Evolution of feelings about love | INFJ Forum

Evolution of feelings about love

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Gaze, Feb 14, 2019.

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  1. Gaze

    Gaze My word . . . hmm
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    Over a period of time, we learn from different experiences how to love. It seems the way we learned to love early in our first love experiences changes overtime and our expectations change, and so we don't experience love in the same way as we once did when we were learning about something that was pretty new.

    I'm just realizing how love changes or can change even for one person after knowing them for a long time. After falling in and out of love, it sometimes hard to figure out what love would be like or should be like, after stepping away from what it felt like or used to be. It's almost like a blank slate. How I once felt or thought about love doesn't seem to fit or work anymore, so now I have to refresh how I look at it.

    I guess, my question is, how does your experience of love change either from person to person or within the same relationship with one person over a period of time? Do you find that you love differently back then when you were younger or first in love vs. now? Were you less or more fulfilled in your relationship with the changes in how you learned to love differently over time? What were your struggles or difficulties trying to figure out how love works from one experience to the other?

    Just a note that this is not so much about whether or not a previous relationship or person was necessarily good or bad, but an understanding of how your feelings developed and changed in figuring out what it meant for you to be in a relationship with someone you love or loved.
     
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  2. Jonah Caan

    Jonah Caan Community Member

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    This is the best title and start to a thread I have ever seen:) I feel incompetent to answer but I'm going to do it anyway:sweatsmile:

    I have always questioned what love is since I can remember. For me I think I've always just been in pursuit of the purest love, not knowing which kind of relationship that lay in; whether it was family, friends or romantic.

    I recall stepping away from my 'friends' at school when I was 8 because I felt like they weren't really my friends (or what I perceived how friends should be). Although I'm sure at the time I didn't quite understand what true friendship would be like, I guess my soul was looking for something deeper and what I had at the time did not meet that need.

    I have also always been cynical about the kind of romantic love exhibited by western society (and especially within Hollywood). As a result of which I believe that most people confuse lust and limerence for love.

    During adolescence I developed insecurities within myself and so began looking more for acceptance than love (from my family); maybe I though acceptance was love. I thought since my experience with friendship made me realise that friends cannot provide true love, then surely family could. Thus began my 20 year ordeal of trying to get my father to accept me, and my family members to understand me too.

    My 20's were rough. I was abandoned by everyone in my family (basically everyone I loved) after some of their mistakes and my blind eagerness for their acceptance lead me to being completely isolated from the world.

    As I began to see the flaws in my family members, in my heart and soul I began to feel that there was that one person that I would meet one day and they would love and understand me like no-one else and I would do the same in return. So I guess it was a soulmate kind of love I believed in; one of complete understanding. This 'soulmate' kind of love feels like that concept of love that I said I hated seeing within films etc. But deep within me something yearned for it, at the same time not believing that the 'at first sight/happy ever after' kind of love was actually love. It was the same yearning I felt as a 8 year old and I felt like I'd know when I experience it. My concept of love now was that which included complete honesty without any fear of rejection or abandonment. To give without wanting anything in return. To be able to sit in perfectly comfortable silence. To be able to talk more with my eyes that with words. To deal with conflict in an open and understanding way. To help them become who they want to be in life and letting them do so freely.

    By 27 I had given up all hope of finding the soulmate bond I had been looking for (although at the time I had no name for it; it was just a feeling). I could feel my heart turning cold. There were several years where I could not cry. I continued trying to be accepted by my family because that was the cycle I had gotten myself into.

    Turning 30, I realised the way in which I was living my life was not working. I stepped back to reflect on everything. One of the answers was to doorslam my father. This led me to a path where I would learn to love myself. It is after I finally felt 'whole' without anyone else that I found the love I had always been looking for.

    I finally felt within my heart that I had finally found that bond my soul had always yearned for. It encompassed everything within my concept of love. I wanted it to remain like this for life; a love where I would not need to be with him physically. To help and support him emotionally and physically whenever he needed me to. For him to know that he would never be alone in this world, as he went about his life as he chose to.

