Loving someone should never be mixed up with being with someone.
This is one of my statuses on a social media account. I wrote it after a lengthy conversation with my best friend, and some thoughts I had about the topic. And some weird experiences.
I understand that love is a complicated matter. Human has been trying to explain love in many different ways, and yet, most of the times we are still clueless.
One of the simplest ways to understand about love is through Sternberg's triangle of love. Sternberg stated that love is made out of three components: passion, intimacy, and commitment. A true loving relationship should have all three of them, in almost equal amounts.
I know from experience, that having all three components together is a far fetch illusion. I had some great intimate relationships, without passion and commitment. I had passionate relationships, with little intimacy, and no commitment. I also had intimate, committed relationship, with no passion. The weirdest one is when I was involved with someone who was passionate and we did have some sort of commitment, with no intimacy whatsoever.
The Javanese have this nice proverb about love: Witing tresno jalaran soko kulino, or love forms out of habits. As a person who repeatedly fell in love with (male) friends, I completely agree with this statement. You have to know someone in order to love them. I don't believe love at first sight, but I do know of lust at first sight.
But, is it ethical to fall in love with a friend? As a repeat offender, I'd say this: you can't choose when it comes to love. It's a bitter but honest assessment of how I've loved throughout my sinful early adulthood. I have to say, though, I have loved out of loneliness, and out of pity (self-pity, to be precise), and they were the saddest times of my life. I even felt ashamed to admit that I did know it was sad at that time, but I also knew I needed those bits of attention and romance to ease the unbearable empty space inside of me.
So yes, for a brief period of time in my life, I have been with someone I didn't love. And I have loved someone I couldn't be with. For everyone that I've been with and not loved, I offer my deepest apology if you ever thought that I did love you. I didn't, and I'm sorry. And for those I've loved (and for a few, still love to this day), I thank you. You taught me how to love fully and truthfully, without expecting something in return. But you know what, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Unrequited love sucks, every single one of them.
One thing I've learned, you have to make sure that you love for all the right reasons. You should never love someone just to fill the spaces inside your hollowed life. You should filled your life, be happy with it, and only then you could love someone completely. First and foremost you must love yourself, and the life that you chose, so that you can start honestly loving others. Like a good doctor who's aware of his own health and practice the healthy habits himself, we should all try to love ourselves a little bit better, before loving someone else.
Picture was borrowed from here.