Do people choose who they love?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not referring to your children or other family members, but romatic love- do you think you make (made) a choice to love him or her?
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think it's partly a choice. Physical attraction and compatibility are certainly part of the package, and they seem to happen spontaneously. But those elements can fade or change over time. I think we make the choice to let a deep and longstanding love grow between us and that other person, or to just enjoy each other's company until we burn it out, and then move on.
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I know I certainly did with husband. Oh yeah, the spark was there, but I had to make the choice to allow him into my emotional life if that makes sense. He had to make the same choice with me.

    For both of us (on the spectrum), physical intimacy could not happen until that choice had been made.

    Given my limited in real life experience, and my special issues, I don't really know if that is the norm for most people or not.

    I do know that "hooking up" was impossible for both of us because of the emotional trust issues.
  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I definitely think it's at least partly a choice. I think you can "fall in lust" without much choice but I think that to really love somebody it is partly a conscious choice. Part of it is probably unconscious (that may be what gets your attention in the first place) but I've always thought that a lot of it is a mind set of just being READY to "fall in love." There are times when you are just to busy, angry, sick, uninterested, etc. to fall in love with anybody and even if the perfect person presented himself to you then, I don't think you'd take the time to fall in love. Real love takes time and work and it does take a conscious decision on your part to follow through on a promising beginning.
  5. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I don't know, I cant remember...
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I think sparks happen. I wasn't expecting a "thunderbolt" but it happened. You need that part until the foundation gets firmed up.
    Love and marriage are two different things from my point of view. Entwined completely but different.
    The best I could counsel my boys was you need the attraction and the romance but you also have to look at the practical. Is this a person who will contribute to the family unit? Will they be a compatible life mate? Is this the person who you would pick to be your children's mother? Does she make you laugh or at the very least finds you funny.
    Love seems to change how it looks as the relationship changes and the needs change.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    And, as people grow and change, the commitment takes WORK to maintain. I think some people think that once the bomb drops and they are star struck, the rest of the stuff will work itself out.

    It doesn't work that way. Having a good, open, partnership requires compromise and work of both parties involved.
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    GN, that is the truth for us too. We need different things at different chapters in our married life so we are always resetting our compass.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have always felt that there are people out there that I was meant to fall in love with. It didnt much matter if they were male or female. I think that might be more what your question is asking. Personally I dont think we are hardwired to only love one gender. I know that is controversial. I think there is probably ONE person out there of the same sex that anyone would love. You just might never meet them. Thats perfectly ok.

    The thing is that when you find a person you are going to fall in love with, you also have to fall in like with too. Love goes through a whole lot of changes and if you dont also like a person it simply wont withstand the test of time.

    I dont think we can help how we feel, but we can help if we act on how we feel.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Funny, 3S! I feel that way, too.

    There are some interesting ideas and food for thought here. I agree that commitment to marriage and being in love are not synonomous. Also, I think as we get older we love on a different level- maybe that's just our priorities changing and compatibility being based on different things. For instance, the fireworks that come with all those firsts aren't there, but other things are there instead.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    You snuck in on me, Janet. I'm not in any situation at the moment- I was asking because this was mentioned on tv the other night and at first I thought one thing, then I re-thought it and was curious to see what others' opinions are.

    I definitely think there is truth in this and it applies to all areas, not just love. I've had several conversations with difficult child about this.
  12. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with what was already said. My first response to what you wrote was "no" -- but we have the choice to keep our committment to it. Without work it dies because the physical component alone usually fades. I fell in love with husband and didn't actively choose that. BUT, I made a committment to him and choose daily to honor it. Unless of course he reallly pisses me off then all bets are off lol. J/K.
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I think for me and with my issues as well, I chose to let the wall down with husband and found after that I actually could fall in love.

    Prior to that I had many relationships, but they were BiPolar (BP)/PTSD relationships, most of you will get it and some of you have lived it.
    They were desperate, needy, hurtful most times ugly and not very loving.

    Jeff was the first person I let in and then got to know, I did it all backwards. But, at that point in my life I felt I was either not going to be in a relationship at all or it had to have something more.
    We also spent the first year traveling to see each other- he had to leave for 3 months and then we came back together to see if there was still something there.

    I think I chose to let love into my life. I think I had to let trust in as well. But I also would not have bothered if I didn't know in my heart that he wasn't worth the effort.

    I still feel this way every part of me.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Well I guess if you think about it that way, maybe you could say that about an arranged marriage or even somewhat the way Tony and I got together.

