I was watching Outlander this week, and the hero said to the "virgin" he'd just schtupped, "No, this isn't love. It's something else. Something you could get from any other man." Then he went on to say what he thought love was, and it got me to thinking. I've heard my whole life that romantic love, and the "other" kind of love were stages of a relationship, but now I don't believe that trope. I agree with Diana Gabaldon. They're two different things, and if you're lucky, you'll achieve them with the same partner, but one is easier to find then the other.
For a reason. One is found. One is built.
Romantic love is a mixture of timing, pheromones, grooming, and genetic and geographical lottery. Throw in a whole bunch of projecting attributes that your partner may or may not truly possess, and boom. It can be euphoric...if you're lucky. Short lived, if you're not. Don't get me wrong. I'm a romance writer. Romantic love is where I live and breathe daily. I love it. MGM Musicals flow in my veins. My heart beats to Judy in The Pirate singing Mack the Black https://youtu.be/cAP7e6ObI7c. It feels good, like a drug that's good for you, and there's no hangover but ecstasy. But like Judy after her last, long note singing Macoco, eventually, we all need to breathe.
That breathing is the other kind of love. The kind of love that is built.
It's regular, old, boring to all others but the couple. A daily-grind kind of love, spiced with "romance." It requires thought, integrity, and valuing another for the totality of their strengths and flaws. It requires events and opinions to grow, and a daily acceptance, maybe even a surrender to it. It's why people say marriage is hard, when what is really hard is the self-discipline required not to fuck this relationship up by being a douche. But people do it, keep it, suppress their inner douche because it's worth it.
"Boring" love is like compound interest in a 401k. It may not be flashy, but it lasts and grows, and feeds you until your dying day.