Have you ever fallen in love so deeply with someone only to have that relationship fail so miserably after a time? Why does that happen and also so frequently to all of us? Was the love experienced, not real? maybe… Was the timing wrong for being in a relationship? perhaps… The one sure factor in this phenomenon is, I believe, the neglect in making a clear distinction between Love and Relationship.
Love is unconditional: Often, we fall in love with someone and everything seems perfect! We can’t imagine anything ever going wrong. This is because when love is experienced, nothing else seems to matter or register in our logic as a potential fail. Even if something obvious comes up as a potential deal breaker, we explain it away or feel as though it can be worked through easily.
Relationship, on the other hand, is conditional: without love clouding our judgement, we can all logically agree that a relationship needs, perhaps compatibility, commitment, shared values, trust, etc… It requires specific agreed-upon conditions in order to work for that particular couple. These conditions may or may not include romantic love, as evidenced by arranged marriages or partnerships that have “an understanding” or “an arrangement”.
So if a relationship can exist without love, as a marriage can work without romantic love, then it stands to reason that love can exist without relationship too. This is where we usually trip up with our greatest love story ending in massive heartbreak. We don’t realize that without identifying the conditions for relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter how deeply we are in love with that person, relationship would not be successful.
Ideally, we want to be able to identify these conditions during the process of falling in love so as to transition smoothly into a relationship that has a balance of relationship conditions and love level. In other words, we fall in love a bit at a time as we discover each condition being met. But, this is not always the case. We sometimes fall head over heels first and neglect the logic of what is required for successful coupling.
The next time you fall in love, contemplate this distinction between love and relationship. It is ok to love deeply and unconditionally, but don’t think it would magically just work out because “all you need is love” to quote John Lennon. He’s not wrong, obviously, but in the context of relationship, it would only work if both have this belief, and that, of course, is the condition to be met there.