Love: the first emotion felt once we are born. As we look into our mother's gleaming eyes, we know we are loved.
From this moment on, we base our idea of love off our parents and the love they share with us. We form our own emotional bias of what love is and how it should be felt and expressed.
In regard to dating, when we meet someone new, we learn about his or her life on a surface level: where he works, what she does for fun, where he's from, where she wants to be in life, what his favorite food is.
Sometimes, we form this image of people in our minds. We think we know them, but we only know their surface-level selves, combined with our own bias, which is formed from prior relationships.
As Don Draper from "Mad Men" said,
“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it. Because we want them to be who we want them to be.” (Season Four, Episode Eight)
In this generation, it’s very difficult to dig any deeper than the surface-level of someone. People are scared to be vulnerable; people are afraid to show their authentic selves.
It takes a long time to fall in love with someone; it’s much easier to fall in love with the idea of someone. The idea of someone only includes his or her best qualities: a smile, the way he or she made you laugh, the one time at the bar. You think of the good times over the bad.
You think of people how you want to think of them, not how they truly are.
When you love the idea of someone, you overlook his or her flaws. You only focus on the positive and disregard the rest. You see past any red flags or warning signs.
Truly loving someone is another story.
Loving someone for who they are is a much deeper, stronger circumstance. When you love someone, you are in love with not only his or her physical and emotional being, but also his or her soul.
You are accepting of flaws, their worst decisions, their embarrassing moments, their failures, everything they are, everything they can’t be and everything they have yet to be.
Loving someone even means accepting and caring for him or her when he or she hurts or disappoints you. The love of your life could break your heart and you would still love him or her.
Personally, I don’t know if I’ve been in love, but I have loved the idea of someone. There were times in the past I thought it was love, as I accepted him for what he was, but I also kept dwelling on the past, specifically, who he was in the past.
People will always change. You can love who someone was and not who he or she is now. This is called falling out of love, which happens all the time.
So what happens when you fall in love with the idea of someone?
It feels like you’re in love, but it eventually fades. He or she becomes a memory, sometimes, a lesson. But it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.In fact, it may hurt more.
The idea you constructed in your mind is fabricated. It isn’t real. It is a person your imagination created.
You try to rationalize it the best you can, but you can’t. You can’t blame him because he wasn't who you thought he was and he was never that person in the first place.
After a while, we notice the flaws. We notice the red flags and realize it wasn’t love. It was infatuation, which can be just as confusing.
The crazy part about all of this is we really don’t know what love is. Love just is. We’re still learning. After all the years we’ve been on this planet, the one thing that’s kept the world thriving is still a mystery.
It is the best mystery that may never be solved.