This is topic Falling in Love in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
Why do we do it? What attracts us to a person and why?
And what makes people fall out of love, what breaks the spell?
What sort of bad habits and behaviour just repulses someone about a person who used to be just angellic?
Posted by Evie3217 (Member # 5426) on :
I'm bitter about love, and I've never been in love, so I don't think I'm qualified to answer this question. Plus, if you talked to me, you would only get depressed.
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I've been in love too many times.
I hate it.
I should stop doing that immediately.
Posted by Jhai (Member # 5633) on :
Today, in philosophy class, while discussing the book Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe, our professor suggested that falling in love was a thing that we could accept as axiomatically intrinsically good.

I’m inclined to agree with him.

That being said, I’ve fallen a couple of times, although I’m not currently in love. I truly do think that “falling in love” is something we can control. It's a choice. With my last boyfriend, I came to the very difficult realization that, despite how much we loved each other, it’d never work out in the long run. At that point, I started to work myself into falling “out of love” with him, although I will always care about him very much...

Love is a difficult, but wonderful thing. And despite the song, it's not *all* you need to make a relationship work.
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
Is there a spiritual component to love or is it all biological?
For example, that feeling of warmth and calm a person can get from thinking of another person.
What is that all about?
Can people complete or improve each other?
Posted by aretee (Member # 1743) on :
Can people complete or improve each other?
yes. But that is a lot of work, too. Takes patience and humility.
Posted by Uprooted (Member # 8353) on :
See the February National Geographic article about the biochemistry of Love.
Posted by Advent 115 (Member # 8914) on :
"Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all"~William Shakspear.
Posted by Dr Strangelove (Member # 8331) on :
I tried to write a post on this subject, but then I realized my own views are conflicting with each other. This is a cause for some ponderation. Is love purely psychological? Are people 'meant' to be together? What happens when one person is 'in love' and the other person isn't? Is one wrong and the other right? Or are both wrong? Or both right? All points to ponder.

Darn you for keeping me up before my test!
Posted by Dr Strangelove (Member # 8331) on :
Originally posted by Uprooted:
See the February National Geographic article about the biochemistry of Love.

Ay, I read that, which caused me to reconsider my previous notions, but I suppose I'm having a hard time letting go of those previous notions. But yes, synethesia, if you're truly interested in the topic, check out that National Geographic.
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I kind of think there's some weird spiritual compentent to love, even to bad relationships and that there's a pattern of sorts...
But, it's just so hard to figure out if that is true. I wonder why it is that I get attracted to certain types of people and if that is meant to lead me to the RIGHT PERSON...
Who would not be a perfect person for me as that just doesn't exist...
Posted by Dr Strangelove (Member # 8331) on :
The question is whether or not it is spiritual, or if it is psychological? That's what's bugging me currently.
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
Yeah.. me too. I really do think that falling for some people can really bring out a lot of stuff in a person.
It can also destroy a person though.

What would make a person think that a relationship could not possibly work out despite the strong feelings?
Mostly I am thinking about barriers and trying to STOP feeling that way.
Posted by JennaDean (Member # 8816) on :
What would make a person think that a relationship could not possibly work out despite the strong feelings?
I was in love once: thought about this person night and day, couldn't wait to spend time with him, would've done almost anything for him. Couldn't function very well in other areas because of thinking about him. And I really wanted him to be happy.

But I knew that the kind of relationship we had was not the most healthy one; I knew that he had too much power over my feelings, that he could get me to do things that weren't "me" just to try to please him and try to hold on to him, and I feared losing him most of all. (He wasn't vindictive or the kind of person who would try to make me do things; it was that my own feelings for him were so out of control that I did things to try to hold onto him.) So I knew intellectually even at the time that I couldn't marry him; I knew that marriage needed to be more than that, more balanced, better for both people involved.

It's a good thing he didn't ask. I might've been unable to say no.

