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Before I met my current boyfriend, I thought I was in love multiple times. Looking back on those relationships and comparing them to the way I feel about my boyfriend now, I've come to the conclusion that I didn't love them. As Anita Chlipalaa d marriage and family therapist, ly told Elite Daily, loving the idea of someone usually has little to do with the person themselves.

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Love is a feeling, deeper than just a definition, and it has left more people perplexed than a board exam. Image credit: Manmarziyaan. It starts at a young age where teens dream about their ideal romance and their picture-perfect love life. More than a person, it is the butterflies in the tummy and the feeling of being loved that overpowers their rationality. A lot of debate surrounds what love is after that age — Does love always need to be reciprocated? Is unrequited love better than an exhausted relationship?

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After years spent speaking with couples before, during and after marriage; and of talking to parents and children struggling with their relationships, I am convinced of the partiality of the definition.

Love should be seen not as a feeling but as an enacted emotion. To love is to feel and act lovingly. Too many women have told me, bruises visible on their faces, that the husbands who struck them love them.

Since they see love as a feeling, the word hides the truth, which is that you do not love someone whom you repeatedly beat and abuse. You may have very strong feelings about them, you may even believe you cannot live without them, but you do not love them.

The first love mentioned in the Bible is not romantic love, but parental love Genesis Between human beings, love is a relational word. Yes, you can love things that do not love you back—the sky or a mountain or a painting or the game of chess.

But the love of other people is directional. And real love is not only about the feelings of the lover; it is not egotism. It is when one person believes in another person and shows it.

In Fiddler on the Roofwhen Tevye asks Golde whether she loves him after a quarter century of marriage, her wry answer is exactly on point:. Of course it is possible to perform all sorts of duties for someone and feel little or nothing for them.

Find great resources and learn how to love better.

Love is not about being hired help. Love is not an obligation done with a cold soul. But neither is it a passion that expresses itself in cruelty, or one that does not express itself at all.

The feeling must be wedded to the deed. We would have a healthier conception of love if we understood that love, like parenting or friendship, is a feeling that expresses itself in action. What we really feel is reflected in what we do.

at letters time. Getty Images.

5 s you’re in love with an idea, not a person

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