Here is another excerpt, taken from the end of a reflection on the relation between patience and love, which began with some reflections upon the meaning of the well-worn line that "love is patient." Hopefully, it's clear enough that this discussion isn't primarily about, as it were, "feelings" (or that way of talking about love, though the development of this sort of love may indeed lead to a change in one's feelings toward another person). I don't know to what extent this manages to avoid lapses into wishful thinking or sentimentality...so comments welcome. UPDATE: it may help to look at the second of the comments to this post, in which I supply some further (rough) paragraphs that immediately precede the line of thought here in the post.
...To grow in patience for this colleague [who we deeply dislike, but will have to work with closely for a long time] might be understood as the movement away from the attitude that I am “stuck” with this person toward the attitude that I am here with this person and must share a significant part of my life with him (or her). When we are stuck with another person—when that is our primary orientation to the relationship—there will always be, at least in the back of our minds, the question of getting out, and so our attention, and thus our patience, will remain divided—or as above, conditional. Sartre’s, “Hell is other people,” captures the spirit of this attitude although he wants to stress, of course, that ultimately there is “No exit.” We are stuck. But it is one thing to remind us that we are social beings—that our lives are lives with others—and quite another thing to frame that point in terms of our being stuck, because that image practically begs for the interpretation that, since the ideal would be to get unstuck but we cannot do that, we can only “make the best of it.” Perhaps this is, in large part, due to Sartre’s view that love is an “impossible project” which contains “the seed of its own destruction,” because it desires both to possess and to know the other (the beloved), which are contradictory aims (because the first involves objectifying the other, while the second requires regarding the other as a subject who is independent of my will).
One way of avoiding (or escaping) Sartre’s hell is to envision love, as Weil suggests, as unpossessive, unimposing: “To love purely is to consent to distance, it is to adore the distance between ourselves and that which we love.” Love, thus conceived, is not an attempt to possess the other, or to impose one’s will upon the other. Caring with love for another is not a matter of imposing one’s will; rather, it is the enactment of patient attention toward the other. Through the eyes of loving patience, we see our relationships with others who enter, by choice or chance, into our lives as part of the fabric of our own lives. To be at home with ourselves thus requires us to find a way to be at home with the others who are part of our lives. This is not to deny that we may begin with the thought that we are “stuck” with the other person—whether this is because we find ourselves the lone survivors of a shipwreck, stranded on a desert island, or because we have started a family together, and cannot take as a serious option the possibility of divorcing or otherwise leaving the other person. In such cases, patience may begin as patience with the situation, as “making the best of it” (viz. enduring the other person), but if the best outcome is the one in which we come to find ourselves fully at home with the other person, then it seems we can only attain the best outcome if we can learn to love the other person. That is, if we think that we are “making the best of it” while refusing any attempt to learn (patiently) to love the other person, then there is a sense in which we are not truly making the best of it.
Learning to love the other thus presents itself as the ideal toward which we can (and perhaps ought to) strive, in our relationships with others. Progress toward this ideal is made by way of patience—not merely as endurance and fortitude, tolerance of the other’s disagreeable traits, but as attention to who this person is, and what has made this person that way. Such loving attention is prior to, and makes possible, effective loving action, since effective action requires knowledge of the other. An obvious obstacle to such attention is egoism, self-absorption, which seeks to impose its own will on the other, its own vision of how or what the other person should be. Genuine attention to the actual other militates against this imposition of oneself, and enables one to recognize, and accept, that since the other person is a separate reality, there is no guarantee that one’s own efforts at loving attention and care will bring about positive changes in the one we love. The ideal of “unconditional love” does not even depend upon the expectation of such changes, and we have not only the examples of parents who lovingly care for their afflicted children and grown children who lovingly care for their declining parents (afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimer’s), but also the examples of saintly people, like the nun Raimond Gaita describes in A Common Humanity, who visited and treated with a pure and non-condescending love the most afflicted and abandoned patients at the psychiatric hospital he worked at as a teen. Such examples, and others, show that love is capable of spanning what otherwise seems like vast and unbridgeable distances and that, as Gaita stresses, love can illuminate the humanity of an individual in ways that philosophical concepts and theories cannot. That was the effect of the nun’s loving attention to the patients upon him. For similar reasons, Iris Murdoch suggests that the basic reason why love—and the patient attention that characterizes it—is a virtue is because love has the power to attune us to reality, to disclose truth to us. In impatience, we fall short of perfect love, or simply refuse to love, and in doing so, we turn away from the reality of others (and of whatever else in the world can be loved) and retreat into ourselves and the imaginary world of our own wishes or fantasies or consolations...
 Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace (London: Routledge, 2002 ), p. 65.
 Cf. Christopher Cowley, "Learning to Love," Philosophical Topics 38.1 (2010). [Cowley discusses not learning to love another person, but rather learning to love a situation of permanent adversity.]
 See Murdoch's The Sovereignty of Good (London: Routledge, 2001 ).