August 14, 2018

Am I In Love Or Am I In Love With the Idea Of Being In Love? – 16 Must-Know Insights To Differentiate Between the Two

Am I In Love Or Am I In Love With the Idea Of Being In Love
# 1. Ask yourself the below 8 questions
Kristen-Brown

Back in the day, I would never have recognized or admitted that I was more in love with the dream of a man rather than truly being in love with him.

My neediness (lack of self-love) would keep me in relationships even though I was not fulfilled or treated the way I desired. What I perceived as love on my part was only my needy void screaming for attention.

At the time, I couldn’t see what was happening because I was too busy

(a.) making excuses for his words and actions

(b.) taking the BS he dished out without throwing boundaries down and

(c.) worrying about him liking me rather than deciding if I liked him!

If you find that you fit into any one of the above categories, chances are you may be more in love with the dream of the man rather than in love with the man himself. 

Lack of self-love will always attempt to find love outside of self at the expense of self.

This type of dynamic most often results in non-reciprocal relationships laden with fear and pain.

We cannot change our defeating patterns if we are not aware of them. Radical self-honesty through exploration of your motives can and WILL move you through this cyclical pattern. Lack of self-love got you into those places and hardcore self-honesty (an aspect of self-love) will get you out!

Let’s look a little deeper…

1. Are you continuing to date him even though he has already demonstrated disrespectful or lack-of-priority behavior?

2. Are you living in the “if we can just get past this part everything will be fine” dream?

3. Do you often daydream about the wedding, the white picket fence, the kids, the baseball games and the family dinners rather than being conscious of his “half-in” behavior?

4. Are you ignoring the truth of what he is doing or saying and replacing them with something that feels better? For example: “I’m only interested in a casual relationship”.

His interpretation: I do not want to be with you long-term, but you are fine to sleep with.

Your interpretation: He’s just afraid. He’ll see how wonderful I am and come around.

5. Do you observe yourself trying to change him in order to feel like you matter more?

6. Is he the one in charge of how much time you spend together, what your time together looks like and by what means you communicate (I.e.texting only)?

7. Do you find yourself altering your behavior in order to fit into the mold of who you think he wants you to be?

8. Do you feel insecure about the way he feels about you because his attention/affection/communication is lacking?

If you’ve answered Yes to one or more of these questions, there’s an excellent chance you are staying in something because you like the dream of the relationship rather than what the relationship truly is.

However, by admitting the truth of this pattern, you have already begun to alter your destiny!

Great job, sister! You’ve just taken the very first step to healing yourself and relinquishing this behavior from your life for good!

Kristen Brown, Author & Certified Empowerment Coach – www.sweetempowerment.com

# 2. Loving a person involves acceptance of differences and different needs and desires
Margie-Ulbrick

When we ‘fall in love’ we tend to go through the honeymoon stage of idealized love.

We see all the good and beautiful aspects of a person and they make efforts for us to see their positive side. Later down the track the differences emerge. But maybe we hang on to the original fantasy and split off from knowing and accepting the truth and reality, the whole of the situation.

We may rail against what we don’t like and pretend even that things are different from how they are

We still love the image, the fantasy, after all it’s pretty exciting and alluring, but we do not grow in love for the person who is human and flawed, has good and bad qualities, isn’t perfect and cannot fulfill all of our needs. So we may remain attached to the idea of being in love. We may enjoy the fantasy. But it’s not real love. It’s illusory.

Real love requires us to grow and change and to incorporate new information about our partner.

The idea of being in love may seem exciting and wonderful but unless we move past this fantasy and away from the idealized perfect version of our partner, our ‘love’ remains naïve and unsatisfying. We get stuck in developmental stages that leave us feeling stagnant and frustrated.

Loving a person involves acceptance of differences and different needs and desires.

It involves maturity and awareness and a willingness to let go of expectations that are unrealistic. It means that we are prepared to give love in ways that our partner wants to be loved not in the way we want. We have a capacity to see our loved one as unique and individual not as an extension of ourselves!

Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI – www.margieulbrickcounselling.com

# 3. When you’re in love with the idea of love, you’re looking for the high of infatuation
Karen-R.-Koenig

Although I’m 68, I clearly remember as a teenager asking my mother what love is.

Here’s what she told me, “Love is the feeling that you feel when you’re about to feel a feeling that you never felt before.”

On top of being a heck of a tongue-twister, her comment wasn’t all that useful to me. Maybe she didn’t know what love was or had never really thought about how to answer the question. Ever since asking her, I’ve been trying to understand love.

Knowing what love is helps you understand the difference between being romantically in love with another person and, as the saying goes, being in love with love.

When you love someone you want the best for him or her. You can name your beloved’s specific traits that are amazing and impress you. You value your differences as well as your similarities. Being in love with someone is like a steady flame that you can warm yourself by.

When you are in love with a person, that love continues beyond excitement and exists even when he or she upsets you or drives you crazy.

Being in love is another way of saying you are in a state of loving, which means that the caring, adoration, and fondness don’t stop when the excitement dies down, when familiarity and predictability replace the thrill of learning something new and unique about your beloved, or when the physical passion starts to wane. Being in love is about the person, not the high you’re getting from being in his or her presence.

When you’re in love with the idea of love, you’re looking for the high of infatuation.

Using the flame analogy above, you’re seeking heat and brightness which don’t last. People who are in love with love usually fall into that state easily, rapidly, and frequently. They often wear blinders to reality and overlook who a person really is. They’re more interested in how a person makes them feel than in the qualities of the person they are allegedly in love with. It’s the feeling they’re after, not the person.

I’m not saying that you can’t go all gaga when you’re in love. You can and I certainly have. You know you’re in love with love when you’re head is in the clouds. You know you’re in love with the person when your feet are on the ground.

Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com

# 4. Think about the 3 things listed below
Amanda-Harmon

Love is a powerful emotion.

It has created great literature and music and art. According to some in the medical field, it even mimics the effect of drugs in the brain. 

So, how then, do we know when we love someone or when we’re just in love with love?

1. One way to look at this is that love is not an emotion, but rather an action.

When someone is in a loving, healthy relationship they will not only feel love but be treated and treat others with love.

– Ask yourself, how do you show someone love?

– Are you respectful and being treated with respect?

– Are you thoughtful and being thought of?

Someone who is in love with someone else will go above and beyond to help them feel appreciated, respected and cared for. Someone who is in love with love will ignore the red flags of being treated poorly and focus on the feeling of love, as opposed to the reality that it’s a relationship that does not show love.

2. Another good question to ask yourself is what makes your partner special?

What are the things you love about them? If the items you can identify are generic or non-specific (they can cook, they come to parties with me, they like Netflix, and my cat!), chances are you are in love with the feeling of love, and not with your partner.

However, recognizing the things unique to the person you are with and even embracing and enjoying the quirks that make you crazy, are more indicative of being in love with someone.

3. Lastly, picture your life over the next 20 years.

Can you picture your life with that person? And can you picture your life without that person? Do you want a boyfriend or girlfriend? Or do you want to be that persons boyfriend or girlfriend?

There were many times I thought I was in love, and I often pictured being married. I imagined the proposal, the ring, the dress, etc. I realize now, it could have been any guy in the role of groom and it wouldn’t have made a difference because I was thinking about a wedding, not a marriage; I was in love with love, not with my boyfriends.

The only time I really loved another person, we were talking about our hypothetical wedding, and I remember telling him it didn’t really matter-and I meant it. We could have gotten married in t-shirts and converse at City Hall alone or in formal wear in front of everyone, and it wouldn’t have mattered.

What would have mattered was I would have been marrying him, making vows to him, for better or for worse, building a life with him, and that is after all the point of love, is it not?

It isn’t to feel elated, it isn’t chocolate and champagne, it’s doing the things you think you cannot for someone else with no expectations in return, and having them returned in the same selfless way.

Amanda Harmon, MSW, LCSW – www.aharmonlcsw.com

# 5. When you are in love with the idea of being in love, there is a sense of attachment that stems from what love should be and what the person should be
Lisa Bahar

Loving someone is an experience that combines the intuitive sense of calmness and consideration, you feel an affinity toward someone and enjoy the feeling of respect, consideration and admiration for them.

