What Love Is & Isnt

By: Ron Steiner

It's true that there's no direct, complete definition of love that satisfies everyone. It is not something that can be measured or directly put into words. It is too deep and complex a feeling to describe. However, whenever it manifests itself physically, love is often recognizable. All it takes is a careful eye to know if what you're feeling is true love or not.

If it's true love, it involves respect. You claim no sense of "ownership" of the other person. You do not own his or her time, mind, heart, and not even their things. If you are given these things, be glad and be thankful, but under no circumstances are you to assume that you can make decisions for the other person. Do not be offended if your lover has opinions different from your own. Respect your lover's privacy and individuality.

Loving is being open to change. People are dynamic - their personalities and interests constantly change. Sometimes, this change happens slowly, and sometimes it happens in a blink of an eye.

Whatever the change is, and however long it takes, you have to accept it. Even if it means accepting that your lover no longer loves you.

True love can stand the test of time. Being with someone for a long period of time allows you to go through different emotions and periods with that person. If your heart has the strength to weather through these different experiences with your lover, then both you and the relationship will grow stronger.

Love isn't about winning. Sometimes, you have to let go of a fight. Whenever you "win" a fight with your lover, you don't actually win. Nobody wins. Love is about a partnership, not a contest of egos. Whenever you feel a fight coming, you have to weigh the consequences and ask yourself "Is this really important?"

Love doesn't mean that your lover has the responsibility to keep you happy and vice versa. The only person who has the responsibility to make you happy is yourself. While you and your lover can make each other "happier", you shouldn't be solely dependent on each other for happiness. The couples who end up being happy together are made up of individuals who were happy to begin with. Keeping yourself happy is a hard enough responsibility, don't make it harder for yourself by letting another person's happiness be your responsibility too.

Loving isn't about restricting the other's freedom. There's no reason for you to call your lover every five minutes to check if they're okay. There's also no reason for you to be selective about which friends he or she can go out with. If you're in an exclusive relationship, then the rules of the game dictate that you can only be intimate with your lover. However, this doesn't mean that you'll be the only person that he or she can come in contact with. Keep in mind that when people are caged, they will almost always try to break free.

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