I Love You vs I’m ‘In’ Love With You

Have you ever heard someone say “I love you but I’m not in love with you?” What’s the difference? It’s all in the little word ‘in.’ When you add the word ‘in’ to I love you, you’re making reference to the ‘fall.’ You fell into something with someone, in this case you fell into ‘love’ with the person in question. The alternative is you love someone without necessarily being “in love” with him or her, without having fallen.

Without being ‘in love,’ you can have love to give someone but you’re loving him or her from a position of some self-control. There is far less control involved in the feeling of being “in love.” Another implication of being “into someone” is, you are joined with that person somehow as a result of having fallen into a feeling of love. If you’re a bit squeamish about love, it might be easier for you to love someone from a position of being in control than vulnerably in love with him or her.

Vulnerable means you are in love without defensiveness, a form of self-control that is frequently used in matters of the heart. Falling into love requires that you be able to let yourself go once the chemistry is felt. Think of the times in your life when you’ve decided to let go of the control over yourself and your lover you usually keep. It can feel scary or threatening in some undefined way. When you let go enough to be ‘in love’ with someone you have really fallen more deeply into your own emotion of love for your lover. Dr. T. Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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