What if I tell you whatever follows isn’t ‘happily ever after’…
It’s easy to fall in love. When someone right comes along, you decide to give it a chance. You wanted some change in your life, and to have a new important person to be around with. “Whatever happens, happens,” you’d say. So you take the risk, and plunge.
But what happens after falling in love? People seldom talk about that. They rave about how spectacular and delightful it is to fall in love.
“It’s the most amazing feeling ever! The rush. The chase.”
“Being able to feel the body of another person makes me feel alive again.”
“Falling in love makes everything seem more colourful and full of purpose. It makes me feel more colourful and full of purpose.”
Love keeps things exciting. It makes you anticipate, look forward, yearn, and wait. It makes you anxious, but at the same time, teaches you to be patient. You also become more creative with your words. You would try and try to express the love and happiness you’re feeling and to share them with the world around you. You want people to know that you’re happy and that they should be happy too. Indeed, love is a wonderful power. It is a gift. It’s magic that comes from within.
But what happens after you say “I love you” and they say that they love you too? What happens when the climax starts to plateau and everything seems more and more normal again? What happens when you, falling in love, isn’t the new big thing in your life anymore?
Well then, you try to stay in love.
And that’s the trickier part.
Falling in love is easy — whatever goes, goes. It’s about plunging into the unknown, trusting a stranger, enjoying the sexual tension, opening up, letting someone in, seeing what’s gonna happen next — is it a disaster or is it the right decision?
Falling in love climaxes at the point where the love is reciprocated and “all is well.” What is lost has been found. On the other hand, staying in love isn’t the same. It isn’t as instinctive, straight-forward and irresistibly tempting.
Staying in love takes commitment. It demands your attention, loyalty and faithfulness. It’s about trying to stick together; you to them and them to you. You learn to be dependent on your lover for certain things and let them be dependent on you for others. In a way, the decision to stay in love sparks the beginning of a new partnership. You may have to let go of some of your selfish desires and willful demands, and learn to give in more to your lover’s needs and desires. You may need to sacrifice a little bit here and then a little bit there, and to close your eyes on their imperfection number one, two, three and so on.
Staying in love also means growing into each other. The truth is, you do change as a person. Consciously or unconsciously, you tweak bits of yourself, here and there, slowly over time, as you become more and more used to your partner. You change the way you talk when you’re with them — you never knew you could look so deeply into another person’s eyes. When you walk, you go with a new pace, so that whenever you turn to your side you can admire how beautiful and perfect their side profile is. You laugh a little differently when you’re with them because their company really makes you overflow with joy from the inside. You change in so many little ways that you don’t even realize, and only your best friends will notice.
In the end, you two fit together better. You complement each other better. It may feel as though you have found a new best friend, to enjoy the good times, and endure the bad with. And as you learn to love your partner the way they want to be loved, you discover the kind of lover you are. Are you the jealous type? Or the needy one? How giving or selfish are you? These are the questions about yourself that you’ll slowly find out over time. To love is to learn. Being in love is akin to being on a learning journey. You learn as you love, and you love as you learn. Only with that will you grow as a person.
Choose to be an active party in the relationship. And also, choose your partner and only them, every single day. You’ll stay in love as long as you are willing to work for it, the other person is willing to work for it, and as long as the both of you are willing to work together.
Falling in love may not be something you can control, but staying in love requires every bit of your self-will. Every bit of it.
Originally Published on Medium.