You might think you’re in love with your partner, but if you’re not 100 percent sure this is the case, you’re probably fooling yourself. As celebrity Lauren Conrad once famously said, “Love is not a maybe thing.” If you’re not in love with your partner, you might be in love with the idea of love instead. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to find that great love in life and you’re hoping that by working on your current relationship you can make it happen for yourself. You're treating your relationship like a work in progress! Another sign that you're in love with the idea of love is if you're hoping that your relationship looks perfect on the outside, such as on social media, because you're concerned with making a great impression on your followers and loved ones. But the problem with being in love with the idea of love is that it's centered around illusion. It's not the real thing. Could you be guilty of it? Here are 20 signs that you're dating someone you're not in love with. Instead, you've fallen hard for the idea of them and what they can bring to your life.
You know those tear-jerking romcom movie scenes in which the couple are kissing in the rain or walking hand-in-hand on the beach? Yeah, you want that in your life! But real love is about so much more than just those romantic scenes.
If you focus too much on creating them in your relationship, you're really just holding out for a fairytale.
Even though they can be fun, relationships are also hard work and you have to be prepared for that reality. If you're not, you're chasing down an idea of what you think the perfect love should be like.
You sometimes find your mind wandering to other men, even though you're dating someone. You might see a man who's so sweet to his partner and think you'd love to be with him. Or maybe you can't help but imagine yourself dating the new guy at work you're more physically attracted to than your partner. It's like you're always thinking the grass is greener with other people, but that's a recipe for disaster. By daydreaming about other people, you're missing out on what your current relationship can give you. It's not perfect, but nothing is!
You roll your eyes when your boyfriend suggests you have a quiet night in on a Friday night. You want to have more romance in your relationship! That's fine, but make sure you're not hoping for grand gestures of romance because you're chasing glamorized ideas of love.
Although being showered with gifts can be fun, it's certainly not the most important thing about love.
As pointed out by Bolde, having meaningful conversations and offering emotional support are some examples of real romance. It's really not about bouquets and surprise holidays.
You went on a first date with a guy and knew he was boyfriend potential two minutes into the outing. You have a tendency to fall in love with guys really quickly after meeting them.
But, real love requires you to know your partner inside and out — it's about so much more than feeling instant chemistry and a spark.
If you're associating that spark with greater connection and love, you might be fooling yourself when it comes to what love is about. You're allowing yourself to run away with your imagination a little too much.
You can't remember a time when you weren't in love. Even if you never got some of the guys you were pining over, you always thought about them and having a grand love. It's like you date people in your head. Clearly, it's not so much about the guys you're dreaming of loving, but more about what those feelings of love bring to your life. For example, maybe the feeling of being in love gives you a nice comforting feeling or it makes you feel safe, or perhaps it makes you feel excited when you're in a rut.
Your boyfriend has told you he isn't looking for anything serious, but you can't deny hoping that he'll change his mind and decide to commit to you. This is dangerous territory because you're hoping that reality will match the idea you have in your head that he's going to magically experience a change of heart. This will only lead to disappointment and heartache. If you're always choosing guys who are unavailable, maybe you're in love with being in love.
After a first date with an amazing guy, you told your friends you met your soulmate. Woah, what? Although he could turn out to be "the one," you don't know him well enough to make such declarations. By putting such a heavy expectation on things, you could end up preventing the relationship from developing in a natural way. This can also make you anxious because you're in a rush to progress to relationship milestones. In addition, if you settle on the idea that this person is your soulmate right off the bat, it can make you see them with rose-tinted glasses instead of seeing the reality of who they are, with flaws included.
You've got your perfect wedding down to the last detail and have the Pinterest boards to prove it!
There's nothing wrong with wanting to get married and even knowing the kind of wedding you'd like to have someday, but it can become a problem if you're obsessed with getting married.
It can get in the way of your relationships, causing you to come on too strongly with your partners too soon, or it can make you focus so much on getting married that you rush through your relationship instead of enjoying it for what it is.
Your partner is perfect for you, except for how they work too hard or don't want to commit. But that's okay, you'll just work really hard on turning them into your ideal partner. Yikes! Trying to change your partner will only backfire. Not only is it disrespectful to your partner because you're not valuing who they are, but, as Marriage points out, attempting to change your partner will make them feel unworthy while causing you to feel emotionally exhausted. Don't hold your partner to an unrealistic ideal!
