A question was posed to an internet message board asking how you could tell if you were "in love". The overwhelming response was that one could know they are in love by feelings of compatibility, intensity of sexual chemistry, desire to see, talk to and spend time with the object of desire and that ;it isn’t love if you don’t both feel the same way”. There was also a Disney-like expectation of a magical moment” of realization who to love. Some said things like, “it’s love as long as she’s nice, if she’s a bitch it’s not love. Others were adamant that their tastes in music/clothing/literature/sports/politics etc. were determining forces; while a few said that if someone loves them, they will be in love too. Several stated that it was next to impossible to find anyone close enough to their own ideal to ever “find love and a few were angry about love being a crutch and excuse for co-dependency.
I was intrigued and motivated to craft a reply:
The concept of loving someone because of traits that mesh is a convenient, "feel-good", fairy-tale that can't stand the rigors of time. People's traits are not static. If "perfect meshing" is the standard for love then love is bound to fail.
I'm not interested in applying your rules of love. My definition is simple. "A commitment to care for another person no matter what". With the people who I really, really love, it doesn't matter if they love me back, agree or disagree with me, if they love other people besides me, if they like things that I don't, hang out with me a lot or a little, are bitchy or nice. My love endures. That's not to say that I will continue to interact with them if they do not demonstrate integrity in their dealings with me. "Caring" for someone sometimes means cutting them loose.
I'm not writing this to make anyone "wrong". But on your final day what would you rather look back and see? Serial let-downs or awe and wonder at the incredible people who touched and inspired your life? I choose the later. Its an honor and gift to have people in my life, even you antagonists who challenge me day in and day out on this message board! Misery just isn't my cup o' tea.
I didn't want to have to call my trump card, but you guys appear ostensibly attached to your right to loneliness, so here it is: "Children". You may never know unconditional love if you do not experience raising children (or directly caring for someone like a terminally ill elder). You can't choose your kids based on the qualities you like. You can't shape them into the kind of people you would like to love, but you love them anyway. Occasionally, rarely, you connect on such a deep level that you feel like you've finally "meshed", but mostly you clean poop and puke and slimy noses, endure snotty, defiant attitudes, embarrassment, messes, inconveniences and you love them fiercely nonetheless.
Children awaken us to the depth of love that human beings are capable of. Even when your own child becomes a prom-queen who listens to Britney Spears, you love her and continue hanging out with her and awakening to the miracle of a human being that she is. Experiencing that fierce love even once, you gain undying appreciation for all humanity. The way people look, act, or what they're "into" stops mattering. You don't have to love everybody, but for the people who mean something to you, it would be nice to not expect them to be anything of your own design. That is intimacy.
As for co-dependency being a crutch, that is just a pathetic attempt at blaming society for what you hate about your own dependent qualities. Why not close yourself up in a pod and forget about human beings altogether? The concept is contrary to the very nature of humanity. If we were not designed to have dependency on others of our species we would be hatched and run to the ocean without ever seeing our mothers.