GENERAL ARTICLES

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN LOVE?

Have you lost your appetite? Are you unable to sleep or work? If so, you’re either infatuated or ill. Real love isn’t like that

CLIFFORD R. ADAMS March 15 1946
GENERAL ARTICLES

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN LOVE?

Have you lost your appetite? Are you unable to sleep or work? If so, you’re either infatuated or ill. Real love isn’t like that

CLIFFORD R. ADAMS March 15 1946

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN LOVE?

Have you lost your appetite? Are you unable to sleep or work? If so, you’re either infatuated or ill. Real love isn’t like that

CLIFFORD R. ADAMS

Marriage Counsellor, Penn State College

A FEW weeks ago a girl of 17 said to me, “I think I'm in love, but I want to be sure. Is there any way of being certain?” She wasn’t in love. She had known her boy friend only three weeks, had had only five dates with him. Infatuated she undoubtediy was, but true and lasting love does not come out of five dates.

It isn’t always easy to be sure you are in love. Some persons think love should hit them like a bolt of lightning; others believe it is something that grows for years before it can be recognized. You may even think of it as being a trap into which you fall.

One reason for the confusion is that there are difierent kinds of genuine love. John loves his mother and his son and his wife, but not in the same way. Sometimes these different kinds of affection even interfere with each other. His love for his mother has a strong element of devotion and appreciation for yll the years she cared for him. The love for his son may be full of pride and satisfaction because that boy is a chip of! the old block. Hut he loves his wife for her companionship, her tenderness and the fact that she meets all his needs.

Another thing that confuses people is that love is not constant. It changes, lessens, expands. Especially may this happen in the first stages. When two people first begin to love each other they feel romance and tingle. There is wonder and even doubt. Is it real? Will it go on forever? Then comes a quarrel; tears and accusations pour forth. Love seems far away, but a few minutes later they make up and both are ecstatically happy again.

In all genuine loves, whether romantic, conjugal or parental, there is deep concern for the welfare of the loved one and a desire to share with the loved one. One couple I know were typical of the thousands separated by the war. Each day Mary wrote Hill, regardless of how tired she was. She wanted to share her joys and sorrows, her triumphs and her problems with him.

Because loves are different and variable, two oui of five g.rls coming to us want help in deciding if theirs is the real thing. That isn’t, always easy, because infatuation and love have much in common. Being in love is a state of mind. So is being infatuated. Both usually have physical feeling involved. The more emotional and desperate the love, the greater is the degree of infatuation.

Falling in love at first sight suggests infatuation. Beal, lasting love rarely comes from two people just being together two or three times. ’They may have strong feelings of physical attraction upon first sight, but lasting love means the sharing of many things and working together to accomplish similar goals that both want.

’The “lovesick” person who loses appetite, can’t sleep, can’t work, is either in love with love or is torn with jealously and insecurity. This is much more like infatuation than love.

Suddenness in falling in love is always suspect, because it frequently means love for one or two qualities in the other rather than for all the person is. A boy may have built in his mind a picture of the girl he wants. Among other things it includes blond hair and blue eyes. Along comes a blue-eyed blonde who is a good dancer, and he likes to dance. The combination is irresistible. Infatuated by this accomplished loveliness, he marries it a few dates later. He hasn’t learned that his angel can’t cook, that she doesn’t want to have children, that she is crazy to be a movie star. Had he been patient he would have found this out, and he probably would have married someone else.

True love takes time. Each time they see each other the couple find out new things. They become acquainted with their common interests, attitudes and habits. They talk over their futures, the kind of lives they want to live and the things they hope to achieve. ’They identify with each other and develop a deep feeling of security and trust. There is an absence of selfishness, and each works and plans to please the other.

They have tangible reasons for feeling secure. Neither has any desire to exploit the other, because both see themselves working for a joint happiness.

Had your parents been two

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other people than the ones they were you probably would have loved them just as deeply. This should tell you there is no one and only person for you to love. There are thousands of people that you could fall in love with and be happily married to, as well as millions whom you could never love. It is this multitude of possible mates that sometimes makes it difficult for a girl to choose between two boys. This situation sometimes creates triangles in marriage. But because of this fact it is possible for a girl to find and love a man in her own community rather than have to go from Canada to Florida to meet her mate.

Some people fall in love at first sight because they are insecure and anxious to have someone to cling to. Many such cases occurred during the war. A ^¡iirl may be unhappy at home, unsure about her future, and wants to marry because she doesn’t feel loved and appreciated. She thinks being an old maid the worst possible thing that could happen to her. It is no wonder that she easily deceives herself into thinking she is in love with the first presentable man who comes along.

