What was it that made me fall in love?

This is a question that I can only answer on my own behalf.  Depending on who you ask, there will be a hundred different answers.  However, the answers won’t usually be just one thing, but a bundle of behaviors that tipped the balance.

Here was my basic bundle:

  • He was willing to talk with me about anything, nothing was off-limits.
  • He consistently listened to me and added his own insight.
  • He was curious about me and regularly asked me questions about my family, my childhood, and my thoughts.
  • When I asked him about himself, he answered my questions, never evading them.
  • He helped me out whenever I asked, and spent time with me when I needed company.

These tipped the scale from friendship to love:
  • He kissed me like he cared how it felt to me.
  • He didn’t rush me like he had a goal to achieve.

Altogether, these behaviors showed how he valued me as a person and wanted to share himself with me, openly and honestly.  Through these transparent behaviors, I learned that I can trust him.

The magical thing about falling in love with someone is that you suddenly become aware of his/her incredibly compelling, unique, and beautiful features — like the quality of her voice, the curve of his eyebrows, the way her teeth are crooked (or are perfectly straight), his gait when walking, or the way her she holds a pen — and you wonder why you’d never noticed them before.  The object of your love becomes the most attractive and sexy person alive because you are emotionally attuned like you are not to anyone else.

In my case, even though I was (and still am) highly independent and self-directed, I became intensely needy for his attention.  I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and probably had a big, dopey grin on my face whenever I thought about him or was with him.  The times when I felt that he was distant or unaware of me were keenly painful to me.

Many of these intense needs and feelings seemed unsustainable and destined for a downward spiral of disappointment.  Luckily for me, he didn’t shrink from the intensity of my feelings because he felt the same himself.  He met most of my needs by sending me regular letters and visiting me, even though we had to live apart for nearly three years.  For my part, as much as it thrilled me to receive his letters, I produced only infrequent love postcards, which were sufficient for him.

Over time and with his reassurance, I had to acknowledge that some aspects of my expectations were fueled by my insecurities and could not be met by another human being without driving that person crazy.  At the same time, I became quite adept at noticing when he needed to be encouraged (or pushed) out of a mental and emotional rut, and always tried to help him get out of ruts.

So with no guarantee of success and without a roadmap, we fell in love (the easy part) and managed to maintain that love by:

  1. Consistently feeding the feelings of love with regular attention and time for each other.
  2. Being sensitive and responsive to each other’s needs and fears.
  3. Continuing to learn about each other and using that knowledge to help each other develop.  This included compromising, which I define as cutting out unreasonable and useless wants/wishes, while promoting each other’s health and meeting each other’s needs.
If you are/were in a happy relationship, what was it that made you fall in love?  What kept you in love?
 / 2 Comments  / in Dating

2 Comments

  1. jmlvet94 May 29, 2011 8:12 pm - Reply

    I am getting married in 5 weeks, and I'll admit that I'm having doubts/2nd thoughts/cold feet, or whatever you want to call it. #3 is the real challenge for us. I'm in my mid 40s, and other than for 18 months, I've been single for my entire month. We are both fiercely independent and both of us are used to being "commander and chief" of our own lives. Lately it feels like he's constantly testing me or trying to push me away. Is this normal? Is it stress? Do I cut my losses and tell him to fa Napoli? Is it all worth it?

  2. Oluvme May 30, 2011 9:24 pm - Reply

    Dear jmlvet94,

    Before going through with either the wedding or making a decision to cut him loose, it seems to me that you need to talk with your fiance. Schedule to talk at a time and place where you won't be disturbed, preferably sooner rather than later.

    While you are both independent and in charge of your own lives, it doesn't mean that you don't have to communicate to share your burdens. In fact, it is in communicating, sharing, and supporting one another that new couples establish sufficient trust to maintain a long-term relationship.

    When you talk, let him know that you're feeling like he's testing you and is pushing you away, and that you would like to hear what may be causing him to act way. Tell him your misgivings about marrying him while you're feeling this way.

    If he is unwilling to acknowledge your feelings or doesn't want to disclose, that would be a disincentive to continue investing in the relationship. A relationship is difficult enough to maintain when both people are actively engaged, but will be untenable if one of the two is unwilling or unable to empathize, is harboring secrets, or is denying that a serious problem exists. Without the willingness or ability to communicate with you, he won't be a partner to you.

    If he's acting this way because he has doubts himself about the upcoming marriage, you will want to discuss the reasons, and explore whether you can work out the issues together. If it's a significant enough problem, perhaps the two of you should consider postponing or calling off the wedding.

    If he is willing to tell you what is going on in his life and inside his head, keep an open mind by being aware of your own biases and possible misperceptions, listen carefully and with compassion about what he has to say, but don't feel that you must accept answers that are half-truths or untruths. Let him know that ultimately, you want your relationship to be strong, be prepared to probe deeper, and discuss ways for you to deal with the problem as a couple.

    Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions.

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