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When people start to think “what is love?”, they tend to focus on the feeling. It’s more of an action, and that makes it a choice.
As soon as I found out my ex-husband was a liar and a cheater, things changed almost immediately. I stopped loving him. As I looked back, I realized that I had made a choice to love him for a long time, and now I was making a choice not to.
There were some feelings of course. I felt hurt and betrayed. I would think back on good times and try to figure out the signs I’d missed. But at no point did all that bring up feelings of love. The more I looked into what is love and talked to my therapist about it, the more I realized that love is a choice.
What is love?
When you initially think about love, you likely think of feelings. You think of the butterflies in the stomach you have when you think of someone, or you may feel something in your heart. You’ve heard about people who have died of heartbreak when the love of their life has left them.
Yes, there are certainly some feelings involved. However, those feelings are hormonal and emotional. They are a response to other things.
You can be “in love,” which is the feeling. However, love is a verb. You love a person. It’s “to love.” As you figure that out, it becomes very powerful indeed.
How you can choose to love
As I found out about my cheating ex, I looked back on the feelings that I had for him. He would tell me that I didn’t make him happy in the way his affair partner did, or that he didn’t feel in love with me again. At the time, I was hurt. Then I realized that it was because he chose to give up on what we had.
There were plenty of times that I thought of the negatives about him. His breath smells awful as he’s a chronic mouth-breather and doesn’t brush his teeth properly, and he was emotionally abusive (okay that I didn’t see until after). I wouldn’t like the way he would tell me “it’s not all about you” when I would try to tell him how I was feeling about a situation, and I didn’t like how he did barely anything around the house. I wasn’t even physically attracted to him at this point, but I chose to think of the things on the inside that I was attracted to. I could feel us growing apart, but I would try to fix things and he just wouldn’t care.
Side note: The lack of physical attraction turns out that it was a mixture of the emotional abuse and the fact that I felt more like his mother than his wife. That’s going to turn people off!
I made choices to rethink things about him. As the negatives came up, I would tell myself of the things that I did like about him. I was mentally making that choice not to let the bad stuff get to me. I should have on some of the bad stuff, but I just wasn’t ready at the time to accept him being emotionally abusive. That’s another topic.
I then realized that he wasn’t choosing to do the same. The more negative we think of someone, the more we pull away from them. I’ve done it with friendships, in other relationships, and even with family members. He made the choice to think of the bad about me and not the good. That was his choice. He chose to stop loving me because love is an action.
So, when I found out the truth about him, I stopped making the choice to think about only the good. I made the choice to allow myself to think about all the things I hated, and the stuff I definitely wouldn’t miss. My life is 100% better without him, but it came from choice and not a feeling.
It works with friendships, too. Now, only the people I choose to be around will get a part of me.