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[QUOTE=Smokey Bear]Love? That is a question I ask myself a lot these days. I think there is more than one kind of love, in fact, there could be as many different kinds of love as there are people in your life. For instance, I love my parents, my siblings, and my extended family. I also have friends and co-workers I love. But do those aspects of love dilute the meaning of love you are asking about, and by dilute, i mean take away from the meaning of the word itself when it is referring to that one special person in your life that you hold above all else. (And maybe that too is a contestable definition according to some). It is almost as if "love" the word either needs adjectives to go with it to classify its level, or we just need a new word to describe each facet. Please bear with me while i tell you about my search for the meaning of love (the partner-for-life kind).

I was with a woman for 13 years, married 8 of those, until we divorced a few years back. I loved her, and to a certain degree, I still do. I care for her well-being, her health, her safety, her success, but I know now that we are not meant to be together. Since I was with her, I have had 2 short relationships (each about a year long) that didn't work. I told them I loved them at one point, but realized I really didn't and ultimately that worked its way to the surface, thus me ending both of those relationships.

For a while, i have struggled with the questions of "what is love" and "how do I know if I am in love" and "when do i say I am in love to her." The answer is I still don't totally know. Now obviously i have some baggage, but i know I had a good relationship for 11 years or so before things fell apart because my ex-wife and i didn't try anymore. We didn't work on our love and our marriage like we should have. It was a big regret, but an even bigger lesson, one that if i could help anyone else out, a lesson I would want to convey. Love is not daisies, butterflies and warm fuzzy songs on the radio. Read the other replies. I totally agree with is work, it is caring and loving that person, even when they look like total crap while still having that strange attraction (mentally and physically) to them. It is the idea of NOT wanting anyone else but them.

After a lot of time by myself (and some counseling) I have started seeing a woman. I have known her for about 5 years...not real well, but we were acquainted with each other. We had misconceptions about each other (we thought we disliked each other for one) but found out that wasn't the case. We each did our homework on one another (you know, asking friends and all) and what do you know, things are going great in our third month. I'm actually getting the chance to apply some of the things I've learned. The learning came from my experiences, both good and bad, but probably more from the bad. One thing I've learned is how I would want to be treated and I applied that to this relationship. Counseling was great in that it allowed me to organize my jumble of thoughts about everything and think more clearly than I had before.

But you know what, those questions still remain. I realize it is very early in this relationship, so I'm not expecting miracles and answers...just yet. I think the first two questions..."what is love" and "how do I know if I am in love"...I am able to at least begin to define in some way, much like the other 2 posts have done. But the last one "when do i tell her I'm in love with her" scares the crap out of me. Maybe I'm gun shy because of past failed relationships, or maybe its because I've said it when I didn't mean it...not intentionally, but more-so being misguided in my feelings...i.e. not knowing what love is or how to recognize it. When I ask friends or family, they always answer "you just know." Over the years, I think I forgot that feeling. I know I had it with my ex-wife starting a long time ago, but like I said earlier, we stopped working at it and that affected a lot of things between us and it doomed us. Things faded and it was our fault, we freely admit that.

Back to "saying I love you." I feel like the concept of loving someone is inside of me, like it is possible and I can do it and I do do it. But saying it is almost like the words won't have the potency to describe how i actually feel. I like the line in the new song (Chasing Cars) by Snow Patrol..."those three words...are said too much...but not enough." Its seems weird that I am hung-up on i don't want to say it until i know for sure, and then, I'm afraid they won't reflect enough as to how I actually feel. On the other side, this woman has made me feel happy and wanted in ways I haven't felt for a very long time, if ever. My ex-wife [I]maybe [/I]made me feel this way, but it would have been early in our relationship.

I've rambled long enough, so to finish this long reply, let me just say that I feel like I am coming out of the fog and things are getting clearer. I think I recognize something ahead, but i am going to proceed slowly until i know for sure this time, beacuse the last two times it wasn't what i thought it was...not even close. I hate to answer your question(s) in the same way family and friends have done for me, because it seemed so rhetorical, but I "[B][I]think[/I][/B] you just know." I think love is also how you alone define it, not by someone else's standard. As you can tell, I'm not an expert, but just maybe thought a person searching for the same type of answers could provide a little insight from past experience, good or bad. Take care and best wishes![/QUOTE]

Excellent post and one that i fully relate to like i said earlier - confusion between love and attraction - when your together with your partner for so long you learn to love each other deeply - the lust/in love feelings go to be replaced by a permanent true love - you cannot make someone love you but when problems arise they should be addressed together - remember the vows - im only 5-6 months down the line and like you i am scared of love now - yes i know because i know what love is i really still do feel that somewhere down teh line me and my wife will reconcile, mistakes may be made but as you say "you just know" when you are destined to be together into old age - i may wrong but i feel this is a phase in her life, a blip where she will come to realise the difference between love and attraction - i too now know so much - ive resisted counselling - i just wish we had gone together
I didn't have the time to read all the other stories, but will. I just wanted to share a funny thing about love that I experienced with my husband. We married young, at 17 and 19, and our pastor had agreed to marry us only if we attended counseling with him. He felt we would make it, so he married us, but told me something I never would have believed....until it happened.

He said their is love in the beginning, the can't eat, sleep or think without the other one by your side and then there's the day that true and lasting love happens....and that's the day that you roll over to the person you're married to and think....geez, I don't feel that same way, but you have developed a different kind of love...that was the day love became a CHOICE, not just a feeling.

The choice to tuff it out through whatever life hands you, days when you look at that person next to you and can't decide whether you want to hug him or strangle him, but you know in your heart, he's the missing piece and missing peace, if you know what I mean.

I still remember, about a year or so after getting married to him and rolling over and that feeling that makes your heart flip, seemed to have vanished. Well, because of the pastor's prior 'warning' I found it hilarious. I didn't tell him for years, until I thought he'd think it was funny too....but we still laugh about it.

Love goes through stages...sometimes you stay together just because you made the commitment and you know that although you do not like them today, you love them always, and that's why you stay. I'm happy to say that after 12 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, he still makes my heart skip a beat (although it definitely was not always this took a while to get it back) but I get excited to see him if he drops in on me or visa versa....and there are days when I jump off the front porch right onto him to hold him and thank God the man's strong enough to catch me! I've gained a few since having babies!!!! :D

I also know that I still love him and he loves me when I get in bed at night. If he goes to sleep before me, he crunches up a pillow so he's holding something until I come in and in a dead sleep, he'll roll over and hold me. His heartbeat also puts me to sleep at night. Can't beat that....hahah, no pun intended.

We still have our days where one or the other drives the other crazy, but there's more good than bad and at the end of the day, all I have to do is curl up on his chest and I know everything is okay.

Funny thing...if for some reason I don't sleep curled up next to him for a few nights in a row, I'm a cranky SOB....problem is solved as soon as I curl up.

Another funny when one of us is hurting, the other physically feels it. And no matter how bad the day, the stress, or the pain, when one of us holds the one who is hurting or stressed, that immediately melts away. It's a great feeling.

Well, I have to say, I gotta go, just realized how much I am missing him right now and have to call and say hi!

Toodles...don't know if that answered anything and was not intended to get that long winded, but just got caught up in the moment. Thanks for reminding me that I'm a spoiled little turd.

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