    At this point I though I had fallen into the trap of lust and limerence, so I took a step back form him. I took a couple of months to reflect on the relationship and how I felt. During this time, I tried my best to see him for who he was; his flaws, insecurities and so on. He gave me space and I came to the conclusion that I loved him completely despite his flaws etc and therefore it was not just the 'honeymoon' period I was under the spell of.

    But then after a year a neediness erupted within us both. I absolutely hated this; it went against my concept of pure love. But I couldn't stop it; I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man when I always knew I could not, nor could I tell him as it would stop him from moving forward in his life. This actually began to break my heart even before the relationship was over. External factors ensured we couldn't be together and the relationship ended. Towards the end of the relationship, my unhealthy attachment style also 'kicked in' and I felt even more needy and clingy, without letting him know.

    It took me 6 months to fall out of that conventional, needy kind of love. The hardest period of my life thus far (I guess I'm lucky that heartbreak is the worst I have had to endure in life yet). But what remains now is that feeling that always wants him to be happy wherever he is or whatever he is doing. When I hear or see he is doing well it brings tears to my eyes and I feel proud that I can care for someone in that way. I don't have an urge to want to see him or talk with him, unless I think he is down or upset. For me this is the purest love.

    But, because of no physical contact and his changed behaviour, I am beginning to feel indifferent to him. So maybe the concept of love that I have always wanted does not exist after all. Not for the long-term anyway. I think I only just realised that I believe that a relationship in which there is a need for permanent cohabitation goes against what I currently believe to be love.

    Now I have found that I still need physical companionship in life, so I find myself in another relationship and I feel like I'm falling in love with him. But it's just not like what I had before. It feels like it's more at my body and heart level like my earlier relationships were; it's not a love that touches my soul (like the previous one did instantly). That's what I think about love now - there's a love which is at body level and physical (and sexual too I guess). Then there's a deeper level that touches my heart. And there's that rare occasion which has only happened to me once in my life, that it caresses my soul. And I actually feel like that once is enough. I found what I was looking for and I experienced it to the full extent. I'm happy if all the love I experience thereafter only goes as far as my heart.

    So there it is, another post that I feel has gone on for way too long and is just waffling. it think I went off point too:/

    P.S. I guess I'm always going to be a student of love; I'm still learning.

    I wish you the purest of love.
     
    #2 Jonah Caan, Feb 14, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  3. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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    Love for me has been a journey from a place of elation in its capture to confidence in its release. Perhaps one day I will understand peace in it simply being.
     
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  4. OP
    Gaze

    Gaze My word . . . hmm
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    Thanks for sharing Jonah. I can relate to a quite a bit of what you say. My earliest experiences of "love" were limerence, and they were unhealthy crushes and attachments. I kinda felt like a prisoner to them. I also had an unrealistic, romantic view of love so I idealized potential partners. Realized how unfortunate this was later on. That neediness was also a huge part of how I experienced love, especially the attachment style you spoke of. I think that's what inspired the OP, that after going through that and letting go, now I'm not sure how to conceive of love now, since my previous version of it that I was once heavily invested in kinda failed. Now, I have to reimagine it and don't know where I would start. I'm nervous about falling into old patterns and one of my fears is that enough personal growth or change hasn't taken happened for me to let go of past hurts or wrongs, so I haven't moved on fully. And that wouldn't be a good thing to take with me into a new relationship. I've been on a relationship sabbatical for a while, because I just wasn't in a healthy mindspace and physically healthy place to be in a relationship, and I know it wouldn't be good for the relationship to have an incomplete person matched with someone who has their act together. So, I guess this is why I want to find out how others reinvented the concept of love or how it evolved for them over a period of time.
     