If your partner really loves you and you know you don't feel the same way about him, this should make you end the relationship. But, if you're in love with the idea of love, then this could cause you to stay put.
You might think that if he loves you so much, he's worthy of being with. You might also like what his love brings you, such as how he showers you with attention and affection.
But is it really worth it? What's ironic is that instead of getting you the love you want, this strategy actually keeps you in an unsatisfying relationship and prevents you from finding a love that can be more perfect for you.
A clear sign you're in love with being in love is if you jump headfirst into relationships. You might find yourself in many whirlwind romances, too. This is because you love the feeling of being in love.
By slowing down instead and getting to know someone before you start calling them your forever person, you can slow down, enjoy the relationship, and prevent heartbreak.
You also avoid becoming a victim of love-bombing, which is when manipulators try to shower you with love to get you to like them.
When your partner displays his love for you, you feel like you're special. When you're single and don't have love in your life, your self-confidence drops. What's happening is that you're putting too much weight on other people's opinions of you. Without self-love, it's easy to depend on love from other people to make you feel happier. You might even want to be in love so badly that you create an imaginary version of your boyfriend. Mind Body Green states that if you're making up the person you think you're in love with, this can be a sign of being emotionally dependent on them. You need them to feel validated, but that's like using them.
Your partner told you he wanted to date you exclusively, and within minutes of hearing his words you logged into Facebook to share the happy news with your friends. Although it's normal to want to celebrate your relationship status with those you care about, if you place too much importance on social media in your relationship it can make you care more about how others see you based on the fact that you're in a relationship instead of caring about your relationship. And that's sad!
If you're in love with being in love instead of your partner, you might focus on one aspect of them, such as how handsome they are. This causes you to share lots of pictures of them on social media so the world can see you're together, but it also makes you put them on a pedestal. It's like they're perfect, sort of like the celebrities you dream about just because they're attractive (even though you don't really know them). The danger of doing this is that your love for your partner's looks can cloud their other characteristics.
You can tell if you're happy with the person you're dating based on how you feel around them. If you feel bored, restless, or down around your partner, clearly your heart's not in the relationship. So why stay?
Perhaps because you've built up an idea of who they are or the perfect person they could become.
This makes you stay with them longer than is good for you. Sooner or later, however, the bubble will burst and you'll see that you've been wasting your time.
If while you're dating your partner, you're imagining how much better your relationship can be in future, you're holding onto this ideal, even though your relationship is unhealthy or holding you back from living your best life. It isn't really worth it to hold out for the hope that some day your relationship will become perfect, especially if your partner's not meeting you halfway to become a better partner or give you the relationship you require to be happy.
You post a couple of selfies on social media and love the attention you get from them. On Facebook, anyone would think your relationship is full of happiness and fun, like a permanent beach holiday. But you might be posting so many images of you and your boyfriend looking blissed out together because you're trying to overcompensate for a less satisfying real-life relationship. Although creating the perfect relationship on social media might make you feel good, it's only temporary.
The problem with having such strong ideals of the perfect relationship but staying in a less-than-satisfying one with your partner is that they're both such extremes. It's like you think, "Well, if I can't have the perfect love because everyone says it's unrealistic, I might as well just stay with my boyfriend."
But, this extreme way of thinking limits your opportunities for finding love with someone who's better suited for you.
You're shutting off chances of greater happiness.
You care about what your friends think about your boyfriend and relationship. To impress them, you might tell them that he's wonderful even though they know he's toxic. Why do that?
You might think that pretending you're in a fairytale relationship will convince them and yourself that you really are, but this will only make you feel miserable.
It could also be a sign that you're settling for a less satisfying relationship out of a desperate need to be in love, no matter what. But it's just not worth it because you're living a lie.
It's unhealthy to try to change your boyfriend, but it's equally damaging to try to change yourself so that you become the perfect partner. If you're in love with the idea of being in love, you might think this is necessary to achieve the perfect relationship.
For example, you might think that you have to do certain things in order to be the best girlfriend for your partner, but these can put unfair and stressful demands on yourself.
If you're jumping through hoops to try to impress your partner, you're losing your real self in the process, which is sad.
References: Bolde, Marriage, Mind Body Green