Phrases I don't understand, Part 1
Here’s a distinction that gets lost on me: "love" versus "in love." I know the rest of this conversation will be wasted pondering the realities of what is essentially a bullshit Break-up Line. Nevertheless. It seems that Other People place “in love” above “love” on the Positive Emotional Hierarchy. "It’s not that I don’t love you, baby*…it’s that I’m not in love with you." See, if it was me, I would do the opposite. Flip them. I’d put "love" above "in love." The Positive Emotional Hierarchy should look something like: like | crush | in love | love. Hmm. There should probably be some other stages in there, don't you think? Hey, I’m not exactly Emile Durkheim here, what do you want from me?
* "Don’t 'Hey, baby' me, you Machiavellian jerk!"
It is my proposition that "in love" is in fact the more candy-ass variant of the general love phenomenon. When you say you're "in love" you're implying your affection is for something other than the girl. The situation, perhaps? "Isn't this a lovely situation, to be dating this girl!" Or perhaps it's for only a personal caricature you've constructed of the person in your mind's eye, only partially based on her as she really is. I'm not saying you won't have a gay ole time when you're "in love" with someone. But it's only once you graduate to loving them that you achieve true nirvana.
Think of it this way. My parents always told me that the more names there are in your title, the less prestigious it is. So Manager > Regional Manager > Assistant Regional Manager > Assistant to the Regional Manager. And so forth. This rule isn't always true: Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces is a rather boss title, though also a verbose one. Nevertheless, if (despite the exceptions) we accept the rule as true, then "love" is superior to "in love." Just as "in love" is superior to "sorta in love," and "sorta in love" is superior to "I think I'm in love." And so forth.
Anyway, the next time I break up with a girl, it won't be because I'm not in love with her, but rather because I just don't love her. Baby.