    I basically saw him at an amusement park and decided to go home with him and never leave. Did I know I would love him? Probably not but I figured he would be good to me. How, who knows. Probably just jumped without thinking beforehand and it worked out. A one in a million chance.
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think by nature we are 'drawn' to people we are comfortable with...that have aspects of either all our past relationships collectively OR their personalities are in line with those around us growing up. I can see a little bit of each of my boyfriends from earlier in my life in H every once in a while. Not the whole persons, but bits from each.

    After you find yourself interested in a particular person, I think chemistry/attraction comes into play and then a choice to take the relationship a step further.

    Also, I agree with GN said about how the relationship changes over time, sometimes with the addition of chilren or lackthereof, sometimes due to health issues or job changes. At those points, I think there is more choice involved, because as we all know any one of those events could cause a real shift in a relationship and it needs special attention. In comes the opportunity for choice.
  16. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I believe that beyond the initial basic animal attraction to potential spouses, or even a new best friend, we do choose who we love. We may have Potential to love someone but choose otherwise. Sometimes we know that we could love a person but opt to not let ourselves and to move on, or to block our feelings from growing. For various reasons I guess.
    I also think that to begin to truly love someone, we have by that point accepted that we are willing to take that leap, that risk that comes with emeshing our hearts with someone else. Knowing they can hurt us, those that we don't care much about can't hurt us much. But those we can love? They are given that power to hurt us by virtue of us caring enough to love them.
    I also think that in some circumstances, we can turn our love completely off. Which lends credence to choosing to turn it on to begin with. I remember I fought for my relationship to work with easy child's father. I wanted it so badly to work and I remember loving him very deeply and it was probably the one time that I worked to save a relationship until the very second it ended. Then suddenly one day, I chose. I chose to stop the fruitless fight and without any thought really, told him it was over. I was shocked that I really right away realized I had let myself stop being in love with him. Just like that. I couldn't remain invested any longer, so I just suddenly wasn't. I still remember it was so weird.
    Interesting thread!!!
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I believe that there is that initial attraction but it has to be followed by a choice. Also I don't believe that we are destined to love only one person. For instance, I love husband, that's no contest, even when he drives me nuts, but if it weren't for him and my friend H, I'd probably end up with my BFF. Love him, too. It's very different though, and at the same time it still falls into this category.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Yes, I do think we make the choice. Over and over again. There's the attraction at the first, but really loving someone goes on forever, and it involves choosing to love them both because of and in spite of all of their idiosyncrasies.
  19. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I met my husband after my divorce from a really horribly abusive marriage. I had returned to my hometown and had already had a child, and while I wasn't looking for a mate, he showed up. I had no intentions of entering a long term relationship---he was looking for a mate, but had not found the one he wanted to be with. We ended up together. The first time I saw him, I knew. I can't explain it, but I knew I would be with him for the rest of my life. It has not been easy. There have been moments I wanted to run...he is a good man, underneath all the issues, and every time I look at him my stomach I choose to love him, I choose to be with him. Over and over I have made that choice, so yes, it is a choice. I could choose to leave. Luckily, I am not stuck in the marriage. If I chose to leave, I could without any major problems. It has not been easy to stay...even if on the outside we are a strikingly handsome couple...we look like we belong together...but real life is much tougher...and it is a choice to stay and work to be together. I do not regret one single moment of our life togther.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  20. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    My Great-Grandmother had a saying..."Love falls where it falls, even if it's on a cow patty".

    I don't think we have control over the initial spark, that sudden attraction to someone, that hitch in our heart-beat. However, we do have a choice on whether we respond to it or not. When we are really young and stupid, we don't realize that there is a choice. (my ex and I are a good example)

    The first time I saw husband, there was a very strong connection. I knew at that moment that this could be the ONE. However, since it was the second time for both of us and we each had our own kids to protect, our first date was a five hour long interview. We made a choice to follow through from that initial spark.

    Over time, especially with difficult children and the mother in law from heck, we've had to make the choice to recommit to our love over and over. Life can tear apart any relationship. It's the daily choice of staying together and being in love that counts. And it has come down to us telling each other "I'm too stubborn to let this thing between us die. Whatever it takes, let's work on us." And our love grows stronger....even with husband being 3,000 miles away...forever. Okay, not forever, but they (the company) are talking about extending these guys out until summer???

    When your relationship at the moment consists of 1 hour of phone time a day...It's a an actual decision to stay in love with the person.