A young woman comes to see me because she just got dumped and she can’t stand the pain anymore. She wants me to help her feel better. The way I help my client mend their ‘broken’ heart is by helping them better understand the difference between LOVE and INFATUATION. I don’t believe we break the heart because we can heal the pain so quickly by reconnecting with our heart instead of letting our emotions take over. Her story is one I hear so often among women. She had fallen ‘in love’ (really in infatuation or need) with an older man who was at the beginning smitten by her and after just six months had dumped her ‘just like that’. She was obsessing and wandering what went wrong?
She went on to tell me how perfect, successful, handsome he was and how he had wanted to be with her all the time. He would text her while at work, call her at lunchtime, come over almost every night. He would bring her little gifts and she could see how happy she made him feel. And now, just like that, he was gone! And she felt devastated!!!
This is such a common scenario and unfortunately one that scares people from having loving relationships.
Love by definition is the safest, most fulfilling experience we can have and that is why we need to debunk that infatuation has anything to do with love.
This story is a great example of infatuation – which may be a prelude to love – but it is not love. It is what happens when as a result of feeling lonely, being afraid or depressed – we get infatuated (addicted) to someone we feel could save us from our woes.
Infatuation happens when we give the power to someone to make ‘all of our dreams come through’ instead of being actively engaged in making them happen ourselves. Being in a consciously loving relationship adds to the beauty of our life but a relationship in itself cannot fill all of our voids: even if you have the best mate in the world: if you are miserable no one can fix that for you.
Women often fall in infatuation when they don’t feel attractive enough and are scared they will never be able to find a spouse: A man pays attention to them and they start obsessing about him. A little voice inside may tell them he is not right for them, but they ignore the warning signals because they are petrified of being alone otherwise. At first silencing the voice works but then sooner or later it becomes obvious and the fighting begins and then they breakup – now she is even more afraid of being alone and may think it will like that ‘for the rest of her life’. She will start the cycle with another man and may stay with one at some point by fear of not being able to have any better but I am sure you can foretell that it won’t be a very smooth relationship.
Another way women get themselves in trouble with men is if they don’t believe they have the ability to make enough money to live the lifestyle they dream of having. They find a man who can take care of them financially but this is another type of relationship based on need versus love.
When we love someone we support and challenge them, when we need someone we let them get away with things we would not otherwise. The person on the receiving end knows when they are out of line and if unchallenged gradually starts to feel that something is off balance, that there is more neediness than love: They know they are needed and not loved and gradually become more resentful. I find that this is often the mechanism behind ‘abusive’ relationships.
Infatuation may be a necessary ‘high’, a mechanism to move us towards being in a relationship as otherwise why would we chose one person over another? It is only important to know that infatuation is not love and it is wise not to give your whole heart to someone until you know they are committed to working at this relationship with you. Anyone who has had the experience of infatuation three or four times in their life knows the difference.
Wisdom tells us that the high of infatuation will eventually lead us towards some depression or resentment unless both partners are committed to learning how to love each other.