What is Love? We tend to think of love as being a thing in and of itself, when really love is a catch all and collective term for a whole bunch of expectations and behaviors.
We do this in language - codify and simplify ideas down to single words, like saying daisy instead of small yellow or white flower with twenty or more oval petals that grows a few cm off the ground.
It makes sense to do this - it makes language efficient.
This is why he have jargon in each arena of expertise: it's a codification of language that simplifies conversations so that you can more easily discuss complex ideas without wasting time explaining already shared knowledge.
The problem comes in on the expectation of what the codification consists of... for the engineer that just barely passed, is his understanding of the codification or jargon as complete as the colleague who graduated top of his class?
So what are the common expectations we place on the codification of love?
- I need you around, in my life, in contact with me
- You matter to me, I care what happens to you
- I want right of access to your life
- I want you to be answerable to me
- I want you to compromise around me
- I want you to be loyal to me
- I want you to support me
- I want you to be honest with me
- I want you to trust me and be trustworthy
- I want the assurance that you're in my corner
- The list goes on, and you get the idea.
Similarly, love often carries the expectation that we expect the other party to expect the same actions and behaviors and allowances from us.
Additional expectations that often trip people up are issues like monogamy in romantic relationships, or privacy in sharing in information.
So if you're saying you love someone or they love you, ask yourself what are the big and small expectations that you have of that person?
Writing the list can be revealing in terms of identifying what ties you to the person and what it is you're looking for from the relationship.