Being in Love is a Disturbed Ideal

[Written around 2006.]

Although society and most people – and of course popular music – hold being “in love” as the ideal state of human existence, they are all deluding themselves, literally.  Being in love is little more than the state of transferring onto some new person – your “love object” – all your repressed childhood hopes that your parents will finally come to rescue you.  This hope, which is the root of all addictions, is so intense that if you actually believe that it can be fulfilled it sends you into the deepest emotional orbit, more intense even than heroin.  No wonder most people desperately strive for it.

You might ask, though, what about the eighty year old married couples who are still “in love” after fifty-five years of marriage?  My reply:  What about mild addicts – functional alcoholics, let’s say – who manage to stay pickled on their four daily martinis up through ninety years old – and even credit their booze with keeping them alive for so long?  (And they’re probably right – the booze probably did prolong their “life,” if you could call that a life.)

My second reply:  Do those couples really love each other so much, or are they more just attracted to a fantasy of whom their partners are?  From what I’ve observed, when you scratch below the surface of such couples you find that they really DON’T know each other that well, and are just interacting – and being “in love” – with a fraction of their personalities.  And they want it that way!  If they knew each other too well it would shatter their illusion.  No surprise that as the increase in expectation of marriage partners being “best friends” – that is, more emotionally intimate – has gone hand-in-hand with the skyrocketing of the divorce rate.

As I close, let me differentiate between being “in love” and actually loving someone.  In many ways the two are polar opposites, even if sometimes people who are “in love” can behave lovingly toward one another.  Allow me to make a list:

  1. Being in love is projecting that someone will rescue you; loving someone is nurturing and caring for the best in them

Being in love comes from the false self, that still damaged side of us, and wants a false image of another to rescue us; loving someone comes from the true self, and nurtures the true self of another

Being in love is generally full of disrespect, both of one’s own and another’s self.  It doesn’t honor the true boundaries of another’s truth.  The extreme of this happens when really troubled people fall in love with complete strangers and go so far as to believe these strangers have returned this “love.”  Loving someone, on the other hand, is inherently respectful.  It respects the boundaries of who they really are.
  4. Really loving someone truly grows over time.  Being in love gets weaker over time – and when it grows it tends to be a sign that the “in love” person has a penchant for more extreme forms of delusion.
  5. Being in love brings only a limited sense of fulfillment, and often leaves people feeling crushed and rejected.  Really loving someone brings deep fulfillment – to both involved.
  6. Being in love gets all mixed up with romance (and often sex).  Loving someone deflates romance – and opens the door to something so much more rewarding.

6 thoughts on “Being in Love is a Disturbed Ideal

  1. I’ve noticed that the most disturbed people chose to stay single because they are bitter not because they are enlightened. Also, the most mature people are open to any possibility whether it be to stay single or fall in love. There is a problem in both extremes: someone closes themselves completely or yearning to find love. I completely disagree with your idea of love. There are few, albeit, rare couples who are functional and happy. Yes, certain priorities have to be rearranged and it’s not okay to be completely selfish. But that doesn’t mean that there true love doesn’t exist. I will admit that I have unresolved traumas which have a lot to do with my toxic relationships. I’ve found good men but I am unable to connect due to my traumas. One attracts those who are just as secure and enlightened as oneself.

  2. Oh my Goddess. I find myself in this situation. After breaking from my parents and having done self-therapy.and homework . Now this beautiful woman came into my life. On one hand experiencing the old feelings of being (extremely) in love. And on the other doing my homework every single day to remind myself that she cannot rescue me. And realizing the pain I had gone through when I was so young. It is so painful and at the same time enlightening.

  3. I have recently started to see through this illusion. The book “A Course In Miracles” talks extensively about the illusions of the “special relationship”. It says that we try to find in the other what we have discarded in ourselves. They become our replacement. And we become theirs. We are not really in love with them, but with our fantasy. We do not see them. We see only what we want them to be. It’s a fantasy. Every fantasy, through the belief that it is attainable, removes our own sense of completion. Fantasy deprives us of knowledge. The way out, is to value reality above fantasy. I would think this would play a large role in the unhealthiness of masturbation.

    • hmm, to some degree i agree with this idea, bart, even though i’m not a big fan of “a course in miracles.” i tried reading it some years back and found it pretty dissociated and kind of all over the place….. but i remember there being some good stuff in the book — though it took a while for me to wade through to find it. thanks for posting! daniel

      • hmm, ACIM is pretty straightforward. It just introduces the idea of “ego versus god” or “ego versus Holy Spirit” and then goes on introducing new aspects to better expand this juxtaposition. It just wants you to understand ‘what’s really going on here, exactly’. “This is what you believe, this is what is true.” One of the most valuable contributions to my understanding of trauma, is that it seems that trauma causes you to always want to “do” something. You are not at peace. I’m interested in discovering the nature of this doing. We seem to think that there is something we have to do in order to find peace, while this very thought causes us to lose it! Are we trying to “do” our way into peace?

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