There is a quality to the experience that is based on “letting them be who they are” and loving them for who they are. There is no need or desire to change them or want them to change, perhaps some aspects of their personality, etc. you would prefer were different, nevertheless, you love them despite those things.

There is a considerate willingness between you and that person. It is a feeling you cannot deny within yourself. You know it.

When you are in love with the idea of being in love, there is a sense of attachment that stems from what love should be and what the person should be.

They may have a physicality that excites the lustful ideas of love and feels hypnotizing at times. There is a sense of obsession that tends to occur that brings upon an exhilaration at first, but the rush doesn’t sustain. It generally diminishes with tension and conflict to recreate that love idea.

These idealistic ideas create fear of losing the love, the perceived feeling is like you are now someone because they fulfill you and yet without them, you would be unfulfilled and lost.

Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT – www.lisabahar.com

# 6. Ask yourself the below 3 questions
Dr.-Kelly-Mothner

When we find ourselves swept up in a romance, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between genuine feelings of love for the person and clinging to the idea of being “in love”.

As hard as it can be to sort through this sometimes messy tangle of feelings, it is important to know the difference. When you can differentiate the two, it enables you to invest time, energy, and emotion into relationships that are based on love and not just the idea of love.

I have identified three key questions to ask yourself to help you figure out whether it’s love or the idea of being in love that is keeping you in your relationship.

1. Do you find yourself clinging to a relationship that is no longer bringing you happiness?

When our gut sense is telling us that something isn’t right, but we are holding onto a partner despite this deeper awareness, it’s time to step back and confront ourselves.

It will most likely become clear that it’s not the person you are holding on to, but the love or companionship that they give. The more you find yourself trying to convince yourself that you are in love, the more likely it is that love is what is missing in your relationship.

2. Are you depending on feeling loved to sustain your sense of self-worth and self-confidence?

When we are relying on someone’s love to boost our self esteem and self concept, we are in dangerous territory. It can make us highly vulnerable to being in relationships where it is not love that is fueling the connection, but emotional dependency.

In contrast, knowing that you are loving someone from a strong place, from the part of you that believes you are loveable even if you are not in this relationship, means you are loving from a place of desire and want instead of need and desperation.

3. Are you unable to be yourself in your relationship?

If you notice that you are one person when you are around friends and family, but a completely different person when you are with your partner, this is another red flag that rather than true love, it is the idea of love that is driving you in your relationship.

Being less yourself, constantly trying to please, or continuously attempting to become the person you feel you need to be instead of the person you want to be, are all indications that you are clinging to the idea of love. 

On the contrary, when you feel comfortable bringing your full self to a relationship — all of your wonderful qualities and your flaws too – that is when you know it is love that is at the core of your connection.

Dr. Kelly Mothner – www.drkellyhb.com

# 7. To truly love another is to wish and want for the other person all that would make them happy
Margie-Ahern

Once upon a time as little girls we were sold hard on the idea that there will come a prince, and he will sweep us off our feet, and it will end happily ever after.

It is built on the premise that a woman is not complete without a man (or woman) in her life.

And this person will “make” her happy and meet all her needs. I am not enough. Screech…this is the idea of being in love with the idea of love. We do not see the person we are with clearly but rather see the person as we need them to be. It is a fantasy.

An imagined ideal and this ideal person will rescue me, sweep me off my feet and meet all of my needs.

We place this person on a pedestal and we project our own inner positive qualities onto them. But the reality is a far cry from this castle of lies we have been fed.

This house of love is built without a foundation and with paper walls. It is only a matter of time before the negative projections overtake the positive.

So, I hear you asking, “what does it mean to genuinely love another?”

To truly love another is to wish and want for the other person all that would make them happy.

You wish them well, you wish them peace, you wish them calm and ease. And this wish is free of strings. 

You don’t need anything in return. You see the person as they are with their quirks, flaws and perfections. You don’t need to change them, fix them or shape them. You just accept them. You don’t need them to make you whole. You choose them.

