When you’ve met a potential cutie, and they’re displaying all the right signs, how can you separate their traits and external attributes from who they are, as a person? When you’re impressed with someone’s well-paying job, quirky interests or edgy fashion sense, how can you separate all these preferable things from who they are, and your compatibility? Essentially, how do you ensure you’re in love with someone, rather than the idea of someone?
As I’ve muddled through the dating world, I’ve come to know the difference between loving the idea of someone, and loving a person for their entire being (flaws and all). Loving the idea of someone leads to a dead end – and often a lot of heartache – but it’s a road you can avoid. By familiarising yourself with a few red flags, and learning from the dating woes of others’, you’ll hopefully recognise when you’re loving someone for their situation, rather than their being.
#1 You’re Insecure
The difference between loving someone for them, as opposed to the idea of them, is that you’re easily distracted by bigger and better things. Loving the idea of someone is a subtle transfer of your own ideal characteristics and attributes onto someone that kind of has what you want (but not quite everything). When you’re loving an idea, the temptation of another, more fitting idea can leave you insecure and unsettled (all the feels you don’t really want to feel).
In these kind of situations, your S/O will often display signs that they’re not quite levelling up to the dreamy idea you’ve created around them (and rightly so). Yet one questionable action, conversation or red flag acts as a brutal reminder that this person isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Listen to these uncertainties.
#2 It’s A Rollercoaster Of Emotions
Whilst dating can often trigger a wave of different emotions, the right person will make you feel good. Loving the idea of someone can set trigger a firestorm of emotions that are fundamentally negative, leaving you confused and unsettled. Whilst you may at times feel a welcomed distraction. underlying negative thoughts always come creeping back.
#3 There’s Unrequited Feelings
Being in love with the idea of someone is difficult for both parties involved. Whilst you may be expressing all the right signs, it’s generally for all the wrong reasons. Whilst you’re not intentionally leading someone on, you essentially are…and so a relationship that’s fundamentally one-sided, or unrequited, progresses and at this point, heartbreak is pretty much inevitable.
#4 Imagining The Future Is Hard
With pretty dismal confidence in where you’re relationship is headed, it’s often extremely hard to imagine your future. When you’re loving the idea of someone, the lack of emotional connection can often lead to pretty up-in-the-air feelings about where your situation may lead you.
#5 Building An Emotional Connection Is Tough
When you’re battling all these confusing feelings, you’re left with little emotional capacity to actually build a connection. Whilst your S/O has admirable ambition, values family and friends as much as you do, or obsesses over ramen equally as much as you, you’re left wondering why the emotional connection is lagging or simply not matching where you feel your relationship should be at. It’s possible you need to take a few steps back to understand why you’re attracted to this person and if it’s for every reason other than their entire being (flaws and all), it’s best you look after yours and their emotions. You know what to do.
Sources: Unsplash, Giphy.