As far as trying to STOP feeling that way, I didn't stop feeling like he was the world until long after he'd moved on and gotten married. Time and distance helped, and a new relationship with someone who made me want to be my best and help him be his best. Someone I knew I could be married to, because I knew I could spend my life with him; I knew we could be friends forever; I knew he respected me and wanted me to be happy, but at the same time he commanded respect from me too. And we both feel like we got the better end of the deal.

When you marry that kind of person, you can still respect them and like them and love them even when the first excitement of being "in love" has faded. The deeper love of that kind of marriage is enough to overcome the "repulsing habits", because there is more that attracts you to that person than repulses you - and I don't mean physical attraction, I mean the kinds of things that make you stick around. Respect, compassion, kindness, honesty, working hard at being their best self - those are traits that you can love more than you are annoyed by the untidiness, or snoring, or whatever.

Of course, if they don't have those important things to begin with, it's possible that you were never really in love with them - you were just infatuated with them, perhaps physically attracted to them, or attracted to the idea that they loved you - but not loving who they really are. Or perhaps you never really knew them - if they were acting one way to "win" you but later you find out they're really not all that nice.

So some of it has to be mental; you can't let your emotions entirely run your life, you have to think about what's best for your life and your future, regardless of your emotions. When being "in love" matches up with knowing this is the right kind of person who could help you be your best for the rest of your life, that's when you know you don't have to "fall out of love".
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :

For me, the sheer unrealisticness of it all is why I must put a stop to it somehow...
Posted by theresa51282 (Member # 8037) on :
Originally posted by Synesthesia:
1. Why do we do it? 2. What attracts us to a person and why?
3. And what makes people fall out of love, what breaks the spell?
4. What sort of bad habits and behaviour just repulses someone about a person who used to be just angellic?

1. I think we fall in love because humans are meant for companionship. People don't like to be alone. Falling in love is one way that we seek to be together and to experience life.

2. I think that attraction and love are entirely different phenomena. I can honestly say that when I first met my fiance I didn't even like him a little. However, over time I realized what a good person he was. It made me want to be attracted to him. After a while, I realized I was attracted to him. I think in a lot of ways it was a choice. I am not a very visual person at all. I am one of those people who simply does not process the visual very well at all. I won't notice glaring visual details that stick out to everyone else. For me, I tend to start to find physical attractiveness in people that I am attracted to already as friends.

3. I don't think people fall out of love. I have an ex that I don't even like. Not even a little. But when I see him, I get a feeling of caring that honestly is probably still love. I don't love being with him. I don't love dating him. I don't love him romantically. But I still have a love for him. But if the question is what makes people break up or relationships dissolve, I think it has to do with expectations. When things don't conform to our expectations of how they should be, we tend to start to resent that difference. Over time, that resentment leads to a break up of the relationships and the tendency to find the bad rather than the good. I think this can happen especially quickly if the original good tended to be more superficial and less developed.

5. I have no idea. I have never found someone to be just angelic. I guess I am critical that way. The things that annoy me now always annoyed me. Sometimes I was less honest to myself about their annoyance level but it was always there. I think what changes is the focus you place on the problems. I always was the one chasing after my ex. I had more feelings for him than he had for me. I could see all of the annoying things about him when we were dating but I never really let myself think about them and when I did, I tend to accept a lot of the blame myself. After breaking up, I put all of that blame on him and tended to focus on those negatives a lot more. He seemed like the devil to me. I know intellectually that he was always like that but I gave up the rationalizations and also stopped looking for and highlighting all of the positives.

I am sure there are an infinite number of ways to answer your post that are all true for any number of people. All I can say is that for me, being in love and being loved back has been the most enriching thing that I have ever found.
Posted by esl (Member # 3143) on :
I've never been in love. close though. Like JennaDean, I want to do everything for this person. and be with her all the time. It's unreciprocated though so that sucks.

