The way I see it, being 'in love' is a trance... It's what we experience in the beggining of a relationship, when you are getting to know the person and feeling you can't get enough of him/her.
Loving someone is deeper, for even when being 'in love' stops, love can continue to be there. That's the difference with a couple who met a week ago saying "SHE/HE IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE" and a couple that is together for 40 years saying "I love you".
The first ones are in love, they don't even know the other person, not even a bit. On the second case, they know each other a lot, and still hold that feeling of care and desire towards each other.
>>16797234 I would call what you described first an infatuation, and it's really easy to mistake for love because the feeling is so intense, especially when you're young and are new to these kinds of emotions.
"I love you" is more advanced. Definitely a milestone for a relationship. I view it as caring about the other person unconditionally. You're past the butterflies, but now it's a deeper, intrinsic feeling. Like, if he/she gets sad, you don't just feel bad for them, you feel just as sad too, even if it's directly unrelated.
"In love" I would consider when you take that a step further and you've accepted them for all their flaws. No one is perfect and you'll have lots of shitty fights with everyone you come to have a relationship with, especially with bigger issues like living together and finances. Once you get past that stage, if you still love each other, it's safe to say you're in love.
Again, just my take.
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