How To Tell If You're Only In Love With The Idea Of A Person, According To 10 Women

Before I met my current boyfriend, I thought I was in love multiple times. Looking back on those relationships and comparing them to the way I feel about my boyfriend now, I've come to the conclusion that I didn't love them. I actually loved the idea of them. So how do you know if you're in love with the idea of a person as opposed to actually being in love with them? Take the great pieces of advice these women shared in a Reddit AskWomen thread.

Time will tell you the truth.

Like other comments have said, time. With my experience: I found myself so attached to the idea of what we “could be” instead of what we actually were, there was no “we” in this case. I became so obsessed with the idea I overlooked that they were human as well. I set unrealistic expectations of them when in reality that only made it worse. It wasn’t fair to them because I set such standards of them and it wasn’t fair for me because holding on to this “idea” was eating me up. It took me a long time, more than I wish it didn’t, to finally accept that this was the best it will get between us. At some point during that time I had thought I “loved” them in that way but I really didn’t, I just loved the idea of the “what if’s”.


If you're not in love, their appeal will disappear as you get to know them.

Time, and I honestly think just spending a lot of time around them helps. I think for all the people I thought I loved but really didn't, once I got to know them personally the appeal kinda disappeared.


Know if your feelings for them are stemming from loneliness.

Well, I'd be in love with the idea of someone if I can't be alone or fear being alone , but for the last few years I've started to really enjoy solitude and my alone time so I guess I'd only fall in love with a person who I feel as comfortable spending time as if I were alone with myself. I think that when you get to the point of blank honesty with yourself you stop falling in love with the idea of someone and start seeing the other as a partner, not someone who needs to fulfill a role in your life to make it more meaningful or better. And that means you always know how you feel so you know if the person is right for you off the bat. Society tends to push this idea we all need romantic love, and real love takes time and effort. I think that you should let yourself go in any situation, be it good or bad - there is a lesson to learn in everything we choose.


No, seriously. It'll take a lot of time.

Time- and more of it than most people think.
The first year of a romantic relationship is Limerance, supposition, speculation, and hope. Until you've known a person for at least a couple years, and been through some life experiences with them, I don't think you can begin to feel what I'd classify as love. Even then, we must endeavor to truly *know* a person, in order to say, we love them.
As well- *there's nothing wrong with not being in love right away!* Our society make this big hullabaloo about falling in love. People start freaking out, asking "do they love me" with in a month or two of meeting. It's ridiculous.
I think it's perfectly fine to feel a strong sexual chemistry, a fondness, a desire, an admiration, a rush of affection, or a comfort for someone- and for those feelings to be enough to keep dating (assuming your baseline for compatibility is met). Then, after a couple years of having a fabulous relationship, enjoying each others company, learning each other sexually, traveling together, experiencing life together, you look over at them and you know who this person is. Then you can really say it's love.


If you really loved them, you'd know.

Are they the first thing you think about in the morning? Do they make you a better person? Are they the first person you want to tell big news? Do you miss them even when they’re with you? Do you feel like you’ve known them your whole life? Do they annoy you incessantly? Do you want to call them at 4 in the morning just to tell them that you farted and it smells like peaches?
These are just some of the things that I realized when I knew that I loved my husband and wanted to be with him forever. Love is crazy and stupid and complicated and ridiculous and totally f*cking awesome. When you know, you know. Sometimes it’s hard to know, but you will always know.


Wait for the honeymoon phase to end.

It's something you'll be able to tell with time. If you just love the idea of someone, you're usually in love with what they can be instead of what they really are. Or you just want them around because you feel lonely and want to be loved. When the honeymoon stage fades and you start seeing flaws that you didn't notice before, this is usually where people jump ship if they're just in love with the idea. Being in love means you accept that everyone is flawed and human and that mistakes can and likely will be made. If you love someone you'll try to work with each other's flaws and compromise. You'll respect each other and try to talk things out.


Hone in on where you're at in life.

By self-reflecting how needy you are at this moment.
Are you in a phase where you are anxious, desperate, lonley or otherwise feel like something is lacking in your life? Then it's likley that you do some wishful thinking.
Are your needs met, are you in a good place, have friends and are overall relaxed and calm? Chances are that you can see the other person and your relationship much more clearly.


Real love is reciprocal.

It takes time to really get to know someone and being honest with yourself about how you feel. I’ve been with my husband for 8 years, for me I know I love him because even when I absolutely dislike him I still feel that affectionate love for him.
Can you tell this person your every secret? Can you leave yourself 100% vulnerable to them and trust them with that vulnerability? Can you see yourself sticking with them through not the best years but the worst?
To me true love is unconditional but if it isn’t unconditional on both sides then it’ll never work. It’s just as important to realize too that the type of love you feel for someone can change and evolve. Do you love them romantically or as a close friendship? Do you love them like family? You can feel physical, emotional, or mental attraction to someone without it being love.
Take the time to figure it out, learn more about them and yourself and don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions because life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.


Wait to see how you react when you see their true colors.

When you truly love someone it's because you see every part of them, even their flaws and love them because of them, not in spite of them. Like my boyfriend...he's not perfect. Sometimes he says the wrong thing at the wrong time, he's very forgetful, and can be a bit of a cynic which wears on me at times. But otherwise he's the most generous, thoughtful, sweet person I know and would do anything for me, more than I deserve. Because he's not perfect, it's easier for me to feel okay about not being perfect and not hound myself over little issues I may not be able to fix. Another thing about love you learn as time goes on is that it's not always passionate. There will be days with lulls where you don't feel quite as much as you used to in the beginning, but the spark always comes back around.
If you love the idea of someone, as soon as you see their true self, your affection can quickly dissipate because the image of them you have has shifted. You're not really seeing them, you're seeing what you want to see.


Making excuses for them is never a good sign.

When you make excuses for them that you wouldn't accept from other people.


At the end of the day the best advice I can give you is to listen to your gut. At the bottom of your heart, you know how you really feel.

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