You're not in love, you're infatuated

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I am a recovering “love-aholic”. I was the girl that was obsessed with Valentine's day, dotting all my I’s with little hearts and writing my name over and over with my boyfriend’s last name. My Barbie’s were always getting married and I memorized all the lines to my favorite rom-coms. I didn’t realize how growing up and being obsessed with “love” and “romance” truly set me up for failure. I looked for men to exhibit the tangible signs of romance while forgetting to look for the very real signs of love. I look back at some of those moments and cringe. I was so naive and had so much to learn. I am no guru, but I have learned a few things along my journey. Here are a few points that have helped me:

The “Me” Complex

One of the biggest reasons I failed to truly understand love was because I thought that love was all about me. I had the flat twist in 1998 with my baby hair singing Mya’s lyrics to the top of my lungs “It’s all about me, me, me, me, me forget about you, you, you, you you!”

In our culture the idea of romance is sold to us as a warm and fuzzy feeling. We measure the butterflies in our stomach, the passion of a long kiss or the way we get excited when our partner impresses us with an unforgettable date. While these signs of affection are not inherently bad, they tetter on the side of infatuation when they become the foundation of a relationship. Like a drug we become focused on the next fix, and crave more. Our feelings become rooted in our own self centeredness instead of truly seeing the other person for who they are.

The “dream” guy

As a child Ken was 6’4, a doctor, was very handsome, he loved running and he was completely in love with Barbie. I had successfully crafted my childhood dream guy. As an adult, I did the same. I had my list, my hopes and dreams of what my mate would be like. In every relationship, I would somehow magically fit my boyfriend into this mold until he didn’t fit anymore. I remember the initial excitement, literally putting all my hopes and dreams on my boyfriend and looking at him through these rose colored glasses. My heart was shattered when he started to be himself, and break the carefully crafted mold for which I had placed him.

I loved the image that I created, yet I was infatuated with the man I was with. To truly love someone is to know them, not to put them into some image you have crafted. I see so many couples who have complete breakdowns when they finally realize that the person they are with is not the person they crafted.

No one will ever fit your dream guy precisely as you have it in your mind, so it’s best to drop the fantasy. It’s even better to stop trying to control everything. Instead open your heart and learn to see people for who they are, not for who you want them to be.

When things don’t go their way….

How does your partner react when things do not go their way? Do they look to persuade you and move your boundaries? Do they constantly complain until you give in? Do they look for ways to guilt you about getting your way? This really goes back to the first point, infatuation is based on self gratification, and when things are not going the route toward personal pleasure then more than likely true meaningful love does not exist. It is easy to tell someone you love them when they smell great, look fantastic and have purchased you a gift. However, true love is being able to stand by someone when they are sick, have loss everything or are facing a huge challenge. The difference between the two, is that one is selfish and the other is selfless. True love is selfless.

Finding true love and sustaining a healthy relationship can be tricky. I have learned to really trust God to give me the spiritual insight I need in order to make the right decisions. Most times Godly insight is hard to digest when we want things our way, but in the long term it is best. So many relationships and even marriages are based on infatuation disguised as love and if we can learn to decipher the two then we can create lasting bonds with people that are truly meant for us.

To help you along the way, I have created this cool freebie. You can download it here.

How have you determined whether a relationship with love or infatuation? Leave your comment below.