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  5. Daustus

    Daustus Community Member

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    It's scary and reassuring to me that I have been thinking heavily on this topic off and on for about a year now and it's a current thread here. What's love mean for me currently? I specifically think about how I'm showing up to relationships these days and what I need and what the other person needs.

    In my teens I confused love with limerence and put all of myself into seeking approval from the other person. I developed a one-sided relationship that failed and left me damaged. I damn near door slammed the world. I really didn't even try to put my needs into my relationships. Almost like if I made the other person happy, then I would be default be happy. Which wasn't true.

    I healed and spent some time finding myself and I eventually found a beautiful, funny INTJ woman that I marriage and started a family with. Early on this was a very romantic relationship and we really just enjoyed spending time with each other and shut out the rest of the world. 10 years later we have young children and professional jobs with limited time to spend with each other. Our relationship has become more business like. This is to just logistically accomplish getting through the routine of young children and work. That being said I'm worried about our connection at times. I worry about how I'm showing up in the relationship these days. I think the "spark" or passion has really just been turned down to a low simmer and it'll come back. The root of my concern these days is more "are we meeting each others needs" and I think so. Just trying to keep sane. Love for me now is more of a slower, steady pace. It's more stable.

    I do find that I as I mature I don't expect to find Hollywood's definition of a soulmate. I don't think 1 person can understand me completely or be everything I need or want. I do find people I connect with and I invite them into my life. I do a better job setting healthy boundaries. I find that I accept people and express love to them in different ways. My INTJ wife thinks this is a little bizarre at times but she accepts that I have friendships (even other women - which my wife can be jealous of) where I plumb the depths of the human experience and my soul.

    As an INFJ male I've always had about equal amounts of male and female friends and I do keep my wife informed on what I'm going thru in my internal world. There is a level of trust here that we had to build over 10 years.
     
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  6. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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  7. Daustus

    Daustus Community Member

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    Makes me think of The Shining.
    the-photograph-at-the-end-of-stanley-kubricks-the-shining-explained-by-screenwriter-social.jpg
     
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  8. Wyote

    Wyote Con Risa Absoluta
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  9. Jonah Caan

    Jonah Caan Community Member

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    I definitely agree with the relationship 'sabbatical'. It's critical for our healing and self-growth.

    Could it not be that your relationship and partner are to to blame as well rather than just your concept of love and how you approach relationships?

    Once you're further ahead in the grieving and healing process, you'll gain more clarity on the relationships and red flags as well as other issues that you couldn't quite see whilst in the relationship will come to light. Hopefully you can then get a better idea of how much the relationship itself was to blame, so that you don't end up overcompensating in your view and concept of love.

    Due to the pain of heartbreak, I too fear it happening again. I definitely have more healthy boundaries now, something which I gave no importance to before. But these boundaries go against my concept of love; it's like I'm holding back or not being my genuine self.

    I think the INFJ all or nothing syndrome is to blame here too. I either want to go all in or nothing at all. There's just no in-between and finding a balance is just tricky because it feels unauthentic.
     
    #9 Jonah Caan, Feb 14, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  10. Daustus

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    Struggled with that my adult life. I agree it feels like i'm holding back but it's better for me. Took me awhile to trust that.
     
  11. Jonah Caan

    Jonah Caan Community Member

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    Yeah, I know what you mean. I guess I was sacrificing my own happiness for my core value of authenticity. I hate the term but in a perfect world authenticity would be the way forward. But people are selfish (I have found) and either consciously or unconsciously will take advantage of this.
     
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  12. Wyote

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    When you more fully embody authenticity in an accurate way, people will get on board with you or they will leave you alone. Both outcomes are helpful to you :)
     
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  13. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    I don't think that my definition of love has frequently changed. It's a verb and will remain so for me.

    Love can't stay an emotion, it's got to be realized.
     
