We expect our feelings never to change. We are constantly presented with the image of true love as an unchanging state of bliss where the initial feelings of passion, togetherness, and tender caring are the only feelings we should have if we are in love. Love becomes only the “lovey” feelings. After all, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for no disappointment from broken promises nor ambivalence about our commitment. Should it? If it is real love, we expect we will always be “in love”.
Yet, the reality is that to be in love is to feel overwhelmed by a rush of conflicting feelings. At the very moment we meet, and throughout the relationship, we feel both secure and scared, both needed and vulnerable, both valued and misunderstood.
Nevertheless, we resist recognizing all the feelings connected with loving. We hide some of our feelings from ourselves as well as from our partner. When we are feeling the excited high from passionate love, we don’t want to think about our equally compelling feeling of being out of control. It is too scary to consider that falling in love also means falling into a state of vulnerability. Therefore, we stroll together along new paths, not noticing the hidden holes we might fall into.
Moreover, we use one phrase, “I love you”, to describe all the feelings we are experiencing. We connect these magical words with only feeling secure, needed and valued. So, when the scared, vulnerable, and misunderstood feelings emerge we conclude we are no longer in love. No longer do we say or hear those tender words. We end the relationship and we end up being losers in love.
It is only belatedly that we discover that love is not what we were told it would be, nor just the feelings we had at the beginning of the relationship. We begin to realize that the way to love is along a very rocky road and that our feelings when we are on this road will constantly change.