Emotional IntelligencePsychologyReligion

What is true love & does it even exist?

6 Mins read
what is true love and does it exist

True love does exist. But most of us don’t really know what it is because more times than most we tend to confuse love with infatuation and obsession.

I used to be a fan of ‘true love’, especially in the way romantic comedies showed it. Take from that what you will but I believe they have a lot to teach us. I can attribute the success of my relationships greatly to romantic comedies. Well, that’s not absolutely true because I can also attribute my failures in relationships to romantic comedies.

Love is by far the most important thing in anyone’s life. But what is Love?  According to authors, Reis and Aron, love is defined as a desire to enter, maintain, or expand a close, connected, and ongoing relationship with another person. Considerable evidence supports a basic distinction, first offered in 1978, between passionate love (“a state of intense longing for union with another”) and other types of romantic love, labeled companion-ate love (“the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply entwined”).

True love has been a quite troubling concept for me, This is because most people who believe in true love, barely know what it is and those who don’t, don’t even try to find it. Or even worse, they have it but don’t know it yet.

We have all been accustomed to this romantic behavior towards love. In the past centuries, marriage used to be arranged, not for love but for prosperity. Very few people ever married for love, I guess there were more important things to worry about then.

In the recent centuries, a romantic ideal has been instated in us through culture, books, poetry, music and pop culture. And one of the major ideas of it is the misconception of a false ‘true love’. But before I start raining on your parade, let me explain why its a false ‘true love’ and not the true ‘true love’.

What true love is

The best definition of true love1 I’ve ever heard so far is from Phipps, a renowned pastor and gospel singer who has been married to his college sweetheart for 39 years. Phipps explains to Oprah during his interview on ”SuperSoul Sunday,” there are two definitions for true and genuine love:

  1. Love is when you choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best.
  2. Love is when what you want is never important. But what the other person needs and wants is always paramount.

On top of that, true love is famously depicted by the more popular verse;

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love comes with a lot of emotions which are more likely to deceive us way more than show us the right way. We sometimes get into relationships believing that they are real and genuine when the truth is that we are deceiving ourselves into a sea of heartbreaks and emotional turmoil.

By 2019, 39 percent of all marriages were ending in divorces. One of the major reasons, divorcees say, “We just ended up figuring out that we want different things,” or “It just didn’t work out, we were both way over in our heads.”

Most divorces end because of the misconception of what makes a strong relationship. It also happens when the couples lack self awareness and emotional intelligence skills. That is why its wrong for many of us to believe that if we find our one true love then the entire world would make sense and be stable.

Emotional intelligence teaches us that we need to be aware of ourselves and these emotions, be able to understand/label them and eventually make the best decision in accordance to what we want. I believe that you can’t forge a real long lasting relationship if you are emotionally immature.

Myths and misconceptions on what true love is

True love is knowing a person’s faults, and loving them even more for them

Its a very beautiful idea to believe that you can know a person’s faults and love them just the way they are without attempting to change them. The truth of the matter is, we all want people to behave like us, and thinking that a relationship will change that is absolutely bananas.

In one of the episodes of the television show, Good Doctor, Dr. Murphy (a brilliant, genius and autistic doctor) faces a relationship crisis and goes to ask his fellow doctor for help. This is what he said after being told that he should find someone who loves him just the way he is;

The Good Doctor – Season 3 Episode 17

If someone truly loves you then they wouldn’t let you live a mediocre life. There is this belief in our culture that a woman makes a man a better person. Which is somewhat true. Love is genuine and real when both of the people in the relationship strive and work towards making each other the better versions of themselves.

Therefore, true love encompasses real acts of self development and uplifting the other person so that you can both be the better versions of yourselves. But remember, this is not done at the expense of changing who we are as individuals.

You think about your love all the time

There is a difference between love and obsession. When you are obsessed or better yet, infatuated with someone, you will tend to think about them all the time, you will obsess over every tiny thing they do whether positive or negative, in short, you will think about them all the time.

Infatuation and obsession is short and fleeting. Don’t confuse it with love because obsession has a greater emotional effect on you than love. You will find yourself getting lost in an infatuation rather than a real relationship. That is what makes the difference. Real love makes you live your best life so that the other person could also benefit from that.

Genuine love makes you focus on being your best so that you can be the best for your loved one.

It just happens

Have you heard of those stories, “I just knew it immediately, he was the one”, “It was love at first sight”, “Its like she was just made for me”.

Romantics believe that true love just happens. That one day you will be seated in a restaurant and the girl of your dreams will pop up and change your life forever, no questions asked. This idea is laughable, especially if you have ever been in a few relationships.

Human beings are so messy and complicated, that is why I write about emotional intelligence – to try and uncomplicate us. Therefore, believing that true love will just drop at your feet is laughable. It takes intention.

There is only one true love

True love isn’t found. Its made.

Its a romantic idea to believe that there is only one true love for you out there. This is why most people tend to confuse an infatuation with real love. True love requires a lot of work from both sides, it takes time and it is for sure not found.

The perfect match you might say. The truth is, that one person you are looking for isn’t as perfect as you think. When you find them, you are still going to put in the work and dedication to make the relationship work.

Real facts about true love

  1. True lasting love is earned love. It takes intention and dedication. So you have to decide: do you want to put in the time and effort to achieve lasting love, or do you want to live in the fantasy that true love is simply going to happen to you?
  2. True love grows until the end of time. Life is difficult, things happen that are hard to deal with and no matter how old we are, we struggle with getting older. When a couple is there for each other during life’s challenges and through the process of aging, they grow closer.Knowing that you can depend on your partner to meet your needs makes you love him or her more and more. That is real love.
  3. True love is ever present and accessible. Life can sometimes sidetrack us and make us forget the rel and important things in our lives. But when you really care about someone, you will always find time to be there for each other, console one another and be present in their lives.
  4. True love takes sacrifice and dedication. It requires you to put all your effort even when it inconveniences you in order to see the other person happy. Her/his happiness is paramount to yours.
  5. True love makes you a better person. Its through love that we grow and change ourselves for the better. Real love is bound to push you from your comfort zone in order to make you the best person you could be.
  6. True love is unconditional. Once you really love someone, you will give the relationship your all. Even though they will let you down, you will always find a way to fix the situation rather than run away. This is because your love for them out weighs their shortcomings.

“True love is not how you forgive, but how you forget, not what you see but what you feel, not how you listen but how you understand, and not how you let go but how you hold on.”

Dale evans

Footnotes

  1. Lisa, C. (2015). 2 Sentences That Perfectly Sum Up The Meaning Of True Love. Retrieved from the Huffing-ton Post.
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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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