Are you really in love or just infatuated?
by Jacquie Wise
If you’ve lost confidence in your judgement, here’s a way to protect yourself.
It’s too easy for us to make mistakes in important relationships. Perhaps we confuse infatuation and physical attraction with love. We believe that if we ‘fall in love’, the rest will fall into place.
Or perhaps we make our judgements in the wrong circumstances, before we have a chance of seeing what the person is really like in all their dimensions. Nor have they yet had the chance of seeing how they can cope with all our foibles!
It’s hardly wise to make such an important decision while we’re surrounded by novelty and romance. Yet this is often what happens; we date, we have fun, we are enthusiastic about each other. We make an effort to dress up and be on our best behaviour. This creates an illusion of total wellbeing, whereas it’s just superficial wellbeing, created by the good times.
The time to judge if someone is really right is when neither of you are ‘auditioning’ any more.
The time to judge the quality of a relationship is when the novelty has worn off, when the dust settles–what I call the ‘kitchen sink’ times, when we really begin to irritate each other.
Falling in love is a judgement—we judge that this is the kind of person we can love. We love what they do, what they say, whether they are attentive enough…
If we have a horror of being alone, we risk staying with the wrong person just out of desperation, and we condemn ourselves to a life of misery if we deny our needs and feelings. All too easily, we can convince ourselves that our partner is what we want them to be, which is why it’s so difficult for us to see them as they really are and have the strength to end it, before we get so trapped.
All these impressions we form about someone are judgements. And if they’re judgements, they’d better be based on sound foundations.
We subconsciously test people all the time according to our values. People could either disappoint us if they don’t meet the mark, or they could exceed our expectations. Yet we tend not to be as cautious with selecting our life partner.
I’m a great believer in testing people against some kind of benchmark—something with which to compare different aspects of their personality.
By the way, I test myself just as stringently. Am I likely to disappoint myself, or will I exceed my own expectations? Of course, those expectations have to be realistic.
But how do we know if we’re being realistic, or simply putting up with too much? If the benchmark is too low, partners will end up grating on each other. If it’s too high, no one can ever be good enough, and the pressure is likely to destroy any chance of happiness.
There are different tests for different stages: from casual acquaintance to good friend through to life partner.
You will know if the person is right for you if you can enjoy similar interests, tastes and standards, if you laugh and cry at the same things, and if you match each other on the same level intellectually. If you can enjoy the same activities, yet still have freedom and independence and if you each give as much as the other is prepared to give, in roughly equal balance.
Do you share the same values and life goals and trust each other’s integrity?
Can you respect each other’s needs and tolerate each other’s moods and failings? Only time will tell.
Do you take a real interest and pride in each other’s achievements and make a commitment to help each other grow?
Can you enjoy quiet times without having to talk, and are you able to confide comfortably your deepest hurts and fears and feel heard and understood?
Of course physical attraction and compatibility fit in there, but it’s only one part of the whole picture.
Above all, be sure you don’t feel you have to bend over backwards to please. Those who are natural givers don’t mind giving, but too much can end up being a strain.
If you’re a ‘good fit’, there should be no strain. You should never feel there is something missing—a hole too deep to fill.
George Bernard Shaw said:
We know we are truly loved when we are loved, not because of who we are, but in spite of who we are.
All of these very specific details add up to a very personal and individual ‘checklist’. How well you share a life is a judgement that cannot and should not rest solely on only one aspect of a person.
To avoid making mistakes, give yourselves time to verify, under normal routine circumstances, if your personal checklist of needs is really being met, before you commit to anything permanent.
Of course, there is no such thing as the perfect fit, but there is a big difference between comfortable compromise and denial of your needs. The key is to find the best balance.
In my view, a good relationship can be compared to a comfortable old slipper. It may be well worn, it may be a little tattered and shabby, but oh, it’s SO comfortable to slip into after a hard day!
If you would like to attract the right relationship, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.
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