Through my teens and into my college years, I refused to love as in "being in love" despite wishing to be such. I knew that once I fell in love I would never be able to fall out of it. It wasn't that I was drawn to evil women, or that I enjoyed being hurt; I wasn't afraid of who I'd find. It was that I wanted to be able to have a rational choice as well as an emotional and, well, physical, choice to go along with it. Some of this is from being an INFJ on the Myers Briggs personality scale. I'm an introvert, I am emotional, and I tend to use intuition as my guide posts. The woman who I became best friends with is not an INFJ. She is logical and an extrovert. She uses her intellect and rational mind to make her decisions. And while this sounds like a recipe for disaster, and it can be harrowing, there is a way to view it... and understand it, by using Star Trek for the templates.
I am a Klingon poet warrior. I am a large being, 6'4", I am passionate about my beliefs, I have made stands about things I believe in. I have, in fact, been aggrieved by others for my choices. I write poetry, from my heart, and refuse to let others be my voice. I have no issues with self esteem because I am aware that people have their own, and often, false standards for judgment.
My wife is a Vulcan science officer. She is beautiful but seems distant, has a difficulty interpreting emotions of others, but is very bright, her logic is often without flaw, and she loves problem solving. She hates mysteries, not because they are difficult, but because she wants to know the answer to everything right now. She is also not worried about being held in esteem by others, because she is too busy enjoying life's mysteries.
Neither of us have figured out the other yet. Sometimes that is delicious. Other times that is a horror story. We do, however, try to talk about everything so that we are understood between us, and we try to understand the situation from the other's point of view. It isn't easy, it isn't always fun, and our differences can be divisive. But our difference can also be complimentary, and bring our strengths to bear directly upon problems. When my son was growing up he had two parents with completely different skills using those skills to help him navigate through his education. For reasons I won't get into here, he needed both of us, and he needed a lot of our support. I look back and thank God for his grace and mercy for how well things turned out, because it could have gone much differently.
I fell in love with my best friend. She took longer to convince, but, I've been in love with her and have acknowledged it, since July of 1985. At this writing that makes it 30 years of me loving her. I am by no means perfect, and I admit that I've fallen, failed, and have enormous flaws that have hurt us both. But I believe I've also been a good husband. Sometimes things happen in life that are destined to happen, sometimes things are coincidence, and sometimes you seem to make things happen by your choices. At some point I decided that I was going to love my wife Beth. And despite things both of us have done, I've not quit loving her, ever. I think the vast difference in who we are, and who we were prior to marriage via families, countries of origin, culture, class, and more, were all bound to interfere with a perfect love. But in retrospect, they gave us tools for reflection, and informed choices for the future.
Love is a complicated thing, but when you do understand it more than lust, more than comfort or like, it is beyond wonderful.