The Difference Between Falling In Love When You Are Ready And When You Are Lonely

by Paul Hudson

Although I have fallen in love several times in my life, I have really only been in love once. Doesn’t seem to add up, does it? Well, I have only fallen in love one time, at a point in my life when I wasn’t especially lonely. It was when I was much younger and when, to be honest, I was doing just fine without a female companion to share my life with. That was the first time I truly fell in love – and now that I think about it, the last.

This happens to all of us who have had no choice but to give up on a first love. It’s a sad truth: Once you’ve fallen in love deeply, you yearn for that love; you wish to find it again. You become lonely. You begin to fantasize and create a reality that doesn’t actually exist. Then you fall in love with someone unworthy of it.

That first time you fell in love can’t entirely be described in words. It’s as if the emotions, the state of your being and your state of mind became a different entity entirely. You go from being you, to being this other person -- this person who needs this other person to survive. It’s as if you were just introduced to an organ that you rely on for life, which you never before even realized existed.

"Soul mate" is an understatement; it’s as if you have found a part of your soul that you didn’t know you had. It’s all incredibly overwhelming, to say the least. It is by far the most amazing, most intoxicating, most horrible and excruciating feeling in the world. And the second we get that first taste of it, we become addicts for life.

Unfortunately, as most stories go, we are forced into a withdrawal. I would like to say that more often than not it’s our own fault, but it’s never actually that simple. It’s you. It’s him or her. It’s the timing. It’s the situation. It’s the mistakes you made. It’s the mistakes you weren’t willing to risk. The stars didn’t align at the right moment in place and time, and hence, the two of your hearts cracked -- metaphorically, of course. Physically cracking you’d expect would be swifter and less painful.

So you go on living your life the best you can, never truly forgetting about that taste, that incredible aroma that filled your soul. We never forget those perfect moments we lived with the person we loved. Then we spend the rest of our lives looking for our next fix.

Loneliness is a strong motivator. It moves us to make -- I’m sorry to say -- some very, very poor decisions. I can tell you right now that I am very likely to make yet another poor decision in a few hours, in the hopes of maybe, just maybe getting lucky enough to meet someone who I’ll not regret seeing when I wake up in the morning. Although we may love every single other aspect of our lives, being human makes us need the companionship of other people. And if we were lucky or unlucky enough to get a taste of real love, we’re going to search for that next fix until we find it.

Which is how we fall in love without ever actually being in love. "Falling into infatuation" would be more fitting terminology, but not quite as poetic. We meet someone who is great, beautiful, fun, interesting enough. And thanks to our brains being able to imagine grandeur and provoke emotional responses, we can take that previous feeling of love and warp it to fit the new mold.

The funny thing is, we actually believe we are in love. We think about the person throughout the day with intense positive feelings. We imagine ourselves with this person for the long run. We feel a need to see him or her and to spend time together. Yet, more likely than not, we eventually realize we aren’t compatible; loneliness had us raise our hopes up very high.

Things only get trickier as you go through these episodes of loving and mock-loving. After a few runs, you begin to question each new relationship and begin to anticipate the falling out. Then, the question is, would it have worked had your mind been in the right place, or were you really not compatible to begin with? Are your standards unrealistic? Or are you actually selling yourself short and settling?

The truth is, you won’t know until you find the next person you truly fall in love with. At that moment, your perspective comes into focus and you clearly see that most, if not all, of your previous loves weren’t actually loves. Until that point, you are likely to try to revert and reach out to past failed lovers in hopes that you can rekindle the flame.

So, do you hold yourself back from loving until you’re sure it’s real? No. If it ends up being real, then you’ve made it. If not, then you surely had a good time for a good stretch, and because you now know you weren’t in love, moving on will be easy. Live and love as much as you can. Those will be the stories you tell when you’re old and wrinkled.

Photo via We Heart It