Why loving an image you've created can be the worst idea ever?
When we’re in love we automatically activate a set of vision glasses that prevents us from seeing reality as it is. It’s as if our brains had those Snapchat filters that make anything look beautiful by highlighting or altering some features. No matter what we’re told, we can’t see any other image than the one altered before our eyes, even when things are extremely evident for everybody else. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the person we’re in love with is a jerk or someone that doesn't deserve us (although that’s quite a common scenario if you ask me). What I’m referring to is that incapability of seeing and understanding things in a more objective way. Then, what really happens is that our mind creates an image of that person we love, as well as one of the relationship in general. It is such a complex system, so it’s quite hard to go against all those ideas we create.
Many couples end up breaking up because one of the parts (or both) doesn’t really change the image they have of the other as the relationship evolves, and eventually the real person and that formed idea disassociate, making it almost impossible to fuse once again. Does this scenario ring a bell? Well, let’s go further and see the most common signs of why you might be in love with the idea you have instead of the real person.
You keep longing or reminiscing those good old times with that person
This sign is important to see if you’re not in love with a person but with an image of them. So, let me set a scenario. You’ve had feelings for this person, you share some time together, or maybe you’re already a couple, but all the time you can only think of all those amazing things you shared in the past. Somehow, you’ve come to believe that it was a sort of golden age in your life and you keep longing for those days instead of focusing on the present.
Well, if you ask me, the most likely explanation is that you’re in love with who they were back then, and since things in the present aren’t as nice as they used to be, you keep going back because you fell for that person, not the one you’re with at the moment. Sometimes we hold on to the person they were once, not the one they're now. We all change with time, and so do our priorities, goals, and feelings. Then, just as it’s very likely that this person changed, you've done that too, so why keep living in the past?
You keep fantasizing about a future with them
I know this might sound like a contradiction to the previous point, but they do connect quite impressively. Just as you might be going back to those amazing days when life was simpler and greater (yes, because we always romanticize the past), you feel as if in your mind time didn’t pass at all. So, while you’re lingering in the past, your head is also fantasizing about an idealized and romanticized future in which you see your relationship as the common fairytale-like story. Again it’s not that your partner or the person you love is a terrible person who doesn’t love you. It’s just that the expectations you're setting are too high, so you refuse to see things in more realistic terms. Don’t worry, been there done that, and it actually takes a lot of time and effort to see the real picture.
You can’t see any flaws in that person
This image you create in your mind and this life you think you’re having or keep pursuing can’t have any defect. So, although we know no one’s perfect, in your mind these imperfections don’t exist, or worse, you start taking their defects as cute quirks that make you love them even more. This can turn into a very difficult and quite dangerous problem, since you’re just one step closer to becoming the submissive person in the relationship that can stand everything for love’s sake. I know love is beautiful and we all want to feel that strong and deep emotion, but that longing to find that perfect person can really take us to situations we don’t want.
You make excuses for everything they do
As you might have noticed, we’re talking about a serious case of idealization and romantization. So, in this particular case, even when you notice certain issues about your partner that don’t really fit with the image of the person you’ve put in a pedestal, you start trying to find “logical” explanations to excuse certain behaviors or patterns this person has. We see what we really want to see. That’s a fact. But as I mentioned in the previous point, that blind love can turn into a quite serious and harmful situation that becomes harder to get away from as time passes. If there’s something you don’t like, don’t put your emotions before it. Face the situation and meditate if this is really something you’re willing to tolerate in the future.
I totally blame romantic stories for this, if you ask me. We tend to believe that love is a pure emotion and that this virtuous person will come someday and life will be perfect. Well, I’m not saying that love can’t bring us a life of happiness, but that romantic idea is absolute BS. I do think that one of the best parts of love is realizing that we all have flaws and that there will be challenges and disappointments. Don’t let your brain put those altering glasses that, more than showing a realistic love experience, can bring you more harm than good.
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Photos by @athenagraceco