Sharing the Struggle: Is This Love?

Dear June,

I’m having trouble grasping the concept of romantic love. It’s hard to describe, but if I see a couple in love, I can easily identify it. However, trying to identify whether I am falling in love with my significant other is a difficult feat. I’ve been dating my S.O. for 6 months now and, after speaking to friends who are in relationships or who have had relationships, I’m starting to wonder if it’s bad if neither me or my S.O. are falling in love at this point. One friend and his wife fell in love within one month of dating. Another friend and her boyfriend fell in love in five, six months. I know it’s different for every couple, but is there a certain point where you’d expect to fall in love or the relationship might not work out?

-Confused About Love

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Dear CAL,

You need a trip, a tragedy, and a tussle. Let me explain…

Every relationship starts off with all the hope and promise of an unknown future. You can’t keep your hands off each other and you spend all your free time lovingly staring into your partner’s eyes. That, my friend, is lust. Your sex organs are running the show during that stage. It’s the aftermath, the stage you are in now, that really determines if you are gonna make it long term.

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The Trip

Planning a trip is stressful. Planning a trip and actually traveling with another person is doubly so. Plan a trip with your honey and bask in your alone time in a new place. Try new things together. Do things you wouldn’t normally do. Have sex in every surface of your hotel room. Your trip doesn’t need to be expensive or lengthy. Go camping. Go to the beach for the weekend. It doesn’t really matter. Just go somewhere new and cohabitate for a while.

I can’t point to a study or anything but, in my experience, you don’t really know someone until you have lived with them. Cook, sleep, ignore each other while on your phones for a bit. That should shed some light.

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The Tragedy

When I say tragedy, I mean in the Shakespearean sense. No one needs to die or have a house burn down. A tragedy is simply a situation where nothing seems to go right. The air conditioning breaks in the middle of July or your long-awaited beach day is rained out. You can’t manufacture a tragedy like you can a trip. These you have to wait for.

For example: you lost your job. How does your partner respond? Are they supportive? Are they dismissive? Do they offer help? Do you feel like you have a safe place to land when things get tough? All of these are telling questions. You and your S.O. should be able to function as a team to find a solution that works for both of you.

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The Tussle

The way your partner fights with you is super important. Human adults are not always going to get along whether or not they are in a relationship. You are going to disagree and it is going to have to be worked out. You can, but I suggest you don’t manufacture a tussle.

When an argument arises, what happens? How do you feel about the situation? Do they run or do they stay and talk it out? Are they purposefully hurtful? The partner that is meant for you will hear your concerns and work to make things right. And you will feel the same drive. You should never have to guess at how they feel about you even while you are in an argument.

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Everyone falls in love at different speeds. Trust me when I say, you won’t have to guess when it happens. When you know, you know. Ultimately, I want you to remember one thing. Don’t settle. Someone might look really good on paper, but not pan out in person. I get it, we all have timelines in our minds of how things are going to go, but it rarely works out that way. When you find the partner you are meant to spend your life with, everything will click into place and you will feel like you found a part of you that had been missing. If this S.O. is the one for you, you should be able to see yourself growing old with them. Relationships are work but love comes easy. You shouldn’t have to work on love. It should grow naturally over time.

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Know the difference between romantic love and platonic love. I love my friends but I don’t want to build a life with them. Loving a friend of the opposite sex can cause you to blur the line a bit especially if you have been single for a long time. A friend of mine once said that falling in love was like falling asleep. Gradually at first and then all at once. It’s poetic and very true. If you don’t feel that the love in your heart is growing each day, it’s probably a good idea to take a step back and leave yourself open to other love interests. Don’t settle. Big love is out there for everyone. Go find it.

Best of luck,

June

Have a question for June? Submit your questions or stories to submit@shuffleonline.net or tweet us @SharingStruggle or @ShuffleOnline!

About June

June was born and raised in the south where “bless your heart” is an insult. Self professed serial dater and an expert in all matters of the heart. June also enjoys volunteering, dancing and sewing.

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