There is room for both of you to experience your own full wing span and you derive joy in watching each other soar.

Margie Ahern, M.Ed. – www.gomindful.net

# 8. Ask yourself the below 3 questions
Margaret-Bell

Do you really love him or are you in love with the idea of being in love?

Being in love feels amazing, walking around on cloud nine. Everything is beautiful and wonderful. However, are you settling? Selling yourself short because you love the idea of being in love?

Asking yourself the following questions will give you some clarity on whether or not you are in love with him or the idea of being in love.

1. Do you accept him for who he is? Or do you try to change him and fit him into a mold? Are you trying to change him into your ideal man? Do you pick his clothes, tell him what to wear, what to say, where to go.

If you find yourself, trying to change your man, there is a chance you are in love with being in love. When you are truly in love, you accept the person for who they are, flaws and all.

2. Do you find yourself annoyed with the things he loves or says? 

This could be a red flag. Yes, couples have different interests , the key thing is do you respect the things he loves, even if you don’t. Does he love fantasy football but you hate football? Does he love and collect Star Wars figures but you can’t stand Star Wars?

It’s normal to have different interests.

When you are in love, you accept that each of you has different interests and hobbies. You try to understand and get involved in what the other person likes and at times accept that you just don’t have all of the same interests. 

Bottom line, you don’t have to like or love what your partner does, however you still respect him. If you are trying to change his hobbies and what he loves, chances are you are in love with being in love.

3. Do you respect him and his opinion? 

Or do you discount and discredit him? If you find yourself not listening or respecting him and his opinion, than you don’t love him, you are in love with being in love. Love is based on respect and trust. If you don’t respect him, there’s a problem.

When you are in a relationship, you aren’t going to love everything about the person, you are going to have disagreements, different interests and hobbies. However in a healthy relationship, the two of you trust and respect each other. Most importantly you accept each other for who you are, and aren’t trying to change each other.

If you don’t have this, chances are you are in love with being in love.

It’s time to delve deep, find out what kind of man you want, what kind of man you don’t want. And instead of settling and trying to change someone into that perfect man, going out there and finding him. The right man is out there for you, you don’t have to create him!

Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com

# 9. Watch out for the below signs
Dr.-Joanne-Wendt

What is the difference between loving someone and loving of idea of being in love?

Are you in love with him or the idea of being in love? Depending on how you act in the relationship will determine the answer to this question. Loving the idea about being in love is more about what the other person can do to bring you happiness.

Loving someone is about what you can do to make someone else happy.

Knowing which perspective you share will go a long way to determine the quality and kind of relationship you will have. Which one are you?

Loving the Idea of Being in Love Means:

– Needing someone in your life to make you feel worthy.
– Defining yourself by being with someone who loves you.
– Fantasizing about having Prince Charming come into your life and sweeping you off your feet.
– Your love interest will bring you happiness.
– Your love interest will solve all your problems.
– Your love interest will bring you peace and contentment.

Loving Someone Means:

– Sacrifice and commitment to always being there for them in good times and in bad times.
– Being selfless and generous in choosing how to make them feel loved, cherished and happy without expecting anything in return.
– Being a good listener and avoiding judgments.
– Wanting to be with them just because you do.
– Accepting them as they are without trying to change them.
– Being kind, compassionate and vulnerable with those you can trust.
– Laughing at their jokes when you don’t find them funny.
– Supporting their endeavors you may have no interest in.
– Committed to finding solutions to difficult issues rather than looking for an easy way out.
– Not needing constant reassurance of their love.
– Allowing them to have a life of their own that doesn’t include you.

Dr. Joanne Wendt – www.drjoannewendt.com

# 10. Ask yourself if you are using the idea of love to avoid grieving or living authentically
Sue-Markovitch

My dad died when I was 13 years old. Shortly after that, I started having fantasies about being in love. In them, the boy would come into my life and understand exactly what I was feeling. He would see my brokenness, wrap his arms around me, and completely erase my pain. I would be healed and rescued.

This fantasy became a compulsion.

