Puppy Love Versus True Love

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“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly” (Sam Keen)

I am in graduate school earning a second Masters Degree in Teaching and I have to gain experience as a teacher before I can graduate. I spend part of my work week in a classroom teaching a middle school science class.  Middle school students who are ages eleven to thirteen vary tremendously in their levels of maturity. It has been said that middle school students are interested in absolutely everything … for half an hour. Other than the first three years of life, this is the grade span in which youngsters are most transformed. They enter middle school as children and leave as young adults. As you can imagine, the students in the class keep me on my toes and I have learned a lot about patience and staying “woke” around them.

There are two students in particular, that I have to separate each time I start class:  they are in a relationship and if I did not separate them all they would do is stare at each other throughout the class time.  At this age (they are thirteen) their attraction is usually termed “Puppy Love”.

Puppy Love (infatuation) is the first kind of romantic love we feel typically as teenagers. It’s part of the experience of maturing and the feelings that are commonly felt are very intense feelings of desire, passion, and excitement.  When we experience this thing called “Puppy Love”  as teenagers, NO ONE can tell us that we are not in love.

This thing called ‘Puppy Love” can be experienced later in life as well: Puppy Love can happen when two adults are newly dating and mistake what they are feeling for “True Love”. They do not know much about each other and things can happen: they can move too fast (because of intense feelings) without being in the relationship long enough (at least a year). In other words, it starts and ends quickly with both parties feeling disappointed when it abruptly ends.

Too many people base how they believe relationships should be on the “Puppy Love” feeling. Once it is over they think the relationship just wasn’t meant to be. All it means is that in life we never stop growing or learning about each other. The key to healthy and long-lasting relationships is finding that person that you feel comfortable being your COMPLETE self with and that you can grow with.

What is “True Love”?

“True Love” is not a feeling, because feelings change, feeling’s come and go. “True Love” is a conscious, thoughtful decision and commitment. It means that you decide to love someone and you stick by it. Love grows over time. ‘True Love” takes time to develop and grow and does not happen overnight, nor does it grow over two weeks or two months.

Some characteristics of “True Love” are the following:

• Your partner is your best friend
• You are both able to forgive one another
• You make time for one another to spend together
• You each have hobbies and interests of your own, as well as hobbies you enjoy doing as a couple
• You are able to resolve and talk through differences constructively
• You encourage and support each other with everything you do
• You are free to pursue your own dreams and goals in this relationship
• You always treat each other with respect

Of course, you can still have those “Puppy Love”  feelings even if you have been with someone for 30 years. I believe your mate should always be able to give you that “New Love” feeling.

The difference with ‘True Love” is that it is not all roses and takes real work to last:  When things are rough that is when a couple truly sees how strong and deep their love for one another is.

So when I look at my two students and see their “Puppy Love” stage, in my heart I hope that as they mature they will experience “True Love” one day.

As always, I am just KeepingIt100…

– Stephanie



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