Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
We talk about falling in love at first sight but nobody does it. That’s never the first step. You are attracted by appearance from a distance. As you draw closer, you hear a laugh which entices you. Up close, you notice the person’s scent. All of these either draw you closer or incline you to pursue another object of your affection.
You might feel a deepening attraction, but you still don’t know who this person is. Most people start their conversation with safe topics unlikely to cause conflict. Little by little you come to understand the other person at least superficially. You are still not at a point where you can consider yourself in love.
If you enjoy each other’s company, you will make plans to spend more time together, during which you will hopefully come to know each other on a deeper level. You will learn about each other’s values, interests and leisure activities. More important, you will learn whether what you have to offer each other complements you both.
At some point, you will both come to a realization that you love each other or that you are not well suited. If you both reach the same conclusion one way or another you can proceed with your relationship or separate to go your own ways. One hurdle at this point is that both people seldom realize they are in love at the same time. One of you might have to wait a while to hear that your love is returned.
Many people think that is the end of the story and that they can continue on in their relationship without further effort. But it is not time to coast. Maintaining a relationship should not be a chore, but it does require ongoing attention. You are most likely aware of all the changes you make in your view of life from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. You might imagine that being an adult means you are all grown up.
If you have been an adult for a while think back to how you viewed yourself as you started your first job, what your interests and hobbies were then, and what was important to you. How have all these changed over the past few years? Also, the way you view your relationship changes over the years. What you want and need from your partner changes as well as what your partner wants and needs from you. If you never talk about this you will eventually find yourself in a relationship with a stranger, meeting neither of your needs.
If you want to stay in love, you need to love the person you are with now rather than the person you fell in love with. Your partner will have to do the same. Change is harder as you age and become set in your ways. It’s not impossible but it does require your attention and communication to stay on the same page.