Most of us come to a point in a relationship when we ask ourselves if we’re in love. Whether it’s been a long-term relationship, a new relationship, someone we’re dating, or even a crush, we usually arrive here at some point or another. While there is no “right” answer, there are some additional questions we could ask that might get us closer to our truth. One of the questions we can examine is whether we are in love with this person or we are falling in love with an idea of someone.
Some of us might not know how to answer that question either, and that’s okay. It can take some internal exploration and knowing where to look. Below are four examples of what it might look like to be falling in love with the idea of someone. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it can get us started and warm our brains up for exploring this area.
1. We’re Over the Moon About Our Partner, Except When We’re with Them.
We might genuinely feel like we’re in love when we think about this person when there’s distance, but it just doesn’t feel right when we’re actually with them. If this becomes a pattern, it’s worth questioning whether we’re in love with an idea of who our partner is or if we’re in love with them.
2. We’re in a Relationship with Someone Who Doesn’t TreatUs Very Well.
We stay based on hopes of who our partner could be, even if they’re not making an effort to change. It’s one thing if both partners are actively working and making progress toward a happy, healthy relationship. It’s a whole different thing when we hold on to the fantasy of who they could be if only they treated us better.
3. We are Continuously Trying to Change Our Partner Into Who We Want Them to be.
We might try to change the way they dress, their weight, their hair, their job title, how much money they make, or even their personality and how they behave. Or maybe we’re not overtly trying to change them but we’re thinking how much more in love we’d be if only they’d change.
4. We’re in Love with Someone We Barely Know.
Think crushes, someone we’ve only dated a few times, even the early stages of a new relationship. When we don’t know someone well, we tend to fill in the blanks of what we don’t know. It takes a lot of time to really get to know someone. We learn who someone is by observing who they consistently show up to be across different environments, with different people, with us, and in general. Of course, we may fall in love with who they are once we get to know them, but until then we’re likely falling in love with the idea of someone.
If any of these resonate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in love with the idea of someone instead of them, but it is worth a deeper look. If they don’t resonate, it might be helpful to explore other examples, or a different question completely. For all of us, whatever our truth is, it is worth finding out.
If you or a loved one are struggling when it comes to relationships, relationship coaching may help. Learn more here.