Real Love


Your heart races every time he calls and your palms sweat whenever he’s near. You think he may be “the one.” But how do you know if this is the real thing?

Dennis Neder, author of Being a Man in a Woman’s World (Remington Publications, 2000), says love has three stages: the infatuation stage, the bonding stage and the familiar stage. Dr. Neder, an ordained minister and doctor of metaphysics, says it helps to consider all three stages when determining if you have the real thing.

The infatuation stage is when you can’t wait to be with the other person. This is the romantic stage of love, says Dr. Neder, who warns that this is the stage when people thinks it’s “the real thing.” But this stage lasts only a short time.

The second stage, says Dr. Neder, is the bonding stage. During this stage you get to know the other person and you start planning aspects of your life around them. If you continue through this stage you eventually enter the third stage, or what Dr. Neder calls “the familiar phase.”

In the familiar stage you’ve established a pattern that involves the other person. “Your lives become intertwined and merged,” Dr. Neder says. “You know foundationally how the other person feels about almost everything. And interestingly,” says Dr. Neder, “you also become refocused on your own life, direction and goals.” Dr. Neder says this is where most professionals believe “real love” starts.

Love doesn’t use a fist.
Love never calls you fat or lazy or ugly.
Love doesn’t laugh at you in front of friends.
It is not in Love’s interest for your self-esteem to be low.
Love is a helium-based emotion; Love always takes the high road.
Love does not make you beg.
Love does not make you deposit your paycheck into its bank account.
Love certainly never, never brings the children into it.
Love does not ask or even want you to change.
But if you change, Love is as excited about this change as you are, if not more so.
And if you go back to the way you were before you changed, Love will go back with you.
Love does not maintain a list of your flaws and weaknesses.
Love believes in you.
Love is patient; Love does not make a point of showing you how patient it is.
It is critical to understand the distinction.
From “This Is How” by Augusten Burroughs

It’s not fully possible to tell you how, but I know what love is. I came by that knowledge the hard way over time. Much I learned from what love isn’t. There’s nothing like spending years of one’s life in a relationship wishing to be somewhere else to teach what love is not.

Today all my life experiences fall together to cause me to think and feel the way I do… and I like me… a lot. My heart is open and I can love to the full extent. So even the time past I used to call wasted with someone, I know see as teaching me how to love. I am grateful for that hard lesson.

Love is not a maybe thing,
you know when you love someone.
Lauren Conrad