Every so often, in all seriousness, someone says, “I still love her, but I’m not in love with her.”
A rather intriguing concept, this one. You don’t hear people say, “I still hate him, but I’m not in hate with him.” And we could go down the list of feelings people can have for one another.
With one exception, love appears to be the only emotion we can “have” and also “be in.” And that one exception is fear. We can fear someone and also be in fear of them.
Are the linguistics here indicative of a psychic truth?
Extreme states of being in love, sometimes called infatuation, are physiologically similar to extreme states of fear, even though one is experienced as pleasurable and the other as painful. It illustrates the psychic reality that being in a feeling is more of a total body experience than having a feeling.
Being in love or in fear can literally swamp our thinking brains and overwhelm our perceptions.
So does this have something to do with no longer feeling “in love” with someone?
Most definitely. While in the heightened emotional state of being in love we can experience our beloved as the fulfillment of all our wishes, and see them as the embodiment of everything we believe we lack. Possible rational thoughts from our thinking brains are but peashooters against this groundswell of euphoria.
However, as we know, all highs have a half-life, and recovering our thinking brain can initially feel like crashing against the rocks. It is tempting to blame our partner for this, and to feel they have betrayed or deceived us.
But if we can hang in there while we detox, we have the chance to come to see our partner as they really are. The journey of real love can begin. As we come to tolerate and even embrace our partner’s flaws, we can come to do the same with our own.
Love is measured by depth, not by height.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Oct 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Donnelly, S. (2012). Loves Me? ‘In Loves’ Me Not?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/14/loves-me-in-loves-me-not/