Many of us make the mistake of confusing the concept of falling in love with actually being in love with someone. Movies, especially, offer distorted ideas of love and romance and it’s easy to fall for the words and actions of someone who mimics the manners of love, making it even more difficult to answer this question: Do I love him or the idea of him?
For one, true love is a whole other feeling. When Cupid strikes, you’ll just know. When you love someone, you’ll have a litany of reasons as to why that person rings your bell. But sometimes, one has to go through multiple relationships until you find the person you love. When you do, you’ll see and feel the difference in how you behave with them and how the relationship thrives.
8 Ways To Know Do I Love Him Or The Idea Of Him
Unfortunately, many of us get caught in a make-believe love trap. Sometimes, you’ll wonder, “How can I like him so much, when I barely know him?” It’s quite possible that you are someone who is in love with the idea of being in love. Do I love him or the idea of him — let’s try to figure this out, shall we? Look out for these 8 signs that will tell you that you aren’t in love with this person.
Related Reading: Are You A Standby Lover? 15 Signs You Are A Backup Boyfriend
1) You don’t actually get along
Sure, you hang out together. You even hold hands because that’s what people in love do, but it feels mechanical. You’d just be as happy not to hold his hand. It makes no difference to you. When you are together, you don’t have much to share in terms of conversation. Each time you meet, you are left wondering, “How can I like him so much when I barely know him?” In fact, he downright bores you and you wish you were home instead, reading that exciting book you just bought.
If you don’t actually get along, yet you still think you love him, then an inquiry into your feelings might help you get perspective on your couple dynamic. Ask yourself a couple of questions like: Do I like him or am I just lonely? Do I love him or the idea of him?
2) You are more in love with him when you are apart
When you are lonely or bored, that’s when you think about him. The longer you don’t see him, the fonder his memory becomes. Let’s say, you remember that he is quite funny and he makes you laugh a lot. But then when you are with him, everything is a joke to him, even your problems. You begin to get irritated with his selfishness. Basically, he sounds like a great partner in your head when you’re away from him, and you start to get clarity when you spend an hour together.
It would serve you well to stop loving the idea of someone. It’s not necessary to have a partner just because your friends have partners. Also, if you met someone on Tinder who was nice and both of you had great sex, it doesn’t mean you have fallen for him. Maybe ask yourself: Do I love him or like him for his sexual abilities or because he can make me laugh? Can he tell that I like him for superficial reasons only?
3) He’s told you he doesn’t want to commit
When a man says he does not want to commit, it’s pretty clear that he would like to continue playing the field or he’s not ready for a relationship. He either has other sexual partners and you are just one of the people he likes to be with, or his life doesn’t have space for anyone right now. If a man has clearly mentioned his arrangement with you and you continue to paint rosy pictures of a future together, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.
Ask yourself: Do I love him or the idea of him being all mine? Is it the challenge that’s pulling me toward him, instead of love? Think deeply, and you will discover that you have probably been deluding yourself into thinking you love this man and that one day, he will be your partner. He probably won’t, because that’s not his focus in the relationship. It’s up to you to accept it.
4) You don’t have the same values and priorities
You are an animal lover and he isn’t. You love to help other people and he feels it’s a waste of time. You are passionate about environmental causes and he couldn’t care less. When there’s so little in common between the two of you, the ‘do I love him or the idea of him’ thought begins to take shape. The more you think about it, the less the two of you have in common.
It’s not necessary that your partner has to be like you but couples need to have common values and priorities in order to respect each other, and to take the relationship forward. Having a partner very different from you might require you to ask yourself, “Do I love him or like him enough to date him?” You might find some of his quirkiness interesting, yet the relationship lacks pizzazz. Or, in fact, you find that his callousness is beginning to annoy you. Then it’s time for you to stop loving the idea of someone and remember, it’s better to be without a man than with one who has nothing in common with you.
5) You wish he could change
Falling deeply in love with someone means accepting the whole package. You can’t just take the parts you like, and discard or ignore the parts you don’t, and then hope you can change him to fit your idea of an ideal man. If you are frequently wishing he could behave differently, that’s an indicator that you are in love with the idea of being in love and cannot truly accept him.
Sure, no one is perfect. There will always be parts of a man’s personality that will be different from yours, and you can still have a wonderful relationship together. If you are not sure and are still wondering, “Do I love him or the idea of him?”, why don’t you ask yourself what changes you would like to see in your man. If you have a huge list of flaws which you cannot accept, then you probably only love the idea of him as your partner.
6) You often feel disappointed
If you love someone only in theory, the chances that they disappoint you will be frequent and many. They will rarely live up to your idea of romantic love. It’s important to ask yourself, do I love him or the relationship? The illusion of love can never be a substitute for the real deal. Even if you pretend not to notice his incompatibility with you, you will still feel an inner sense of disappointment and anger when he is around you. We hope this answers your ‘do I love him or the idea of him?’ conflict, even if it’s a hard truth to face.
7) You can imagine being with an old flame
When you love the concept of love rather than the person you’re with, then mentally replacing your partner with someone else is easy. Soon, you find yourself doing it quite often. You think about an ex all the time and imagine intimate encounters with them. Or you might find yourself looking at other couples around you and wishing your relationship was more like theirs.
To get clarity on your ‘do I love him or the idea of him’ question, ask yourself how attached you feel to your partner. What separates authentic love from the concept of being in love is how comfortable and attached you feel to this person and how authentic you are when you are with them.
Related Reading: What Is Fear Of Commitment And How To Deal With It?
8) You are afraid of being alone
Have you ever asked yourself, “Do I like him or am I just lonely?” If you have, you are not alone. One of the biggest reasons many people stay with someone they don’t truly love is out of fear of being alone forever and worse, not ever finding someone who will truly love them in return.
People tend to choose comfort and familiarity rather than take the risk of finding someone compatible with their core values and needs. When you act out of fear rather than love, you tend to settle for anyone who shows you any affection and label it as love. You’d rather have a partner than face your feelings of loneliness. If you’re thinking, “Can he tell that I like him only to get rid of my loneliness?”, then maybe at some deep level, he probably knows you’re not as attached to him as he is to you. He deserves better, and so do you.
We hope that when you fall in love, you won’t need this facade of ‘being in love as a concept’ and can embrace love with the right person with all their wonders and flaws. After all, we all want to experience true love with all its fire-crackling beauty.
In order to do that, we need to remind ourselves that a good and healthy relationship encourages both partners to learn, grow, and thrive — separately and together. We hope you find true love in which you can be your most authentic self and don’t have to lie to your partner, or yourself.