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Have you ever been attracted to someone so much so that you thought you loved them? Have you ever wondered whether you loved them or was it just the idea of them? We often confuse the two, and they differ from each other, the same way love and attraction do.
Love. The four-letter word creates havoc all around humanity. It's complicated, it's devastating, it's beautiful! So, no doubt, it has several faces. We are often influenced by the atmosphere of love all around us, ranging from love songs to films to novels to sweet, young couples roaming everywhere around us. We think we want that too. Then someone comes along, and you program yourself to think this is 'The' one.
Also read: Love- A feeling worth experiencing
There can be such cases and you wouldn’t even know; it is not intentional. We, as people often confuse our feelings, they can be complicated, and people have a hard time figuring them out.
There are many times in our lives when we think we know why we're doing something only to find upon reflection or talking to a friend/counselor that we completely misunderstood our actual motivations. How many times have you found out you were watching Netflix because that was your excuse to avoid work, and not because you liked the show?
What does it mean, then, to like the idea of someone but not like them? Essentially it means you are drawn to what a stable, loving relationship provides, but not the actual person that you are currently in a relationship with. You want a caring partner who knows you, excites you, and with whom you can share common interests and ideas. You are trying to achieve that. You are trying to find comfort. You love the idea of them being the person you want them to be, but see it’s just an idea you have of them and not who they are!
It can be difficult to distinguish between the two, but all you need to do is ask yourself do I love how they act around me or treat me? Or, do I love how they should treat me? Sometimes we just like people because they like us, and who doesn’t want to be liked, after all?
Let’s see, how can you identify whether you love them or the idea of them?
Look at the relationship real close. See it through the eyes of an unbiased person. How does it look? Are your efforts the same as that of the opposite half? And, more importantly, does it seem to make a difference to you? This clears up the air about any confusion.
See, when you're in love with the idea of love, you just want to stay in what you think is a loving relationship. That's enough for you. You don't notice that- The other half is not much bothered about your welfare. Rather they continuously focus on their own needs and demands.
You don't enjoy talking to that person. Clicking a picture or posting an Instagram post with them is fine, anything that promotes the idea of being in love. But when it comes to spending time with them, it gets boring real quick. You don't have much in common. It’s fine as long as you're initially in the knowing each other phase, but soon this glaring shortcoming will be apparent.
In short, when you find yourself in a place where your mental picture of being with a person doesn't match with their reality, then you're not in love with that person. If you accept whatever it is that they have to offer in the relationship, it points out that you just want to stay in love, and it doesn't matter who the person is opposed to you and how they behave. You would never let them go because you love the idea of them and because of that you keep holding on to them, expecting that they will someday become the person you want them to be. But my friend this isn’t a fairy-tale, it’s the real world! Miracles don’t happen just like that. Once you figure out, that they are not offering you what you deserve, move on, walk away and find someone who does, because I am sure there is someone out there for each one of us who is willing to love us just the way we want.
It’s not easy, it is not! I have been at a similar place; I too was confused but that’s how we learn don’t we?
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And most importantly, don’t think of yourself as a horrible person once you figure out what it is. When genuine appreciation for the other person isn't the primary driver of being together, there are several other reasons people end up staying with each other such as you have had a recent breakup, you enjoy the attention, you don’t want to be lonely, you are not sure what you want, etc. Whatever the reason may be, it’s ok! Own it up and convey whatever it is to the person you are with, they must know, they may or may not understand you but that’s fine too. You got this!
I hope you find genuine love for yourself soon.
Sending lots of love and good vibes your way!