.

  11. Clarifications and definitions…

    First a question.. then exposition…

    Question: Do you , or anyone else who has responded here, make the distinction between being “in love” with someone and just loving someone???

    I do. I am in love with my partner and, in addition, I also love her…
    To make the distinction clear.. I also love my at-some-point-in-the-future-stepkids Jessica, Jasmine and lil’ Josh–
    ‘s three children..

    However. I am definitely not in love with them…

    That would be disgusting…

    Thus.. I would say that being in love with somebody for me has everything to do with those kinds of feelings that involve what seems to be generally defined by the term “romance”….

    Because I’m in love with my .. I like doing things that I know will make her happy and that she will find special… Usually these things will lead to smooching and often snuggling..but that is not necessarily a predeterminant of whether these actions are significations of being in love or not…

    In addition, many times these “romantic” things are not what people otherwise might consider romantic…
    For example.. I have it first hand from that some of the most romantic things I have ever done for her involve mopping the floor and scrubbing down the bathroom tiles…

    In any case.. I’m getting a bit off track..

    Back to the point.. I think it is entirely possible for partners to continue to love each other while having fallen completely out of “being in love”…
    While they may still care for the person in a general way and never want harm to come to them… they often cease to put a lot of effort into making the other person happy.. they cease to be engaged in the very particular form of loving that is sweet and cute and, with men, often dorky.. and instead genearlly take the other person mostly for granted…
    This state of affairs is all to common, in my experience, but it is often harder to detect, because everyone still, in their own mind, tells themselves that they love the other person.. thus.. they do not worry about the little things..

    anyway.. I need to get back to work..

    1. Re: Clarifications and definitions…

      I would have to say that I agree with everything you have said here. Both forms of love require commitment of time, resources, and feelings, but what differentiates them is the different levels of commitment in all of those areas.

    2. Re: Clarifications and definitions…

      One more thing: Drop the sexual connotation and I see nothing wrong with being in love with one’s children.

      1. Re: Clarifications and definitions…

        Good point! I have been known no occasion to say something to the effect, “I am in love with my son/daughter!” There was nothing sexual about it.

        When Lily was born, I’d carry her around and if people looked at me just the right way I’d confess aloud, “I’m in love!” I don’t think there was any doubt in their minds that I was referring to my child and not my husband (since my husband frequently wasn’t with me).

        1. Re: Clarifications and definitions…

          You rock!

        2. Re: Clarifications and definitions…

          hmmm… That’s quite interesting… I must say that I find it hard in myself to separate the sexual element from the phrase “being in love”…. at least for myself…

          i know, I know.. there are also some exceptional uses of it like “being in love with life itself”… but to me.. these are more extensions of the rapturous element involved in the romantic/sexual nature of my understanding of “in love” than anything else…

          I guess.. for me, the phrase “in love” displays a kind of intensity and fragility that the term “love” itself doesn’t…

          For me, Love is warm and kind and generous and robust and patient and strong…
          “in love” is giddy and sweet and quick and startling…

          Just my meanings though… 🙂

  12. love is something that will never be able to be defined by words.

    1. You’re right! It’s about actions!

  13. While I believe my definition is not the definitive, um, definition, being “in love” to me always meant that I felt something incredible for someone for longer than three months. That deleriously happy, incredibly touched, wonderfully moved feeling that you often have at the beginning of often sexually-charged relationships lasted longer than the expected three or so months.

    But it’s not just that. In addition, being in love makes me feel as though I could spend forever with that person, giving up everything else and everyone else just to be with them, whether or not it would ever work and whether or not it SHOULD ever work. It’s irrational and very very fun and usually involves running away.

    On top of that, I would sacrifice everything for their happiness. I actually care about how they feel (something that does not come easily to me in the past few years) and I give up personal space, freedom, intimate relationships with other people, and my own happiness so they can achieve happiness.

    Plus that ooey-gooey feeling of utter contentment – we don’t have to do anything to have a good time.

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