I have written about this about three years ago, but I was not able to finish writing all my thoughts before they faded. Last night, a simple conversation with a close friend (for privacy purposes, let us call him Patrick Gattoc [note: this is his real name by the way]), I was able to remember this unfinished piece and decided to work on it again.
It started when I had a dream about my father, and I remembered that I wasn’t able to personally tell him that I love him before he left for his eternal slumber. And I realized that as soon as possible, I should tell everyone special in my life that I love them. But one problem: these days, people’s minds are clouded with certain misconception about saying “I love you.”
Whenever they hear you say “I love you,” what automatically registers to their clouded mind is the “romantic love affair.” The real meaning of love has been totally scratched. Telling someone you love them doesn’t always mean that you are romantically attached to them. It simply means that you share that deep sentimental bond of affection for them and that you care for them because you view them as someone special. Someone who brought significant positive changes in your life, changed your dark perspective into a lighter shade, and so on.
What they fail to realize is that you can actually say “I love you” to basically everyone you deem special—your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, cousins, family, friend and even to your pets (parrot, your dog, your cat, your turtle, and even to your pet pig). That is love; it is not confined within the walls that define two people being sweethearts. There is no limit as to how many people you can say “I love you” to. You can love a lot of people at the same time.
Being in love with another person, however, is different. When you are in love with someone, you are romantically attached to them. This is where romance comes in. And unlike loving someone, you can only be truly in love with one person at a time. People argue that they can and are or have been in love with two people at the same time. I say no to that. If you are really in love with a person, there is no need for another. Being in love with two people at the same time makes you an infidel.
Also, you love your mother, but it is wrong to be in love with her. However, it is great to love and be in love with your wife. Yes, there is no limit to loving somebody, but there is a limit to being in love with somebody. Then, what defines these restrictions to being in love with somebody? A lot, actually. Norms, taboos, social conventions—again, a lot. And should we follow them? Well, I don’t know. I would say no to being in love with you mother, father, brother, sister, or any family members, but the rest is actually up to you, personally. I think I have deviated from my main point.
Anyway, my point is, you can love a person and not be in love with him or her; but you cannot be in love with a person without loving him or her. Loving someone and being in love with a person are two different things and are not interchangeable.
So when somebody tells you he or she loves you, do not jump into conclusions that they want to be romantically attached to you. They are just letting you know that you are valued and have a special part in their lives.