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ROMANTIC LOVE. Totally elusive, yet completely rewarding – it is what all of us want. To find it at least once in our lifetime is an unparalleled gift and not a few of us in this world would give up a lot to bask in its glory, even for just a fleeting moment. I believe that to get to the ULTIMATE POINT of TRUE LOVE, one’s feelings must go through these stages:

5. ATTRACTION/CONNECTION – That physical attraction and emotional connection becomes the very foundation of any romantic relationship. You WANT to be with that person and want to get to know them.

4. ADMIRATION – This next stage (which almost instantaneously follows attraction) is where in that person we see the qualities of a partner that we look for along with the possible fulfilment of all our dreams, aspirations, wishes, and desires that come with the person we want to spend the rest of our life with.

3. TRUST – At this point, the relationship with the other person is at a level which brings a certain degree of comfort and satisfaction. This comes mostly from a COMMITMENT to each other to be together (which is altogether different from actually STAYING together after all the ups and downs).

2. RESPECT/HONOUR – It is a rare instance when this is given and here, feelings are much elevated to where, after a period of time, trust is EARNED. Love, true love, cannot be present without high esteem for the other person.

1. LOVE – The feeling is powerful. It is PROFOUND ABANDON. Almost selflessly, you give expecting almost nothing in return. Your emotions are at its zenith and inside, you are drowning in a tidal wave of happiness and bliss. It is that moment when you look out into your future and see yourself with the other person. You want to spend your every waking moment and even your last breath with that very special someone. You feel ALIVE. Like Barbra Streisand said in The Mirror Has Two Faces: “When you are in love, you hear Puccini playing in the background”.

It may not happen the same way in all cases – some fall in love right away; some are more practical and believe they will just teach themselves and “learn” how to fall in love over time. But, I believe the love that goes through these stages is the kind that is genuine and would most likely last. They say that love is a DECISION. This is true however, to a certain point – a decision that is purely intellectualized and not felt is far from what will make us truly happy. And, if I am not happy with the other person and with myself when I am with that person, I wouldn’t call it LOVE. It would simply be an ILLUSION.

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