When it comes to love relationships, it can be difficult to know your partner’s real feelings about you, whether they expressly tell you, or not, since feelings may change, day-by-day, from person to person.
This isn’t to say that when you ask your partner a question, their reply isn’t truthful, it’s just that, on any given day, there are many factors that influence how someone feels, so their answers may never seem entirely clear, stable or congruent with what was said previously.
This can be very confusing and frustrating in relationships — feeling you don’t know where you stand with your partner, but this is just how some people are; they don’t think in black and white, so we often fill in the blanks with our own imagination, as we don’t like ‘not knowing’ something.
The Illusions — we all want to believe
Here are some common romantic illusions that, in my experience, have nothing to do with real love at all, but often get misinterpreted as the real thing, by inexperience or good old wishful thinking.
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while (excluding long-distance relationships), and your partner buys you gifts of novelties, roses, cards, etc, but they aren’t physically around for you very often, and they don’t try to make contact with you at least a few times a week, you can safely say, this person likes you, but that’s it.
You’re not really important to them, no matter what they say, and they wont be too ruffled or upset when you disappear from their life altogether — Guaranteed! Don’t be tempted to think that liking, lust or attraction will turn into real love, if you just hang in there long enough, it wont.
Charming but not curious
If your partner is charming but not curious about you, i.e. they talk to you in a gentle way that makes you melt and they treat you kindly, but they don’t ask you anything personal about yourself or what you’ve been doing, the truth is, they’re not really interested in you in any serious way. There may be all sorts of reasons for why they’re with you, but the reason isn’t real love.
Younger people might find this one difficult to swallow, but the truth is, if your partner constantly tries to communicate with you, i.e. they’re texting, emailing, sending loads of heart emojis and selfies your way, daily, and act suspicious if they don’t get the same attention back, they’ve got a lot of problems and growing up to do.
They’re not communicating out of interest, they’re communicating because they’re insecure, immature, or have abandonment issues. These people know all about desperation and nothing about love.
If your partner always needs to be by your side, putting their arm around you in public and arranging all your entertainment together, and knowing everywhere you go, they’re simply possessive and unhealthy. They don’t know how to operate as a happy, confident individual.
They may say they love being with you (because they hate being alone), but that doesn’t mean they actually love you. It’s just that they could get you.
Many people have fallen into the trap of thinking that because their partner says they need them and they always want to be with them, it gets interpreted as care, passion and love, but it really isn’t. Needing someone is all about filling a psychological void, and that isn’t love.
So be careful if you’ve given your heart to this person. The relationship will be more about the needy partner feeling secure, than it is about love.
Ambiguity and Respect
If you’re not sure if your partner actually respects you in the real sense, even for a minute, the answer is: they don’t. You will always know in your gut if your partner respects you, because it’s one of the best feelings in the world. They will never treat you in a way that makes you feel anything less than valuable and interesting and everything about their demeanour shows it.
However, even if you know your partner respects you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they love you. Respect and love may live together easily but they can also exist separately. Most people can think of a few people they highly respect but they don’t love.
Some people think that, if they date someone for long enough, who really respects them, it will naturally turn into real love, over time. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case. No amount of trying to make someone love you will work. It’s a horrible fact of life, but there’s a whole lot more to love, than respect.
The Watered-Down Reality
If one of the above applies to your relationship, it’s not love you’re experiencing, but something much more watered-down and ultimately unrewarding, and you’re probably wasting your time with this partner — if you were hoping for something more meaningful and serious. This may be an unwelcome truth, but it’s worth knowing.
If you’ve been fooled by an illusion of love, as most people have, don’t beat yourself up. You can’t be blamed for wanting to believe in something good, after all, you’re only human and probably have a big imagination that takes over sometimes. Just know that, when you move on from it, you’ll be much better off.
When you find someone you love and that truly loves you back, you won’t have to do anything to encourage it, and you won’t understand how it works, but your heart will surely know; there’s nothing you can do to stop this person loving you, and you’ll be elevated, comfortable, fascinated and thrilled, all at once.
Previously published on medium
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