I've been talking to number of people in my public and private life about love lately, and I'd like to share some thoughts on the topic.
Having been loved, and loved many times now, I've come to realize that love is a fluid thing and that it's easy to fall in love with many people. As in my previous posts, I've talked quite a bit about connection in an affair and now wonder how many of us seek to just "fall in love" again.
Love is hard to really define, because it different on so many levels. A love for your spouse is no less real, or deep, than one for a child, or a mother, or a sister, or even a friend or neighbor - though they are all radically different. The "love" feeling we experience in all these relationships could probably break down into an entirely new emotional scale if one were to study the phenomenon enough (and I know some have tried).
I was a complete romantic as a teenager, and really believed in Romeo and Juliet, not realizing that they too would one day be Fred and Ethel. My first relationships we're deep and passionate, and of course, I thought at that time our love would keep us together. I still remember lying in bed with deep crushes on girls in school that lasted years, and thinking how wonderful it would be to just to hold their hand. And although the experience of actually holding their hand would have been amazing, I still was able to experience a touch of the romance with just the pure power of my thoughts.
That "newness" one feels when in love though is really temporary. Many married couples like to say "our love has evolved, and changes, and we're probably more in love than we've ever been" - I've said that myself, but it's another type of love altogether. I know deep within that it's definitely not that original special love that brought us together. I know many of us are probably just disappointed romantics, wishing that the "new love" feeling would last a lifetime, before we grew old and cynical towards the idea after learning how easy it is to fall in love over and over again.
Time is really the death of this "new love" because as any of us in long term relationships know - stuff begins to get routine, and we change dramatically as individuals as the years pass. When your spouse says "I just don't know you anymore" or "You're not the person I met" it's absolutely true. We're continuing to evolve each and every day, and we continually acquire new desires and lusts that we secretly hide in the depths of our minds.
This really explains why I personally am on a quest for sex outside of my relationship - I speak of connection, but isn't that what "new love" is all about. It's about feeling these emotions and chemicals pour through us, while focusing on someone to adore - while hopefully being loved in return. In marriage or any long term relationship, it's just impossible on some level to rekindle. Sure, you will have a deeper love, experienced by being with someone for a very long time, but it's entirely different than that new love feeling.
Additionally, I guess what I've come to realize is that love is not outside of us, or between us, but it is us. New love is our focused attention to accept someone for all that they are, without judgement. Early on in a relationship, this is easy to do, we're caught up in the excitement of the experience and everything is fresh - but over time, as we get to know one another, and fuss and notice their faults, this "new love" diminishes and we slowly realize this amazing lover is really just a regular person. It's not their fault by any means, it's ours for not allowing ourselves to accept them fully anymore, without opinion towards their flaws or actions. Of course, love at this point evolves into the deep, long term love I spoke of above.
Having been through many relationships, and a couple long term ones, I also know I've never quite fallen out of love either. In more than one of my past relationships, I know on some level I'm still in love with that person. I always think it's silly when people say "oh, I'm totally over that one" especially when it was a relationship that lasted any length of time. It's part of modern culture to be "not in love" anymore with people from our past relationships, especially when we're involved in entirely new ones. Really though, we're not being entirely honest with ourselves. We all know that love doesn't hide itself away so easily, and that we still think of those past lovers more than we anyone would ever admit.
Anyway, that's that. I'm sure I could add more, edit, and revise my concepts on "love" in this essay - but as they are continuing to evolve, my perspective on the subject can never truly be locked down. ;)