Fig. 1. “Attractive Young Couple In Love” by Serge Bertasius Photography (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Judge whether this short love note indicates true love or not:
(From the column “Joe the Mango’s LoveNotes” [unedited])
I find it hard to believe that broken dreams could become a part of my life. I’m truly sad for the simple reason that my life isn’t really doing fine. Once in a while, I look back to the past , trying to figure out what went wrong. At 22, I think I’ve had enough disappointments and frustration in life.
Remembering my school days, it seemed that everything was simple and easier then, the “home-school” routine may prove boring but I understand that’s part of growing up. Somehow, I realized learning is a life- long process, for there are bigger lessons in life to learn.
May 1995, I got my first job as a banker. Amidst my pressure-filled work days , I never thought love could come my way. It did but to my disappointment I eventually lost it. After all that’s been said and done, I’m still holding on to the memories.
I met Alfred and already liked him the first time I saw him. Even then, he showed signs of interests for me. Though we had no real relationship, I know he had done his part trying to get close to me. Out of foolishness, I was not able to express my real feelings for him. I pretended I didn’t care. Maybe I was afraid to take a chance, thinking what we felt was only temporary, considering most of our colleagues were against us. There were times when I intentionally avoided him. But I realized I was in love with him.
I thought that when I met Alfred, the right time had come. I was happy knowing that what I felt for Alfred was something real. Sad to say, nothing seemed right between us.
Each day was disappointing . We kept on fooling around and there were times when I thought of giving up everything, including my job. I never wanted to see him again and stop playing a game I know I’ll never win.
But I couldn’t let go. It took sometime for me to accept he’s not here anymore, that he will never come back to me.
How I wish I had let him known how much he meant to me. I wonder if he’s happy , now that he’s free. Somehow I can’t stop thinking there could be another chance for us to meet again. I’ll be waiting for that time.
How can I really face everyday that comes when my mind and heart still lament over the past? To forget the past is to forget Alfred. Joe, I really hope your words of advice can help me clear my mind.
Distinguish Infatuation from True Love
In order to appreciate the reality of true love, it is better that people must first distinguish between infatuation and real love. Infatuation is the earliest stage of falling in love or what people would commonly call as “love at first sight”. Infatuation is the intense feelings associated with falling in love. However, it starts and ends quickly. In infatuation, a person instantly falls in love with someone he or she knows nothing about. Thus, when he or she discovers after an initial encounter that his or her first date is different from what he or she expects, the intense feeling immediately evaporates and he or she moves on to find another partner. Relationship coach Chana Leviton characterized infatuation as a powerful connection to someone that leaves a person feeling out of control and possessed by his or her feelings. It strikes the person without warning by someone he or she may not have nothing in common or even dislike. Infatuation is irrational and unrealistic. Since the initial interaction with the person is too short to allow deeper acquaintance, the feelings of attraction in infatuation are superficial and based on false assumptions about the true character of the partner. Of course, there are cases that infatuation can also lead to true love. But more often it can result in frustration and separation after the initial encounter.
Since infatuation is a fleeting experience and feeling of falling in love, many social scientists do not consider this as “real” love. Moralists call infatuation as lust and not love in a sense that it is more sexual and self-centered. “Real” love is said to take time and is realistic. Infatuation is a fleeting feeling of intense attraction with no knowledge of real personality and character between partners. It can, at times, become a starting point for true love if the partner decides to continue their romantic relationship despite the initial discovery of incompatibilities, but in itself, infatuation can hardly be called a real mutual self-giving between partners.
“Real” love, on the one hand, has a positive effect on the person’s personality. Infatuation, on the other hand, has a disorganizing negative effect to the person falling in love. It can leave him or her unable to sleep, eat or concentrate. It can make him/her “possessive” and prone to bouts of jealousy. Real love, on the contrary, makes the person energetic, creative, and purposeful. It makes him or her trustful of the other and feel secure. So the real indicator whether the initial experience of falling in love is a mere infatuation or a real beginning of a true love seems to the type of effect or impact of the initial encounter of the partners in their daily life. If the general effect of the falling in love at the beginning is negative, i.e., the person loses control of his or her life of the intense feeling, then it is most likely an infatuation. But if the general effect is positive, i.e., the initial feeling of love makes the partners more inspired to reach their life goals, happy, and productive in their daily routine, then it is most likely the falling in love is not just an infatuation but probably the beginning of true romance, love, and commitment.
Romantic partners who share similar traits and level of attractiveness are more likely to end together for a longer period than those who look significantly different. Many social researchers believe that there is a pattern on how people choose their mates or romantic relationships. The matching hypothesis indicate that people who are more attracted to others who share a similar attraction level with them.
Fig. 2 True love takes time and has a positive effect on personality (“Couple with their Girl Child Looking Upwards” by stockimages [Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net])