What is love? I’m 57 years old, and I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever been in love. Since my divorce, five years ago, I’ve dated a few women who have been into me, but I wasn’t that really into them. I liked a couple of them, and we got along really well, but I wasn’t feeling that emotional connection. I’m still kind of looking for the feeling that I had with a girl in high school, who I eventually married. I was CRAZY about her. I thought about her constantly and talked on the phone with her for hours. We got along so well. I thought I was in love.
But lately, I’ve been thinking about that relationship and how it was just an infatuation. She was the first girl that I had sexual relations with. After we married, that feeling faded, and we grew apart. We were just two “friends” living together. Eventually, we divorced. So, I’ve been looking to recapture that feeling that I had back in high school, with another woman. I’m beginning to feel that it isn’t possible for an older man to feel, for a woman, what I felt 40 years ago. It’s either that or I haven’t found the right girl yet.
Now I’m dating a girl that I like, and I’m wondering if I love her or just really like her a lot. Which brings up the question—What is love and how do I know if I’m in love? I scoured the internet for the definition and came up with this: “an intense feeling of deep affection” and “attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers” and “a feeling of a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone”. These are all definitions that I expected. Affection, sexual attraction, and romantic attachment. I feel all of these for this girl, but it’s not the same way that I felt about my high school sweetheart. So, I think I’ll just write that off as a teenager, sexually infatuated with a girl that liked me.
As a mature, non-adolescent, adult male, my emotions and feelings are different, right? I’ll go with that. But the question still needs to be answered, “Am I in love with this girl?” I REALLY like her, and I enjoy spending time with her, regardless of what we are doing. We have a lot in common, and she puts a smile on my face with her energy and positive attitude. I enjoy doing things for her, mainly because it makes her happy. And we have a strong sexual connection. But here’s the thing—I miss her sometimes but not terribly and not all the time. And I still need some “me” time every once in a while. And she’s not always on my mind when we’re apart. Am I too idealistic here? Should I miss her terribly when we’re apart? Should I want to spend every waking moment with her? Should she be on my mind constantly? I don’t know. Maybe, in time, my feelings for her will be more of an idealistic nature.
I think that “love” is based on a sliding scale, which is different for each person. Maybe it’s something that grows with time. I do care about this girl, and she makes me happy. Perhaps that’s all that matters. The only reason that I’m engaged in this whole train of thought is that this girl has made me aware of her strong feelings for me, and I want to have the same feelings for her. In previous relationships, I have bailed on women who felt something for me because I didn’t feel the same way about them. I didn’t want them to waste their time with me because I didn’t feel like I could ever feel the same for them, or that’s how I rationalized it. I think with this girl, I’ll stay the course and see what happens. Our “feelings” for each other don’t necessarily need to be at the same level, right? Is this what they call “thinking outside the box”?
By Mike C
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