Often two people fall in love so madly after meeting that they feel they must marry at once. This situation frequently confronts marriage counselors, and they rightfully question if true love exists when the two lovers feel they will die if they can’t marry by Saturday or Sunday. Real love can make sacrifices; it isn’t something that has to be rushed. The more urgent the desire to get married the more likely it is that the

infatuation will die out as quickly as it began.

Parents of young people smitten with such a love need to be cautious. To call tbe love infatuation or to say it is silly or just “puppy love” is to aggravate the problem and to fan the flames. The two people are sincere, and they need sympathy and understanding rather than discouragement or opposition. To doubt their love or to try to break it up frequently leads to something drastic. Be patient; let them see each other; ask them to wait some reasonable period that will give them time to think things through and to plan how they will assume the responsibilities of marriage.

People Who Can’t Love

Your ability to fall in love depends a great deal upon your own previous experience, even as far back as your childhood. The way your parents got along with each other, their love for you and attitudes toward you and toward each other, all have much to do with your falling in love, and the steadiness your love will have. Some people find it utterly impossible to fall in love. Usually this results from unfavorable and unpleasant experiences they had in their own homes and with persons of the opposite sex. Elsa’s parents are divorced. Her mother, with whom she lives, has repeatedly drilled into her that men are scoundrels and beasts. Then daughter meets a man who in some ways confirms her mother’s teachings. She becomes a man-hater and will never be able to fall in love.

When a person has been brought up to feel that love and marriage are normal worth-while goals, then certain conditions make love almost inevitable. Une major condition is that the two persons have experiences together that cause them to react favorably to each other. And another condition is that each in some way fulfills some of the motives that are important to the other, such as desire for social approval or, with a man, desire for mastery.

Similar standards and ideals are quite important. Although opposites may attract, those that marry are rarely completely happy. There is one exception. If the other person possesses a trait or quality which you lack but admire, then that may deepen your love. A man, for example, may be easily annoyed but admire and love his girl for her tranquillity. Ur a fearful girl may admire and love her mate for his confidence and courage. But the honest, temperate, dependable girl is unlikely to be happy with, or to continue to love, a husband who will steal, habitually drink, and lie repeatedly.

There should be sexual feeling present. Certain hormones pour into the blood stream which lead to sexual tension. This tension is usually greatest in men in their late teens and early twenties. In girls the tension develops more slowly and rarely peaks until the late twenties or thirties. Since the average man is about 25 and the girl about 22 when they marry, it can be easily seen why the man is usually the aggressor. Were it not for this physical feeling many young couples would not find great pleasure in just being in each other’s company, and would probably not decide to share their lives in marriage.

One of the remarkable things about love is that girls are fonder of boys who have characteristics resembling their own fathers than they are of boys who don’t. In the same way a boy is more likely to fall in love with a girl who resembles his own mother than with one who doesn’t. Particularly is this true when the child loved and admired the parent. It is probable that

j when opposites marry, one or both may he persons who did not love and admire the parent of opposite sex.

While it is possible for you to love I wo people at the same time, it is much more likely that you are the victim of a double infatuation. 1 am reminded of Vera, who thought she was “terribly” in love with two hoys. One was quite good-looking, a smooth dancer, and was regarded as a good “catch.” The other hoy was an athlete, the life of the party, and he drove a smart car. Both were good conversationalists and constantly poured out compliments to her. Their consideration and flattery were like food and wine to her. She ate up their words and imagined she was in love with them. Actually she was in love with herself and with the idea of being in love.

Sometimes It’s Reversed

Recently I talked to a successful lawyer of 33. For nearly four years he has dated a nurse three years younger than he is. She loves him devotedly and he loves her, hut does not know it. He thinks there should be romantic yearning and that love should burst upon him like an exploding atomic bomb.

He has mixed up infatuation and love, for one can love without the fireworks that usually accompany a state of infatuation. Early youth is the period for romance and urgency, not the staid thirties. Too busy for dating when he went to school, this young attorney now seeks the thrills he could have had in his early twenties. If he does not marry the nurse, one of these days he may fall for some glamorous girl, lx* rushed into marriage, and probably spend the balance of his life regretting what happened.

What you want in love may not be what you need. You may fall in love w'ith somebody who is not a suitable mate for you. You may even want to marry that person, knowing that the chances of being happy are not too good. Don’t let love rush you off your feet. Even though it be a genuine love, if that person has qualities or characteristics that may endanger the success of your marriage, take your time. Make sure. One good test is to ask your parents and friends about it. If you are in love and if they give their