The concepts of love and being in love have been heavy discussion topics with my lovers over the past few weeks. What's the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone? Does being in love imply priority or commitment? How do you keep your sanity when you're reeling in love? How do you handle being in love when there's a third party and potentially more?
Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Then again, I tend to fall in love fast and, without trying, pull my prey in with me. I dunno why, maybe it's because I'm a Libra or maybe it's because, like Brandie and I used to say, "I don't DO ANYTHING!" And I admit that I'm also in love with being in love; by no means do I seek out people just to get into that state, I just enjoy it that much more whenever it happens. Both of my current situations are surprises, they were not expected at all when I started my Slut Odyssey.
Being in love is an emotional/spiritual state. It heightens your experiences, it makes you floaty and art and music and good food and sensuality are all saturated. It's separate from logic and one can still function on logic while enjoying the lovey-dovey trip. And yes, it can be scary and painful - particularly when the end happens. In High Fidelity, Nick Hornby wrote that emotionally involved people can pull some cherished emotions out of bittersweet ends. Which doesn't mean that falling out of love is a goal, just that some people ride out the feelings similarly to falling in. Yeah, I've done that.
A big deal to me is to become loyal to someone. Where love is emotional/spiritual, loyalty is more logical and can also be a heightened state. Loyalty is a respect of someone's judgement and a value of someone's character. For example, X is in a situation where I'm not and I only find out what happened through a third party. Without loyalty to X, I'd say "I have no idea what happened, I'm not going to get involved." When I'm loyal to X, I'd say "I trust that X said or did the right thing, even though I wasn't there."
It takes a lot more for me to become loyal to someone, and my loyalty can outlast the period of being in love with that person. It's also much more painful for someone to betray that trust, mostly because it means the person has almost betrayed who they used to be but also because it decreases the value of my judgement. It's hurt more when exes have acted stupidly out of character than when we've fallen out of love. Just like love, loyalty doesn't necessitate commitment or obligation.