Need help navigating a new relationship or figuring out a long-term one? Check out this excerpt from Annette R. Johnson’s What’s Your Motivation?: Identifying and Understanding What Drives You:

Have you ever discovered you loved something you didn’t like? It happens in relationships sometimes when we fall in love with a person and then get to really know that individual, only to discover that you don’t care for the person’s ways, attitude or outlook.

When we fall in love with something, we value it in on deep emotional level and a superficial mental level. The opposite is true for liking something. We actually value it on a deep mental level and a superficial emotional level.

Here’s an example using tanning where someone loves it, but doesn’t like it:

LOVE IT                                                    DON’T LIKE IT

Deep Emotional                                      Superficial Mental:

“Love how I look ”                                   “Dislike sunburn”

“Love the compliments”                         “Dislike time required”

Here’s an example using tanning where someone likes it, but doesn’t love it:

LIKE IT                                                      DON’T LOVE IT

Deep Mental:                                             Superficial l Emotional:

“Like the Vitamin D from the sun”       “Don’t want peeling”

“Like commitment required”                  “Don’t want off-coloring” (red, etc.)

People in general tend to be more committed to something they like than they love because love is based on ever-changing, sometimes baseless emotions. Like, on the other hand, is based on tangible, necessary benefits. In other words, we like something that is good for us (makes our lives better) and love something that is good to us (makes us feel good). For instance, some people don’t like certain foods, but they eat them to stay healthy or to cure a certain ailment. Similarly, some people would prefer to smoke cigarettes, but they stop smoking to avoid or curb the effects of cancer.

Suppose we could get something we like as much as we love or vice versa? This is entirely possible in relationships, but most of us are too impatient, idealistic or desperate for this to occur. When our motivation is to “be loved” or “give love,” we may end up with someone we love or who loves us, but we don’t really like or respect. When our motivation is to find someone who complements us (a person just like me) or benefits us materially or mentally (a person to improve me), we may end up with someone we enjoy, respect or admire, but we don’t feel deep passion for or maybe even attraction to that individual. We may only stay with that person out of a sense of obligation and/or commitment. We may end up staying with the person we love but don’t like due to a fear of being alone or being unloved.

To have a lasting relationship, the goal is to wait on someone you both like and love. Your motivation should be to find the person whom you adore, desire, respect, admire, and enjoy. Make sure the person feels the same way about you so that you have mutual adoration and respect. This is the best combination for success!

Annette R. Johnson is the author of What’s Your Motivation?: Identifying and Understanding What Drives You (2nd Ed.). The book is available for $14.95. Visit her at or whatmotivation on Twitter and Facebook.