Personally, I agree with Mauricio Abadi, author of the book Reality and/or Realities, and his definition of being in love:
“When we fall in love, we don’t see our partner as he or she really is. Instead, the person of our desire serves as a screen onto which we project an idealized image of our perfect partner.”
Mauricio Abadi goes even further by saying that the person you are in love with is actually yourself, as you secretly want to be.
It’s like when we are in love, we take advantage of our new love as an object, just to be able to project, and then to look at and admire our idealistic image of ourselves, the shiny self that the new lover is seeing when they look at us.
Now, I understand you might not agree with this, and that’s fine.
Many people wrongly expect that the initial loving feelings from when they were first in love are supposed to last forever. And if they don’t, then they think they obviously haven’t found the right partner.
What a mistake!
A Selfish Game
We like the person we are in love with because they are kind enough to hold that mirror in front of us so adoringly, so that we can look at ourselves and enjoy being so perfect; everything we ever wanted to be.
We all want to be admired and loved. So, when we are in love, it really doesn’t bother us that we are being taken advantage of, in the same way that we are taking advantage of them.
Even though deep down inside, we know we are not as ideal as our newly found mate thinks we are, we play along, letting our mate do more of the same, holding the mirror with our idealized image even more so.
Throw Those Love Letters Away
It just feels so good to be admired with no reservations. Who wants to spoil that?
Yet the game we play when we are in love is not really focused on our mate. It’s a selfish game. We enjoy looking at our idealized image more than caring who the person standing in front of us is.
This doesn’t sound romantic at all, and it’s not. Then again, neither are the misconceptions that happen as a result of such unmet expectations.
In this sense, being “in love” cannot last. There’s no chance. Mother Nature made sure it’s like that, as it simply isn’t sustainable. The “in love” stage lasts only from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with the exception of the celebrities who marry in Las Vegas. Those loves end in days.
Are We Doomed Then?
This does not mean we’re doomed to be unhappy in a relationship after the being-in-love phase inevitably ends. Every relationship goes through three distinct stages and until it reaches a stage we call “true love.”
If being in love is selfish, true love is not. That being said, in my experience, it’s the second stage that proves to be the most challenging for most couples, including my wife Nathaly and I, not so long time ago. Approximately half of all couples manage to overcome it, leaving so many who don’t.