I have thought a lot about love. It's the topic of a lot of my writings. My life is painted in the vibrancy of the things, people, and places that I love. Surrounding myself with love has made me question the nature of it. I remember one specific day when I got caught up in wondering what it's definition was. I finally reasoned that "love is deliberately willing the good of another without anticipation of reciprocation." The definition seemed to fit a lot of aspects of my life, especially in regards to personal love. I believed then, as I continue to believe now, that love is one of the strongest emotions that can be felt and expressed. It is the subject of our dreams, played out in the beautiful outlets of society throughout history. We encounter love in our novels, our plays, our songs, our podcasts, our social media, and interpersonal interaction. Love is everywhere.
The beautiful thing about love is that it always is able to find an escape. It manifests itself in our mood, finding its outlets in the things that we enjoy doing. However, the interesting fact of the matter is that many of the strongest parts of love, specifically falling in love, is not the only kind of love out there. Falling in love is exemplified so much in the entertainment industry. In romantic comedies, two unlikely strangers become grotesquely infatuated with one another to the point at which the audience desires such a romance.
A focus on the moments when infatuation is at an all-time high, the act of falling in love, is a beautiful moment that should be remembered. However, what the entertainment industry often forgets is that it is easy to fall in love, but it is no small feat to stay in love. The perspective that the simple act of falling in love is enough to carry one throughout the entirety of their shared life is one that is difficult to reconcile. Staying in love is not an act that is easy. The infatuation stage of love is one that can last a while, sure, but once it's gone, couples can find themselves removed from one another. The isolating fact of the matter is that attraction and affection are not the same thing, especially for those in my age group of twentysomethings.
The glorification of falling in love and the idea that infatuation can be everlasting is a detrimental ideology pushed onto society. I am not attempting to discredit the beauty of falling in love, or even disprove its existence, but I am instead attempting to prove that long-term love cannot and will not feel the same as falling in love. There will certainly be moments in which infatuation will be prominent. However, as life goes on, I anticipate those moments do not occur as frequently as they do in youth. The differentiation between falling in love and staying in love is a perception that need to be understood. The idea of falling in love is certainly more glamorous and appealing than simply staying in love and deliberately willing the good of another without anticipation of reciprocation.
With every new generation of technology, mindsets change. Upgrading one's idea of love can be a lot like getting a new phone-- it helps you see the world in a different way. Coming to terms with the fact that love is not always going to be butterflies, sunshine, and warm fuzzies is the first step to understanding exactly how to stay in love. Staying in love revolves around the idea of a common interest. Consider your friends: friends oftentimes have largely similar interests. When the warm fuzzies have faded and the infatuation stage or "honeymoon stage" is a simple memory, the secret to staying in love is to continually bond and communicate over a common interest. The idea that falling in love is separate from staying in love has the power to bind society into a genuinely more affectionate place.