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Does love have an expiration date?

Love can be defined by a person's experiences. It's an action. It's a choice. It's a daily decision. But more than anything, love is a process. It's a journey that has a finite starting point. Some people can pinpoint the moment they knew they loved their significant other. Love starts as a feeling - a series of signs - if you will. As it grows through your decisions, it gains momentum. That love is manifested through a relationship and monogamy. So if love has a specific starting point, is it logical that it has an end point as well?

Romantic love is based upon many factors. Loving someone enough to commit yourself to him/her is a combination of attraction, chemistry, shared ideologies, and timing. You have conversations with that person and your liking them transforms into the deeper levels. It begins to become second nature to put his/her needs before yours. It becomes instinctive to want the best for him/her and make sure that with you, they aren't lacking in the areas that means the most to them. However he/she expects you to show your love evolves from something you had to learn to an action as natural as riding a bike. Romantic love, in its most genuine form, implicates that you willingly are tied to them on a level that only the two of you experience.

For a long time, I believed that love does have an expiration date. If you love someone within the confines a committed relationship, then that love is attached to that relationship. So when the union fails, your hearts go through this slow disconnection. I sat on this ideology for a few weeks ago and realized that what truly expires is the desire to love that person.

Because love is a choice, it's subject to change. But it's never an abrupt change. You don't just wake up one day and say to a person you've shared your heart and body with, "I don't love you anymore." It's not about what the person did or didn't do. It's not even that you want to love someone else. Even though those are the words that typically come out of our mouths, the truth is we have decided that we're choosing to no longer do the repetitive actions that loving that person requires.

The desire to love your significant other is a responsibility that's contingent upon how strong your heart is. The fallacy of love is that it somehow makes relationships perfect. Sorry to break it to you, but POTUS and FLOTUS aren't perfect. Beyonce and Jay Z aren't perfect. Your parents' love isn't perfect. But what props those relationships up in times of weakness is they decide at the same time that they'll work hard to continue to desire one another. They know that the other is giving them the love they need in the manner that they need it. When you desire to love someone, you acknowledge that out of all the people you could be with, you choose him/her 10 times out of 10. One of the most important decisions a person can make as it relates to love is never stop desiring that person in the way they first knew it was love.

When you look back at the relationships that were of significance, you have to be able to figure out how you arrived at knowing you loved that person. Then you have to recount why and at what point did the relationship end. Within those two points, you'll be able to clearly know when the desire to maintain that love dropped off. Saying "it wasn't meant to be" is often a cop out. "Forever" is a long time when you know your heart is no longer present.