It’s in all of the songs you listen to, the movies and shows you watch, and the books you read, but when asked how to describe love, how would you do it?
It is by far not the easiest word to describe. It’s not like defining a blade of grass, or a teacup. Love is an emotion, a state of being. How to describe love when you cannot see or touch it?
I feel like this is something we all struggle with when we are young because loving someone outside of our family is a new concept. What does love feel like? How will I know when I’m in love? Do I really love them?
How to describe love
Unfortunately, nobody can answer these questions for you. And you might end up feeling like you love somebody, until years later, when you really do fall in love. You may look back and realize you never loved that person at all.
Personally, I dated a couple of guys in high school that I swore I loved, but then I started dating my current boyfriend *three years strong! Yay!*, and I look back and was like “Wow, what was I thinking? I barley even knew those dudes. I definitely didn’t love them.”
I’ve come to realize something over time. I think love changes, and I also think that there are different types of love, for different times in our life–and all of them are important. These are not in any specific order, as everybody lives a different life that leads them in different directions.
1 The First “Not-Love.” This is the one that you said was your first love–until you actually met your first love. You dated in your teens, hung out at school sporting events, went for coffee dates, and there was always something adolescent about this relationship.
They taught you that love exists, and while you thought that’s what you felt for this person. You’ll eventually realize that wasn’t true love. But you did love them, just not in the same way. You love them for all that they have taught you, and for the experiences you shared together.
2 The “I-Want-It-To-Be-Love.” This often happens when you are best friends with somebody, and you feel like there could be more. Should be more. This has happened to me, and it has happened to many of my friends…
Personally, I had a childhood best friend that I told myself I loved because, somehow that felt right. It was like I was forcing that relationship, because it just made sense, and nothing else seemed to be working. This worked, but it wasn’t love. Not in the traditional sense anyway. I still love him for being my best friend and helping me grow. But I was not in love with him, and I don’t think I ever could be.
3 The “This-Has-To-Be-It-Love.” When you reach a point in your life where relationships just keeping failing and failing, you become desperate. At least I had. I began dating a man that was actually best friend’s with my “first not-love,” so he had been around for years. He had expressed interest in me time and time again, and I just wasn’t interested. He was always so so nice, so one day I gave him a chance. I was pleasantly surprised. He seriously was so romantic and caring.
This made sense right? Nothing had been working, he had been there right in front of me for years, and now that I gave him a shot, things were perfect. This has to be it. Nothing else has worked, and this felt good–this must be love. But it wasn’t. I loved him for being an amazing friend, and understanding BEYOND BELIEF, when I explained the situation when we broke up… But I wasn’t in love with him.
4 Your Real First Love. Finally, it happens. You fall in love and its beautiful and breathtaking and everything makes sense because it finally worked out–despite the obstacles you had to overcome to get there. They see you at your absolute worst, and love you because of it. No more hiding your mismatched PJ’s, or your hungover messy mornings. It’s all out in the open now, and you love each more than you thought possible. This might last into marriage and children, or it might not. Life happens.
5 The Changed Love. I asked my mom if she was still in love with my dad, and she looked at me and said “love changes over time.” And this was one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard. I think I’ll keep that with me forever. She said that my dad did so much for us as a family that there was no way she couldn’t love him, but its different now. It’s not like the love you feel when your 20-years-old.
It’s the kind of comfortable, cushy love that we often forget exists, but is really quite beautiful in itself. You will love this person for eternity, even if it’s not the way it once was. Love changes, but it’s still beautiful.
Appreciate love for what it is
You may note that these are not the only types of love. There are countless other forms and types, and many will repeat themselves over and over again. After your first love, there will be others just like them.
It’s not easy to figure out how to describe love, but the truth is, you will love many people in your lifetime. Enjoy the experience, and appreciate the love for what it is, because it’s an amazing thing.
Don’t try and morph your love into something it is not. The most amazing thing about love is that it just is. It cannot be made into something that it is not. Love is resilient and will remain unchanged. Let it be what it is, and appreciate it because some types of love only come around once in a lifetime.
Understanding how to describe love is impossible, because love is not one thing. It is anything and everything all at once.