Whenever I would feel pain and loss, I’d press start on the daydream and create a perfect love. I never had to grieve, I could get completely lost in the idea of him.

I believed the only way to be whole again was to find this, so I created an idol out of love and went after it like a drug.

However, because I was using the idea of love to avoid grieving or living authentically, I had to keep shooting up, hit after hit after hit. If I went without my drug, I felt that sinking feeling and would desperately find someone who could fill me for that moment.

This kind of brokenness could never attract real love, because there was no foundation of worth or wholeness.

But I didn’t know that. I only knew that I felt angry and frustrated at the men I had relationships with. Why couldn’t they fill this need for me? Why didn’t they ever live up to the fantasy?

I see now that I never really loved these men.

In fact, I was very judgmental and controlling, trying to get them to morph into the type of man that would live up to my idea of love and fill my need. Be my rescuer and healer, or deal with my wrath. 

Be right here with me, keeping that ocean of grief at bay, or deal with my waves of anger and fear. There was no friendship, no mutual respect. There was no unconditional love. There was radically conditional love. Keep my drug coming, or get the hell out.

I had idolized love, to the point that I couldn’t attract it.

What a giant cosmic screw. The thing I was sure would bring me the peace I so desperately craved, was the thing I was utterly incapable of co-creating. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to own or admit.

Hello. My name is Sue and I am addicted to the idea of love, and it kept me from experiencing real love for most of my life. But by grace alone, I’m finally recovering, and I’m finding myself in the process.

Sue Markovitch, Author and Life Coach in Westerville, Ohio – www.clearrockfitness.com

# 11. Can you appreciate the person in front of you for who he is, and not what you want him to be?
Robin-Ennis

I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. I wish my prince charming would come shining down, to hand me my ever so gleaming crown.

Starting at a young age, girls are exposed to verbal and nonverbal messages; if they hold on to hope, and don’t let go, they too can have their happily ever after with their Prince. 

Once you find your love, you will always be blissful. Trickling down from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, young girls become encompassed in the land of fantasy. They imagine their life as a fairytale, just waiting to cast the role of their prince. Girls begin to fall in love with the idea of being in love.

So, as girls mature into women, is it advantageous to have this idea of love?

With age comes wisdom. As we get older, realization starts to set in that our search for that Prince is a lot harder than imagined. However, deep down inside that hope is still there. Unconsciously women build off those same notions they had in childhood. 

For example, a woman is in a relationship with someone she doesn’t love, but she drags it out, with the hope of changing him. There is that constant need to keep reaching for something that is at arm’s length. There is a need to be loved, so that she will feel better about herself. Always have a mindset of what can be verses what is.

In actuality, how does a person know they are in love then?

When you appreciate the person in front of you for who he is, and not what you want him to be. There are no assigned roles to place him in because he is in a category all by himself.

You are interested in him and only him; the desire for a long lasting relationship with that person. Therefore, love is in regards to a specific person, whereas, loving the idea of love is more generalized.

Robin Ennis, LMSW, CPC – www.prominentpathways.org

# 12. Ask yourself if you are forfeiting your dignity and clarity of thinking
Jody-Andrews

I describe addiction as anything we will go out in the middle of the night, in a snowstorm, wearing our fuzzy slippers to obtain.

In other words, we are willing to forfeit our dignity and clarity of thinking. For some it is alcohol, others drugs or gambling. For others of us it is a lover who may or may not be good for us any more than the addiction.

The reason?

The illusion of being in love is far more compelling than the reality. When we are in the throes of our “high”, the chemical reaction in our brain clouds our thinking and often eradicates common sense.

We miss the obvious “red flags”.

It is even worse if the relationship partner is erratic, because the intermittent reinforcement is akin to playing a slot machine and being unable to stop. 

In other words, when you are “in love” you may as well be mainlining. It is as if you are seeing that romantic partner through a haze of drug-induced euphoria.

And who doesn’t enjoy being in a euphoric state???

It makes for powerful poetry, song and drama and everyone should have that feeling at least once in their lives.