What's it feel like to be in love? Is it what movies and tv shows make it out to be? I'm thinking of the Matrix, specifically. The Oracle tells Neo that being The One is like being in love. You know it, and feel it from head to toe.
Posted by Stone_Wolf_ (Member # 8299) on :
First off I want to say that there are a lot of good posts in this thread, lots of truth.

One thing I do want to say is that if you can not find the reasons why you feel strongly for someone, be very careful. When you have extreme emotions but do not take the time and effort to understand why you have them, you are in serious danger of losing yourself to your emotions.

For me the largest factor of love is how the person makes me feel about myself. When I'm around Nicole (see this post to give me advice on love, heh), I feel comfortable, easy, like I can just be myself. I feel safe, and appreciated. And she says she feels that way when around me.

Because we make each other feel safe, we can truly be ourselves, being open and honest without worry. Because we are truly ourselves with each other, our time together is more "real", we don't have to put on airs, or impress each other.

Love is all about acceptance, I accept and value who you are, who you want to be. If you have to change who you are to please the other person than, I say you are missing the best part.

Of course change is inevitable. As is the messy parts of life. That's exactly why you need to find a partner you trust, whose judgement and philosophy you respect.

Or, find the right person to be in a fox hole with.

What does love feel like? Like jumping out of a plane, or an extreme roller coaster. Exciting, moving, breath taking, scary, fun, fast. But also know you have a parachute, or a lap bar to keep you from flying off to your grizzly death. You can't stop smiling, can't stop making those little content sighs, can't concentrate, can't think of anything but them. You have trouble eating, and sleeping, but are filled with energy.

I really do not truck with the idea that love makes two people into one person. Being in love makes you a better person, because you know you are cherished, you know that you are part of the ultimate inclusion, the ultimate acceptance. Just you, and the person you love who loves you.

You can not make someone happy, you can add to their happiness, share yours so it multiplies, but you can not make someone happy, just like you can not make them fall in love.

And no mater how strong you feel for someone, if they do not feel the same way, then it's not the same. The knowledge that the person loves you back, that you share a bond, is the heart of love. If they don't feel it too, you are worshiping them, adoring them, not loving them, or at least, not in love with them.
Posted by Infrared (Member # 9196) on :
To me, "love" is such an ambiguous and often misconcluded state of emotion. By ambiguous, I mean that we characterize it by such a range of emotions; so many different feelings are said to signify or embody love. By misconcluded I mean that, all too often, people seem to jump to the conclusion that they are in love with someone they find attractive, before strongly considering if what they are feeling is really love. This may or may not be the situation every time, but it is a common one nonetheless. Often, we feel like we can't control who we love. This is true; love as we feel it is rooted in a biological response that is both subconscious and incredibly powerful. Time, distance, and willpower can counter this effect however, if you're worried about "stopping" the feeling.

I'm going to shift into my biologist mode here, so assume Darwinian Natural-Selection/Evolution for the following paragraph. The feelings generated by "love" stem from an evolved mechanism to encourage both our reproductive urges and the bonding strategy adopted by our species to help our offsring survive and develop. For the most part these will be "good" feelings because, evolutionarily, encouraging reproduction is the whole point. The painful part for an individual comes when they feel this biological reinforcement with someone who does not experience quite the strength of bio-encouragement they do. This then becomes a negative reinforcement from the person you've "fallen for" and might cause reactions like:
I've been in love too many times.
I hate it.
I should stop doing that immediately.

Note that this is just an example using real text; I'm not trying to put words in your mouth... I don't know the full extent of the situation that caused you write this. (I'll edit if requested)

For me, a solution that works very well is not to take lightly the term "love." I hold a very strict definition of the word, and will not even classify my feelings for someone else as love until I have gotten to know them well and had some time to be introspective about our relationship. Finally, I also consider that not everyone is as strict about their "love" and that anyone who "falls out of love" with me, may just have been confused about their own feelings and never truly felt "love" the way that I did. You have to remember that love itself isn't really something you control. When you love someone, you can adjust the things you do around them, and what you notice them doing, but never really change the way you feel. You just choose whether or not you let feelings drive/influence your behavior (as JennaDean discussed).

