I love falling in love! It’s an incredible feeling…that combination of swooning, joy, lust, anxiousness, passion, and hope all rolled into one experience with another human being. It’s intoxicating!
Love is a funny thing. Even those of us who study it don’t fully understand it yet. We can deconstruct it, look at it from different angles, and understand a piece here or a part there, but when you put it all back together it’s still rather messy. And really, that’s ok. Part of what make love fun is that it’s a mystery that unfolds as we get to know someone. One of the pieces that we can understand is the difference between falling in love vs. staying in love.
The biggest difference is this: We cannot control who we fall in love with. Louder for those in the back. WE CANNOT CONTROL WHO WE FALL IN LOVE WITH. It just “happens”. We see someone, talk with someone, spend time around someone and feelings develop. There’s a spark! You know exactly what I’m talking about, just as much as you know you did not look at said person and decide, “Well, I do believe I’m going to make a conscious choice to call forth into existence the magical spark that marks the beginning of falling in love.” No body does this.
Now, we’ve been trying to understand and explain why this spark happens for as long as humans have studied psychology and emotions. It has been explained as brain chemistry, subconscious reminders of our parents, even perhaps similar smelling sweat. Maybe all of that is true, maybe none of it is. I don’t know. I don’t think the origin of the spark is important either because no matter how hard or soft sciences try to explain it, it’s always something out of our control. (Unless, of course, you’re able to consciously control the scent of your sweat. If that’s you, email me immediately. I want smell like chocolate)
That spark is the beginning of love. Because it is the start of something so important, I wish with all my might that human beings would only spark with people who are a good match for them. Sadly, this is not the case. We spark with people good for us, bad for us, dangerous for us, etc. We spark with people who could damage our careers. We spark with people who are not our monogamous partners! We have no control over this very powerful thing happening that could make or break our lives and it’s just out of our control!
Ok, take a deep breath!
Better? Ok good! I’m not going to leave you all freaking out and out of control. See, there’s a second part to this. I’m gonna say it real big like so you can’t miss it. Ready? Here goes…
EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SPARK IS COMPLETELY WITHIN YOUR CONTROL!!
Look at that, you’re back in the driver’s seat! Everything that happens after the spark is completely within your control! What this means is that you get to evaluate whether or not to pursue this spark or not. You don’t actually have to just because it’s there. More that that, knowing who you tend to spark with can actually help you evaluate where you want to go with it.
For example, I have a tendency (not 100%, but enough to notice) to spark with people who are usually labeled ‘crazy’. Not actual mental illness. I’m trained enough that I’m able to spot that a mile away and can decide if that something I can take on with eyes wide open. The kind of ‘crazy’ I’m talking about is the “Let’s go steal that cop’s car” kind of ‘crazy’. There’s something about that kind of person that sparks me hard! It’s accurate to the point that I have a friend who uses me as a barometer to determine how cautious he is going to be with a new potential partner.
The point is, when you feel that spark, pay attention! Pay attention to who this person is! Pay attention to how pursuing this person will affect your life! Just as there are rewards for following the spark, there are risks as well. Feel the spark and enjoy the feeling, it’s amazing after all. Go into it with eyes open, though. The spark is out of your hands, but what you do with it is a conscious choice. Make a wise one.
In part II we’ll talk about staying in love in long term relationships, so come back next week!