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  14. OP
    Gaze

    Gaze My word . . . hmm
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    I think feelings can change in ways you don't expect. Someone you loved can become someone you like but not with the interest and intensity you had for them once upon a time. Even if you test yourself to see if those feelings can be returned, there's a part of you that knows it's not going to be the same, even if you want to be. The head and the heart are always at war, but sometimes the heart says "that's enough" and moves on.
     
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  15. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    It is misfortunate a fate to see love become hate.
     
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  16. OP
    Gaze

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    Maybe it's not always hate, just a transformation or transition. Yeah, you loved the person once, but maybe you have changed, learned some lessons, and realize that the way you experienced love with this person doesn't necessarily work anymore. Maybe you're moving in two different directions, or simply define love too differently. I wouldn't really know how to define love today, unless I experienced it again without rush or expectation. But finding love is really difficult today. It can be so easily confused for a host of other things.
     
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    How did you and those you've loved benefit from love?
     
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  18. BritNi

    BritNi Perceptive Optimist
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    When I love, I love whole-heartedly. I give my all by giving my all, even if it means I sacrifice my own time, space, money, needs, and health.

    My style of love has a toxic aftertaste. Patterns have shown that the more I give, the more they feel entitled within our relationship. I begin receiving less "thank you, sweety... you're the best," and more, "Hey... what are you making me for dinner and I don't have any clean socks!" It never fails that I'm left to feel underappreciated and taken for granted.

    I always hope for some type repriciosity. I desire care and affection in return on an emotional and spiritual level. I've yet to find this, but I still can't bring myself to blame them. I assume responsibility. If I hadn't have 'spoiled' them in such ways, or had I at least stopped giving so much when I felt so used up, perhaps they wouldn't have felt so entitled.

    I continue to place the blame on myself, as I repeat the same cycle. I'm aware of my past faults as I leave one toxic relationship, soon to find another. However, with each passing year, I failed to change my behavior. As I receive the affections of another love, I begin to sacrifice myself once more. And when I want to leave, I find it difficult to do. I feel the guilt of contributing to their codependencies. I believe If I didn't take care of them so well, then they wouldn't really need me. So when it's time, I want to say goodbye, they cling on to me so tightly. I lose each battle of emotional war play, because I submit to my guilt. So then I stay, although my resentment grows.

    I'm now 31, and I've finally realized I can't continue his vicious cycle. I need to care for myself, first. I always shine when I do, and that's when I attract the right people.

    So as for now, I've learned my lesson and I shall change my habitual tendencies. I'd rather be alone than drown in toxicity.
    And shall I ever find myself once again in that dark place, it will be no one's fault, but my own.
     
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    #18 BritNi, Mar 13, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  19. BritNi

    BritNi Perceptive Optimist
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    I highly agree. I feel that if you are capable of truly hating someone, then you never loved them at all.

    I am that person: when my love 'transforms' or 'transitions,' as you put it, I still have love for them. I still desire to be a part of their life. I hope to be their friend. I hope to be able to see them prosper and grow. I even look forward to watching them walk down the aisle when they find their true forever love.

    If I loved them once, I forever love them: just not the same. I cherish the passionate moments we shared; just because the flame died, we shouldn't have to forever say goodbye.
     
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  20. OP
    Gaze

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    tbh, I don't think I benefited from love. I gave a bit too much and didn't receive the same kind of commitment. In the end, I learned more about myself as a person from loving them than I did from someone loving me. The love I experienced was never truly fulfilling, giving, and full. In any case, it taught me to value myself as a love interest in that if I cared about someone, it fulfilled me to think about them, want them, and give that one person my complete commitment. I don't mind giving someone my all as long as they'll give it in return. I'm kinda of an all in or all out person. I can't do half in or half out. That just hurts in the long run. I also learned that love is not always an easy or simple thing. It can be fire, rain, sunshine, storm, and volcano :D. It can also be a quiet and simple. What I liked the most was the constancy of having someone I wanted to give my time and attention. Not sure if this is the response you were looking for, but that's what I took from it.
     
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