What love is not? To understand that one first needs to know what love is and how it manifests through the different stages of a relationship. This becomes even more vital when control, abuse, and manipulation are passed off and accepted, all in the name of love.
Related Reading: 10 Signs You Married The Wrong Person
What Is Love?
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Signs of love are galore. We know that caring is a sign of love, commitment is another. Always being there for each other, having each other’s back, going out of your way even when it is terribly inconvenient, are all some other common indicators of being in love. Romancing, wining and dining, exchanging gifts are all indulged in to win over the beloved. Trust is gained and returned, vows are exchanged – to love one another in sickness and in health!
A nascent love grows
The couples then sail away to their honeymoon and a new phase of love begins – opening up about one’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, promising to hold the other precious and protect them at all costs and planning a future together with a three-bedroom flat on their combined salaries. Their dream journey it seems has just begun.
Fast-forward a few years; children, ageing parents, keeping the work and home front smooth sailing, tends to overshadow the couple’s love for each other. Unconditional love turns conditional. Whether the spouse has picked up the kids from piano classes decides whether he will come home to a happy and ‘in-love’ spouse or not. And vice-versa.
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And then it matures
Romance gets tucked away in the corner and the daily rigmarole brings out the rough and the rude side in each other as opposed to the softer and happier one they were used to. This is also a time when love is used to negotiate and trade, to apologize for misbehavior, or even manipulate the other into doing what you want. As a relationship progresses, most marriages, if not all, become more about give-and-take, divide and run (the home machinery) than about songs and date nights.
What Love Is Not?
Everyone knows that the expression of love has changed and know what love is, but here we put together a list of what love is not. We also identified signs and symptoms that are not at the root of an equal, democratic relationship. I remember my conversation with psychiatrist Dr. Kushal Jain who often counseled couples in and around Delhi. He talks about how the phrase ‘but I love you’ is casually thrown around in long-term relationships to excuse oneself from all the un-lovable things about us that we subject our partners too. Read some examples below:
‘I know I screamed at you unreasonably but you know I love you right?’
‘I am asking you to give up that one person/friend for me. We love each other, I would do the same for you.’
‘You know I did not mean it when I asked you to get out. You know I love you’.
Related Reading: Everything Seemed So Much Better When We Were Just Dating
Our readers tell us what love is not
We asked our readers on the Facebook group ‘Let’s discuss Life after Forty’ what love is not and below are their responses.
Sumeet Sethi: Making fun of your partner in a humiliating manner in front of others and then claiming it is all in good fun because you are in love.
Pronami Chakraborty: Playing detective in a relationship is not love. Constantly spying or tracking your partner’s conversations and schedule is not healthy. Always looking for signs to confirm your ‘suspicions’.
Gomathi K Reddy: Getting judgmental about someone who is just trying to vent.
Snigdha Mishra: Love is not being at your best all the time.
Falguni D Mehta: Doing something unnecessary for someone, just to show them that “I do so much for you and you don’t care at all!”
Maya Khandelwal: हाँ तुम बिल्कुल वैसी हो जैसा मैने सोचा था
Chinha Raheja: Leaving the entire responsibility of home maintenance and family well-being on the spouse because “they do it so well”.
Madhumeeta Srirang: I love you and so you cannot love anyone else.
Aneeta Babu N: Ownership ‘rights’ on each other.
Haywire Chronology: Expecting the other to love just you and no one else!
Anil Jena: Sacrificing everything, becoming a martyr and losing your own identity in a relationship.
Rishi Dhanraj: Not being able to live with the other’s weaknesses.
Darshana Doshi: 99 per cent of what people call to love in this world.
Neha D: Love, at first sight, is definitely not love. It is attraction.
Madhuri Maitra: Wanting someone to ‘love you back’.
Suma Bhatt: When your feelings for someone, stop you from respecting yourself, then that is not love. Love is not a checklist or a ‘to-do list’ or a duty to be done. If the feeling you have imprisoned you and your thoughts and, does not adapt with time, growing, expanding, molding itself, then that’s not love. Love is inclusive and adaptive.
And finally our expert Deepak Kashyap says: Love is essential, but not enough to make a relationship of equals.