However, if you often find yourself “falling in love” rather than learning to love, it may be more like the Robert Palmer song says: “Gonna have to face It you’re addicted to love.” For more on how relationships can be addictive, see my website: www.jodyandrews.com with a link to my video: Fostering Healthy Relationships on www.Curious.com.

Jody Andrews, LMFT – www.jodyandrews.com

# 13. Below are some ways to find out the difference
Dr.-Carrie-McCrudden

I have to admit…

I really love being in love. Love can be so intoxicating, however, that we need to ask ourselves the valuable question: Am I actually in love or am I just in love with the idea of love? 

Here are some ways to tell the difference.

Some telltale signs that you’re actually in love with him:

– You actually like the person, not just the concept of them, but really, truly, them. The way they smell, who they are in the world, their little idiosyncrasies only you get to see.

– You love the way you both communicate when things are going well, and, even more importantly, how you both communicate when things aren’t going quite as well.

– You admire the person you are in love with.

– You can acknowledge and admit to their flaws, instead of pretending the negatives don’t exist.

– You actually spend time together, and can’t wait to be with them again.

The markers of just being in love with love, instead of him:

– You don’t really spend much time together, and, when you’re apart, you spend all of your time imaging an idealized version of who they are.

– You don’t really know them but talk to everyone you meet about the great new person you’re dating.

– Weaknesses are either ignored or glossed over instead of acknowledged and faced head on.

– You are showing them a false, polished version of yourself instead of your real self.

– You’re pushing ahead with your fantasy future without actually assessing if this person really fits into your dream.

Dr. Carrie McCrudden, LMHC – www.coloradotherapycare.com

# 14. Watch out for the 5 signs below
Diana-Lang

Sometimes we fall in love with the idea of being in love rather than take the risk of actually being in love.

We might come together with a man because we don’t want to be alone. Or we’re trying to get away from something else. Or because everyone around us seems to be in a relationship, and we think we should be too. Often chemistry can be mistaken for love. But true love, and actually falling in love with our soulmate, is a rare and unique gift.

The problem is that falling in love is a notion that has gotten so cinematized and glamorized that sometimes it is hard to recognize what real love looks like.

It might be right in front of our nose and it is possible that we could simply miss it.

In this time of mass information on the internet highway, Snapchat and Instagram, reality TV shows of the rich and famous, and movie stars in People magazine “who are just like us,” we can get our expectations blown out of proportion.

We see skywriting streaming across the perfect blue Los Angeles summer sky that says, Marry me, Pamela, or a prom invitation video ­– gone viral – complete with a 16-year-old young man and ‘his boys,’ in hip hop formation, asking a pretty girl to please accompany him to the dance in a funkadelic, syncopated street rhyme. We start to believe that’s what we should expect too.

Don’t get me wrong; I am a huge romantic.

I will write poems to my beloved right along with the best of them. I love long walks at the beach at sunset, and want rose petals strewn across my perfectly white sheets. However, in this time of extreme information stimulation and heightened commercialized expectation, we could miss the innocence of love for the shine. 

As we are waiting for the glam-and-bang of ad-driven, Cosmopolitan-fueled, Diamonds-in-our-champagne-glass acts of idealized and artificially romanticized love, we might not notice our man who might be standing right in front of us with a daisy in his hand, love in his heart, and the willingness to take care of us for a lifetime, because we are waiting for a 2-carat rock on our finger by a leather clad George Clooney rock star look-alike in a black Corvette!

So, what is real love? And how can we recognize it?

1. You can feel it.

If you can’t feel it, it’s because it’s not there. And you have to be able to discriminate between chemistry only, and the real feelings of love.

2. It’s consistent.

It’s not confusing. It doesn’t change from moment to moment. It feels comfortable.

3. You can be yourself.

There is no effort of acting, pretending, hiding or proving. You can just be you. And so can he.

4. He brings out the best in you and you bring out the best in him.

Something about the two of you advances the both of you. You find yourself growing as individuals and also together. You feel proud of your partner. And he is proud of you.

5. You can’t imagine not being together.

In your mind’s eye, you see the two of you in your latter years on the front patio listening to your favorite music. And it makes you happy to think of it.

