To love is to be human, and they say you can’t choose who you love – but how much truth is there in this age-old anecdote?
Attraction – what some also relate to when they think of passionate, romantic love – is chemistry. We cannot choose who we are attracted to. The butterflies in the tummy and sweaty hands are an involuntary response to an encounter with someone who we find attractive.
We don’t suddenly decide that we will get tongue tied and be unable to look someone in the eye because we feel like we should be attracted to them. Attraction is an exciting, unnerving and uncontrollable reflex – and really, would we want it any other way.
But love, long-lasting, share our lives together, reveal my deepest fantasies and darkest secrets (and even our darkest fantasies and deepest secrets to) to love is a choice. Even from the start, whilst we can’t control who we find attractive, we can control where we go looking for love if we choose to.
Some look for love in places that give them a semblance of hope that they will find a mate with a shared interest, similar social circle or preferred status. Others will throw caution to the wind and have one eye out for ‘the one’ at every new chance encounter.
So how and where we open ourselves up to love is a choice even who sets our heart a flutter may not be – and where you go looking for love can set you on the path of meeting your perfect bunk-mate.
By applying the same logic, you can also choose the type of person you do not want to fall in love with. If you don’t want a partner in life whose weekends will be taken up cheering on their favourite football team, don’t head to the local sports bar on a Saturday, and if you don’t like spicy food, why not give that first date at the local Indian a miss.
This may seem like an overly calculated and perhaps even cold approach to dating, but if you are looking to fall in love with the perfect partner and keep ending up with incompatible companions where the compromise of where to eat or how to spend your social time has been the undoing of an otherwise perfect relationship, then these decisions early on can put you on the path of finding the one you wish to choose to love.
Unlike those first few weeks or months, where the attraction is everything and the complexities of a shared life have yet to sneak their way into your state of newly found bliss, love is a choice. Loving someone, as we all know, is no fairytale. Success at love is so much more than loving another person. It is loving the life you can build together.
For a successful, long-term relationship, we must find a way to bring together two people, two lives, two pasts and two futures. This inevitably means there will be compromise at almost every turn – there will be some sacrifice by all involved – but to make this worthwhile – it has to be worth it.
And that is where we must be prepared to choose to love. Not above (never above!) loving ourselves, but loving someone else enough to be prepared to give them more than a little part of you and your life.
This must therefore be a conscious decision if it is to last. Sure, for some couples they do get the fairytale. The love at first sight. We hear how they never fight, agree on everything and are never apart.
This love it to be admired, but it is rare and could be argued that looking for this type of love could even be harmful to our relationship status.
We can all dream of meeting the perfect one, of everything clicking into place – but believe it too hard and you could easily fall into the trap of mistaking attraction and passion for a love you can build a life on.
It is important to recognize the difference between an attraction and life-long love and we have to be able to be separate the two.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the early phase of a relationship – it’s a time many of us will remember fondly and wish we could have held onto longer, even when we do find our perfect ship-mate to sail through life with.
But be aware of the path you are on and look out for the key milestones that can, if left unchecked, can quickly see you settled down with your crush from the local bar.
This may all seem like a long-way from a Disney movie, but for those who have been unlucky in love and are looking to share their days with their perfect companion, taking charge of the choice to love could be the key to success.
It doesn’t mean a cold, calculated approach to seeking out the one, but it could put you on the right path to finding your perfect someone in a way you hadn’t considered before.
So don’t stop looking for love, but look in the right places. Don’t assume that because someone sets your heart a flutter, that fate is stepping in and leading your hand.
Understand that attraction is a natural response – go with it, enjoy it – but don’t feel like you ever have to settle. That you have been dealt the hand you’ve been given. It is your life. Your choice. Your heart.
And when you find the one to choose to love, choose to love completely, entirely and without hesitation.
And allow yourself to be chosen – what greater joy can there be than hearing that we were chosen, that we are wanted so entirely and with such a conscious awareness. Passion and attraction are exciting, but love is lasting. How great that we have a choice to CHOOSE LOVE.
Martina Sanchez is an entrepreneur and content marketing specialist at Lucky Assignments. She is absorbed with article writing and is a constant contributor to her blog where she touches on such topics as digital marketing, SEO tips and tricks etc.