Welcome back to Season two of Ask Mark Elliot. I’ve been out on summer break. It’s been great. We’ve visited Yosemite national park. I’ve been painting, clearing out our humble little home and art studio. I waxed my car for the first time. We’ve been to parks and to beaches. It’s really been a wonderful time. And now school is once again on the horizon. With that comes a new excitement and plenty of opportunities to procrastinate. Right now I’m supposed to be making folders of handouts for all my classes and reviewing lesson plans. So what better time to delve into my Ask Mark Elliot in-box and see what simple question I can answer… Ah, yes, here’s an easy one.
Q. How do you know when you are in love?
A. There is so much out there on the subject of Love. I have tried to add my own thoughts to this matter but ended up sounding too much like things I’ve read or heard others say much better than I could. So I will try to keep this answer short and simple.
Love is kind. It endures the hard times. It enjoys the good times. It doesn’t enlist guilt to get what it wants. It’s mutually beneficial. It wants nothing more than to be expressed and shared. It gives and it graciously accepts. It does not take. Love is often out of balance, and even one sided. Love aches. Love is not expressed through force nor does it inspire cruel words. Love misses you when you have to take care of things like school work and family matters and professional responsibilities. Love doesn’t complain. It’s inquisitive. It listens. It offers support. Love is strong enough to endure misunderstandings, and mistakes. Love is fortified by honesty and trust. Love’s weakness is betrayal. Like breath, love is most understood to have been a constant companion when it is taken away. Love motivates. Love sees the best and accepts rest... And then I can't help but feel I’ve found that well-worn path again. Where it all starts to sound like greeting cards and anonymous poems. So I’m going to end it here for now. Thank you for your overly simplified, complex question, I wish you all the best in your attempt to find and understand love.
May Heaven help us all,
I’ve included all the previous material I’d written for this question. It all stopped when it started to sound too familiar. You are welcome to read through it if you’d like.
The Three-Month Rule. AKA, the Infatuation Stage.
I’ve been in love a handful of times. I’ve been infatuated more times than I can count. Infatuation is both wonderful and dangerous. It is too often mistaken for love. And once it has faded, it’s assumed the love is gone. The infatuation stage usually spans the first three months of a relationship, it is the worst time to make any big decisions or commitments. It is one of the best times to enjoy every moment you can together. Generally, once the two of you pass that three-month stretch, you will both begin to come into focus. I think at this point your body has stopped producing the constant flow of Love Punch (whatever that is, but I think it's a real thing), and you have gathered enough information to start seeing who the other person is, instead of projecting who you wanted them to be. I think that’s why new crushes are so perfect. They fit enough of what we think we want and we are able to just fill in the rest with what we would like them to be, until we are proven wrong. Again, that usually happens about month three. Before that, they of course love to read as much as you do. They love the same movies as you. They have the same ideas on religion, politics, money and pop culture. You would for sure have the same ideals concerning children and pets. They know how to have a good time and share your same sense of adventure, humor, commitment, restraint, seriousness, drive... They are also level headed and ground you. They can’t wait to work through all of life’s issues, big and small, with patience, kindness and understanding.
I think these are the kinds of things we use to fill in the blanks of the back-story we don’t yet understand. As time goes on, through discussion and experience, we start to replace our ideas with more accurate pieces of the story more true to whom they really are.
This point after the three-month period is when Love, for lack of a better word, starts to take root in the ground laid by the previous stage. If there is something there between the two of you love has a chance to grow. It may be slow and consistent or rapid followed by highs and lows.
A list of what Love is and isn’t:
Love is one of those things I find easier to explain by explaining what it is not.
Love doesn’t make you tired.
Love doesn’t hit you.
Love doesn’t hit you and then say something like, “I just love you so much it hurts”.
Love doesn’t call you a bitch.
Love doesn’t throw a fit when you can’t go out because you have work to do.
Love doesn’t need expensive gifts.
Love doesn’t make you feel bad for spending time with friends or family.
Love doesn’t hold too tight.
Love has many imposters, jealousy, dominion, possessiveness, and infatuation...
Love works with you.
Love wants you to succeed.
Love wants you to be happier.
I’m nervous writing this, it’s feeling like one of those lists masquerading as a poem.
Love? How to tell? You’ll know it. You will feel brighter. Things will seem clearer. You will be happy to be seen together and happy to see others. You will be able to enjoy intimate time as well as social time. Love is a wonderful and bothersome thing to wrestle with, weather in ones own life, and conversations with friends or writing an advice blog. Love is simple. If you have to convince yourself it’s probably not the genuine article.
There are stacks of books or poetry that would fill your house on this subject. There are tracks and tracks of music dealing with love. Have you Googled it?