Falling in love and staying in love – they’re both incredible, joyful, and thrilling parts of your life. But the problem comes when you think of them as one and the same. When you expect the infatuating, addictive, high-inducing rush of excitement that occurs during the ‘falling’ stage to last permanently. Or when you assume that the contented, peaceful, wholeheartedly trusting stage that occurs in long-lasting relationships will happen the minute you fall for someone. They’re both wonderful, beautiful experiences, but it is not until you understand how and why they are different that you can truly appreciate what you have in front of you and how you can make it last.
Falling in love means thinking every damn thing they do is adorable, even if it’s as random as the way they sneeze or the way they hold a book. Staying in love means learning how to get over all of the little things they do that absolutely drive you nuts, and loving them anyways.
Falling in love means treasuring every exciting new adventure you share together. Staying in love means treasuring even the littlest of moments – being thankful that they are sleeping safely beside you, closing your eyes as you appreciate the sound of their happy laughter in the other room, smiling at the ‘cheer up’ text they send you during a stressful day at work.
Falling in love means doing everything in your power to make them happy, because seeing them smile brings you so much joy. Staying in love means making a lot of difficult and selfless choices, because the happiness of the two of you as a team means so much more to you than your own individual desires.
Falling in love means discovering all the ways in which you are attracted to them, both physically and emotionally. Staying in love means appreciating all the things about them that they personally deem as imperfections, because those so-called ‘flaws’ are what make them who they are – your favorite person in the entire world.
Falling in love means wanting to introduce them to all of your best friends. Staying in love means finding a closeness with them on a level that is different from any other best friend you’ve ever had in your life.
Falling in love means enjoying the time in a relationship when you get to uncover all the layers that make up the person who has captivated you, and revealing yourself piece by piece to them, too. Staying in love means learning how to open up the most fragile, vulnerable parts of yourselves to one another, the parts that you keep the most hidden, and realizing that it only makes you fall that much harder for each other.
Falling in love means allowing yourself to embrace the out-of-control, overwhelmed, head-over-heels way they make you feel. Staying in love means loving them deeply even in the moments when you don’t like them.
Falling in love means carving out a space for this new person in your life. Staying in love means intertwining your stories and making every decision based on how it will affect the two of you as a whole, rather than thinking only of yourself.
Falling in love means wanting to be with them every second of every day. Staying in love means learning how to continue to be your own person, even if you’re part of a greater whole.
Falling in love means joyfully embracing the sweet, easy laughter that comes with a new relationship. Staying in love means making each other laugh even when things are darker than they’ve ever been before.
Falling in love means (understandably) wanting to spend all of your time alone together. Staying in love means learning how to be happy having lives that still exist outside of one another.
Falling in love means excitedly getting ready for a fancy night out together. Staying in love means feeling like your best self while you’re wearing sweatpants and resting your head in their lap.
Falling in love means looking forward to the next minute you get to spend together. Staying in love means thinking about the distant future with no doubt in your mind that they’ll be laying right next to you.