And one last thing to never, never forget. Real love requires vulnerability.

That means we need to let our partner see us. Really see us. Not our facade or our worldly personality, but our true and essential self. And vice-versa. And, this is scaaaaaa-ry! That’s why it’s rare. But that is also how you know it’s true.

Real love is innocent. Real love is vulnerable. Real love is honest. And that’s how you know.

Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com

# 15. Look at your expectations of your partner
Karen-Thacker

Fantasy is a really wonderful escape sometimes. When fantasy starts to influence reality it can present a problem.  

For instance, if you watch movies or read books about being in love and you deeply want that kind of love in your life, you might start focusing so much on the fantasy of being in love that you forget that it isn’t real.  

Your focus shifts from being true to yourself to imagining what it would be like to have a romantic partner.  

Your imagination slips into this nearly alternate reality and you search for someone to fill the other half.  You might not even be aware this is happening.  You jump from relationship to relationship trying to fill your unrealistic fantasy.  

No partner can fill the shoes of a fantasy so you end up being disappointed again and again.  You’re not really entering into love relationships, you’re in love with the idea of being in love.  You will end up empty handed each time.

How can you know the difference between being in love and being in love with the idea of love?

Look at your expectations of your partner

Do you expect your partner to sweep you off your feet each day, to create romantic moments every single day?  What about handling the every day stuff of life like laundry, bills, cleaning?  Is there space in your mind for the mundane to be done without feeling butterflies in your stomach?  When you aren’t in the “throws of love” do you still love your partner?  

If you find your love for your partner being consistently conditional, you are likely in love with the idea of love, not the actual person.

Karen Thacker, LPC – www.journeyforward.net

# 16. Love occurs after time, trust, experience, and disagreements
Dr.-Heather-Gaedt

This is a powerful question.

Women who do not really want to know who they are with, will struggle with reading about this topic. If you are in a relationship with someone who you are projecting a fantasy onto, your fantasy may be comprised by reading on.

The other scenario that may occur is that you may say things like, “I don’t relate to that”, “I really am with the person who I think I am in a relationship with”. If these internal statements are coupled with anxiety and/or discomfort, then I encourage you to delve deeper.

Little girls are often raised with the idea that an idealized version of a significant other will make everything better (“all my sadness and worry will be soothed, if I just find the right partner).”

This ideal image can be portrayed in Disney movies, childhood, media and television, friendships, etc. Imagination and fantasy can be healthy as children but we can end up in unhealthy relationships if we use fantasy as adults to avoid our internal voice/truth/self. “Love itself is just an idea.

I learned a long time ago from those who have gone before me in the Twelve Step program, love is not a feeling, love is an action

Society sells us the fantasy of “being in love.” However, it’s just that, a fantasy. It is my responsibility to take the actions of love into my relationships with others. When I bring love into any relationship, great things happen.” Coach Aaron

A generalized course of relationships that are based in fantasy usually starts off with strong infatuation, seeing him/her almost every day, if not every day, moves quickly and can sound like “I have so many things in common”, “I think I am in love”, etc.

This kind of relationship feels good and usually indicates that we are reproducing unhealthy childhood dynamics. There is absolutely no way for someone to know someone else after one week. We present our best self when we first meet someone.

Without knowing someone for at least one year, we do not know the other person at his/her most unhealthy, or who they really are. Therefore, this dynamic is not love, it is called lust and/or infatuation. Love occurs after time, trust, experience, and disagreements.

There are several ways that we can go into fantasy.

Examples include: if we recognize that one of our core values does not match up with the other person, and we decide to ignore the recognition because “well, it is not that big of deal”, or “maybe things will change”, or “maybe I won’t find someone who I match this well with and there is only one thing we disagree about…”.

These statements are examples being in a relationship with a fantasy instead of accepting the person for who they are.

Another way we may go into fantasy is if we listen to what the person says about who they are instead of looking at what his/her actions are. This is extremely common for those who “fall in love” quickly.

Dr. Heather Gaedt – www.drheathergaedt.com

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