The film "Love, Actually" did a very good job of looking at the many different concepts of love, in my opinion. If you use the word "love" to describe all these concepts, you should also accept that there are many kinds of "love" and that the person you "love" may "love" you differently. Stone Wolf uses different terms to distinguish these types of "love" above:
If they don't feel it too, you are worshiping them, adoring them, not loving them, or at least, not in love with them.

[ March 01, 2006, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: Infrared ]
Posted by pH (Member # 1350) on :
I think there are tons of different kinds of love, even within the scope of romantic love/mutual attraction. And I think that the interaction between the two people is crucial to what kind of love it is. That is, if one person is head-over-heels for the other and will drop everything for him/her, but the other is more reserved, then that's a different kind of love than say, the love a battered partner has for his/her abuser, or the love that two people feel for each other on a (more) equal level (I don't know if there can ever be absolute equality on all levels).

They're all "love," but they're not all the same love.

Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I had an attraction appear out of nowhere. I can't really go into details about it, but it drives me nuts...
I have no idea why or how this has happened.
I like to toy with the notion that maybe there's a pattern to things, a reason behind them.
Or perhaps it's just random. Who knows?
All I know is even if there is such a thing as a "soul mate" it doesn't matter, because no matter what a person will complicate my life, enrich it, frustrate me, we'll argue, we'll have great bright moments...
Interesting things will ensue either way, it's the thing of good stories free of cliches and stereotypes.
Or perhaps my DNA merely wants to get into the jeans of another person and make me think about things I'D RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT BECAUSE THEY SCARE ME TOO MUCH!
I simply am too young and not ready for such things...
Posted by pH (Member # 1350) on : there any more room for me in thoooose jeeeeans?

Oh, Ginuwine...

Posted by Juxtapose (Member # 8837) on :
Love is the condition by which another person's happiness is essential to our own.
I just read Stranger in a Strange Land.
Posted by Maria (Member # 9209) on :
I fell in love once. 23 years ago. I'm still married to him now, and the love I feel for him now makes that early love seem like infatuation.

We weren't soul mates when we married... but perhaps over the decades our souls have 'mated' to the extent that there might be some nervous system overlap. I can sometimes feel his physical pains, and vice versa. (This isn't my imagination- they've proved that couple's can feel each other's pain with MRIs)

I don't think we were made for each other, but I think we've perhaps changed and grown over the years to where we now are the most compatible people possible for each other... to the point where existance without the other would be painful.

I could go on and on, trying to explain the bonds between us... but I just realized that "philotic twining" explains it as well as anything. [Big Grin] We are throughly entwined.
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
I certainly agree that "love" has its categories and ranges. I love my family, I love my friends. But that "love" isn't the same across the board.

I've been thinking about this very topic alot this week in regards to my relationship with my boyfriend. We've been saying "I love you" for awhile now and I've never said it without meaning it. But a few days ago it was like I had reached the next plateau in my feelings. Never before have I felt so comfortable with another person. He knows more about me that my oldest friends and immediate family members. I trust him because I feel that there's mutual need to take care of each other, to work together to improve ourselves, one another, and our lives together.

I hate the phrase that "love is blind." My boyfriend has alittle too much fuzz on his chest, he smokes, he's forgetful, and he will talk about his favorite sports for hours on end. And I love him for it. Does he annoy me? Yes. Do we butt heads? You bet. But love for me is about appreciating him for all his quirks and flaws because they ARE HIM. I don't ignore them, I just accept and embrace them.

He's the first person I've ever loved so I've never fallen out of love. I liked on my old boyfriends but it never even reached a low-grade level of love. "Falling out of love" is a scary unknown for me. I've never stopped loving any of my family and friends so I can't imagine what that would feel like.

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