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Love actually

Let's start from the very beginning. Do we know what love actually is? Is falling in love just a beginning of true love? Are you in a true love relationship if you didn't immediately fall in love with, or if you dislike your partner on the first place?
There are many definitions of love. One of the most common ones is:- 'An intense feeling of deep affection.' Yet that doesn't show us it's three dimensions. Love is a combination of our attitude and our feelings toward the other person, which creates certain behaviour between us and them. That practically means that our emotions create our attitude, which then inspire our particular behaviour. (A love relation does not function one-sidedly. It is between two subjects and not between a subject and a object like a feeling of falling in love.)
So 'butterflies in our stomach' are a good sign that we like somebody and that we feel attracted to them. But they are still very far away from an actual love, and sometimes it is not even necessary that they will precede it. So why is it that most movies, songs and books describe perfect romantic love as two people meeting, falling in love and then simply continuing to live happily ever after?
Feeling butterflies in your stomach is just a physical projection of our excitement towards the other person. It is a condition, while on the other hand, love is always a process and an interaction. When we fall in love we are in the condition of glorifying another person - our object of desire. We are in love with that other person, which we perceive as "Mr.or Mrs. Right" "Love of our life" "Our dream come true".
So when we believe that that powerful sensation of inloveness, will have true love for its consequence, we can get confused and even worse, we can really get stuck in a bad relationship that's beneath our dignity.
When a person is psychologically mature and authentic and has a certain level of emotional intelligence, they understand the differnce between being in love and true love. They can still fantasize about and idealize the other person, but their relationship and attitude towards these feelings and thoughts will be more realistic and controlled. When two grown up and psychologically mature people meet each other and like each other, they continue to build a relation in which they try to understand the other's words and behaviour without the illusions of inloveness.
In Western civilisation, falling in love is given a more decisive role in forming relationships than it is in the far East or in India for example. Our culture finds it more acceptable to get married when you "fall in love" than to have your family choose your lifelong partner that you "will learn to love with time'. I am not proposing a return of arranged marriages in our society, but instead, I wish to make readers more aware of the fact that falling in love itself is not enough for a good relationship and a successful marriage. Unless you do "learn to love each other".
What I am really trying to say is that love is a relation between two people and every relation needs dedication and commitment. As I have read in one psychiatry book, it has been scietinfically proven that most people stay in a marriage not because it is an amazing relationship or great love, but simply because they made a decision to stay together.
Thats all! No big philosophy!

We all have certain standards in choosing our partners. Sometimes we are conscious of it and sometimes we are not. You can do a little test for yourself.
Take a pen and paper and write down the names of your former partners. Then write some of their main characteristics and check the ones that repeat,the ones that your ex partners have in common. Characteristics can be physical (height,hair colour, body shape), psychic (gentle,energetic ,communicative,intelligent) or social characteristics (profession,status,financial situation). By getting more conscious about the way you choose your partners, you learn more about yourself and your attitude towards relationships.
If, even after a long deliberation, you didn't find common characteristics among your ex partners, it could simply mean that you were always the chosen one and that you never really got a chance to pick your partners first! That you were object instead of subject.
So often we hear that we shouldn't live in our past but only look ahead, yet the truth is that by analysing our past behaviour patterns, we can really get more conscious about our limiting beliefs and about our illusions. Take a moment for yourself and think about your ex partners. Take a deep breath and start to think what was good about those relationships and what was bad. It will tell you so much more about yourself.
Good luck!