Yesterday, in relation to a poem we were discussing in class, I asked my seniors if one can be in love with two people at the same time. (The poem is "On Loving Two Equally" by Aphra Behn, and it's satirical.) In order to fully discuss the situation, I found that we first had to talk about the difference between "being in love" and "loving".
Their responses were interesting, and a couple of my students said something pretty deep--that love grows and stays whereas "in love" is transitory. Well, they didn't use the word "transitory", but you get the picture. Most of my students, though, thought that being IN love is only for romantic love and "loving" someone means in a platonic way, the way you love your dog or your parents.
Of course they asked my opinion, and I shared it, but only after careful consideration. I think that being "in love" is that "butterflies-in-the-stomach, I-miss-you-when-you're-gone, can't-get-enough" feeling at the beginning of a relationship. If we're lucky, it morphs into love--which is that "yeah-you're-stinky-sometimes" and "sometimes-you-make-me-so-mad-but-I-still-value-you-as-a-person-in-my-life" feeling.
Right now, I'm in love with Whit, but I definitely see signs that it's morphing into love. The starry eyes are nice, but I see him (and myself) clearly most times we're together. I think that too many people walk away from a relationship (or marriage) when the "in love" feelings change. But think of those feelings as a roller coaster. Would you REALLY want to be on a roller coaster 24/7? Of course not. Know that a relationship--a good relationship--is the park around the roller coaster. Yes, while on the ride you had a blast. You laughed and screamed, but you were also very glad to be back on solid ground when it was over. Don't walk away from the amusement park (the relationship) completely...instead, go get a snack. Or walk on the midway. The roller coaster will be there the next time you want to take the ride, IF you remember how to find your way back to it!
Have a thoughtful Thursday, everyone!