The other night I happened to turn on my TV and stumbled on ‘The Bachelor”. I had never seen the show before but had heard of it. I decided to watch and see what it was all about. WOW! What an eye opening experience it was! Now I know why so many people come to see me distraught about their relationships.
First, let me say that I think the show is a great tool to teach the difference between infatuation and love. But what the show lacks in teaching is what true love is all about. Love is something that builds with time and gives the freedom to be our self. We have a lot better chance of finding true love when we love who we are. We love who we are when we know our strengths and weaknesses, keep on striving to bring the best out of our self and know what is most important for us. And when we love who we are, we don’t give our self away to someone before actually knowing if that person is good for us.
Infatuation on the other hand shackles us and is the idea that a person/thing/event will fill in our inner void and make us happy, often for the rest of our life: “If only I could have XYZ in my life, my life would be so amazing”. And every single person who has ever had this experience discovered the opposite side of the coin so they could hopefully learn how to truly love. For example, I had a client who had been lonely and desperate for romance in her marriage, divorced her husband and craved attention so much that she fell for a man who knew how to be romantic. She confused this for love and ended up loosing $7000 because he knew what to give her to get what he wanted:. Predators will take advantage of desperation and we are desperate when we don’t feel worthy of love and of having what we desire.
Because the object of our infatuation often ends up defining who we are, we are willing to do whatever it takes to have it and it rules our life. It decreases our freedom to be truly our self: If we don’t get the object of our infatuation we are devastated. In “The Bachelor” many of the women seem totally obsessed with needing to get married and feel great anxiety at the idea of being rejected. Maybe when they first signed up they just thought it would be a good fun thing to do to have a neat experience. But as the women get more involved in the game you can see how it becomes important for them to get picked. Their sense of worth/self is becoming defined by it, which leads to emotional turmoil as they are now at the mercy of what the bachelor will do or not do with them.
Watching this episode emphasized a #1 rule I have – which is:
Rule #1: Do not give your heart away to someone who may not want it! It comes across being needy, which is not attractive, except to a predator, and second you will most likely get hurt. In this example the bachelor has no choice but to take his time to get to know the women. It is not personal and if they really loved the guy, instead of being infatuated with him, they would understand that and want to give him time.
This is my definition of love: love is wanting the best for another being while respecting our needs. The bachelorettes and bachelor are going to have to make some decisions if they love themselves: The women are going to have to ask themselves at some point “Is this fair to me to go through this process?” and to the extent they have a true connection with him, they will stay longer in the game. The bachelor on the other hand is going to have to let go of his fears of hurting the feelings of the women he knows are not the right one so he can listen to his heart and do what is good for him.
Ultimately the more the women are solid in their sense of worth, the longer they will last in this game until he decides whether or not she is the one. At some point however some of the women are going to have to ask themselves whether this guy is really worth it. The bachelor is going to have to learn the difference between infatuation and love if he wants to find his mate, infatuation will come and go and love will be steady.
Throughout the show, all the participants are in a pressure cooker and as a result will learn huge lessons in love and that, in my opinion, is worth it all!