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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Avoid Falling in Love with Love

Falling in love with love has been the subject of parody from the time of ancient Greece, to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, to the present. The 1938 Rodgers and Hart show tune describes falling in love with love as "falling for make-believe" and "playing the fool."

Do real life people actually fall in love with the idea of being in love? Unfortunately, it is actually quite common. Someone wants desperately to have the husband or wife of their dreams. They visualize the vine-covered cottage with the white picket fence. They choose the colors for the nursery. They design all the aspects of their married life. So what happens when mister or miss "Right" offers a brief smile?

Just as in the comedies, a person who is in love with the idea of love sees prospective partners through the lens of idealism. The reaction is, "This must be the one. They are so perfect - the match of my dreams." Is that person they just met a perfect match? It's unlikely their friends think so. So what happened? That person with the cute smile was not much more than a mirror for the hopes and dreams of the one in love with love.

If the relationship proceeds in spite of the warnings of friends and family, a grand crash awaits later. The idealism and vision of a perfect marriage explodes into a firestorm as soon as it becomes clear that the prospective partner was far from matching the idealized image.

Might you be in love with love? Might you be dating someone who is more in love with the idea of love than in love with you? Consider these questions about yourself and the person you are dating.

Before you met, did you have a clear image of who you wanted to marry? Perhaps you knew that you wanted to find a partner who is loving, kind, responsible, likes kids, isn't possessive or domineering, doesn't smoke or do drugs, and holds compatible beliefs about religion. It is important to have established standards such as those on which to evaluate a prospective mate. However if your image of the person you want to marry is highly visual or sensual, you may be in love with the idea of love.

Does your image sound like, "My husband is going to be six feet, with black wavy hair, no hair on his chest, big hands. We're going to have three children, and my husband is going to be the little league coach and boy scout leader for the boys." Or, "I'm going to marry a petite blond with big firm breasts. My wife is always going to wear a dress, and she is never going to work after the kids are born." Those sorts of images don't provide any room to marry a real person. No one could ever live up to those fantasies, and a relationship based on such fixed images is bound to crash.

While the preceding paragraph presents an exaggerated picture of falling in love with love, just tone it down until it matches what you have observed in a few of your friends. Then ask whether either you or the person you are dating has any tendency toward being in love with a fixed image of how a partner should be.

Great relationships begin with two people who are each self confident and who come to each other with the openness to see and accept the other as a unique and wonderful person. If there is true love and an alignment of fundamental values, choose to join your life with your new partner and vow never to criticize their nature - the essence that makes them uniquely themselves.


  1. Fundamently, I value love. What is love? Your comments remind me of a book by Barbara De Angelis called: "HOW DID I GET HERE". It is about false preceptions and goals and ideas that we set for ourselves and walk like the blinded horse to a place that once you decide to strip your blinding mask is shockingly way off course of what you thought it would be. Indeed, this could also relate to love, as when you think of love one-dimensionelly, you forget to adjust for the facets of all the other paradigms of life that awaits you. Such is the effect of the blinding mask you put on when you focus on your goals. If I say, I am going "west" I may end up on the Victoria Island, or Alaska, or Vancouver, or Banff, or India and truly enjoy the destination as I knew I went "the right way", the way I felt my destiny. But If I say, I am going to India, I may be dissapointed once I get there because that's all there was I saw and nothing else on my way. Love can be like that. We all start with the ideal and forget to fill the gaps. For example, is not a religion an ideal which gaps we are trying to fill in our daily lives? "What is love?" one must ask and define it, yet leave space for the peripheral vision to see beyond what can be seen up ahead. True love? What is truth? Self confidence implies that none of the lovers will depend on the other for happiness but will share in it as one. Thank you for your daily thoughts, quite inspiring. Jolanta

  2. wow.. thank you.. i'm going to share this and your page with my friends.. very helpful really.. God bless..

  3. Thanks for inspiration :) Lately I've been thinking much about setting a goal in your life, and this article opened my eyes to the fact that if I concentrate on the goal ONLY, I can miss many wonderful things on my way. And besides, I guess that a goal should be flexible anyway so that we can adjust to the situation we find ourselves in (just in case ;p).

  4. i am in love with someone i cannot have. a love too late to be reciprocated altho' it is genuine and true in the sense of it. it is the greatest of all pains.


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