Let me begin by saying that this blog post is a bit of a rant and well, a bit off color. If the word f**k offends you, you may not want to continue reading. Initially, I wrote it with the word “shit” in place of “f**k”, but I think “f**k” says it better. Doesn’t it always?
Recently on vacation, I was enjoying a glorious week on the beach with family and friends and was planning to take the whole week off doing nothing, except of course cooking, cleaning up after others, and washing yet another load of beach towels. Every day I ventured to the food market, which was in close proximity to our rented beach house for needed items. The food market employs high school students, who do not seem to do much work unless asked. And, all of them are constantly on their phones and seem quite annoyed when a customer is in their midst. Welcome to Generation Z; those born between 1996 to 2010.
One look at the romance novel section of any bookstore and you can tell that the genre is huge. Women love reading about romance and love. Watching chick flicks is another great pastime since they all paint a story of how wonderful it is to be in love. And there is no doubt about it: the feeling of being in love is glorious, in fact, it can also be addicting.
How you ask?
Many women and men are in love with the idea of being in love and it is the root problem of many bad relationships. Has that little voice ever popped up in your head about the person you are with, making you question whether you really love them or just love the idea of them? I know it has for me. Some women and men are great at dismissing those annoying red flags, making all kind of excuses to themselves. But I wonder how many of us have dismissed it all the way to the altar? My guess is TOO MANY!
So how does one know if they are truly in love or just in love with the idea of love? Below is a short list of some of the signs.
1. One clear-cut sign is that you have relationship after relationship that starts off like a rocket, moving higher and higher, until the rock fades and falls crashing to the ground in flames. You cannot seem to take things slow, even if you try. Plus, you are never single for too long before the next “love of your life” has been found.
2. You believe that life will begin once the love of your life appears in your life. You truly believe in happily ever after and that only that one person can fulfill you in every way. In essence, you delay truly living until he or she is found, and once found then you put all your eggs into that one basket.
3. Another sign is that you completely ignore all the red flags from your inner voice that keep popping up in your head at every juncture. You are more interested in dreaming of your next fantastic date or what your wedding dress will look like than you are in dreaming of your future together. You are more interested in that person becoming who you want them to be rather than who they really are.
4. When you are in love with love, you are in the relationship for its benefits and self-interest. The more difficult aspects of the relationship make you cringe because you prefer not having to deal with problematic issues since they do not “keep you in love”. Frankly, you don’t care so much about the person as you do about what they can do for you. Your fantasies about being with them revolve around how they make you feel, what they do, what they say, and how wonderful it is for you. It’s showing that person off to the world on dates, it’s getting to update your Facebook relationship status, hoping that you’ll finally get that Tiffany diamond you’ve been dreaming of. That’s being in love with love.
If this is you, what can you do about it?
When you do realize that you’re prone to bad relationships because of being in love with love instead of the actual person, you may want to re-evaluate, step back and stop dating for a while. This would be a good time for you to reflect and think about how to proceed forward.
The first thing you need to do is to face any fears you may have of being alone. Learn to love yourself, and you’ll find you already have the ideal relationship to take you through life: yourself! Anything else is gravy. You don’t need someone else to complete you.
You also need to think realistically about what you want and expect in a potential life partner. Don’t conjure up the image of ‘the perfect mate’; you don’t want a Stepford wife/husband. But you should know what your values are and have clear-cut deal-breakers.
Finally, re-assess what a successful relationship is to you. Think about the pros – and, more importantly – the cons. This helps you start looking at love as a work in progress, and relationships as give-and-take. Pretty soon, you’ll start dropping the fairy tale fantasies of the perfect “love” and be able to see what and who would really be best for your life.
And, try to remember, it’s not about the destination as much as it is about the journey.
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