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If It Feels Like This, It Probably Isn't Love

by Jonathan Morris Schwartz 14 days ago in love · updated 13 days ago

It's infatuation, obsession, or mania

If It Feels Like This, It Probably Isn't Love
Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash

Is some love so strong, it never dies? 

You engage in a whirlwind, mind-blowing, spine-tingling, breathtaking love affair and relationship. After several months or years, you realize you're not compatible and break up. 

You date or marry someone else….but still can't quite get your mind off of him or her. 

Sure, you manage to stop thinking about the person 24 hours a day, yet continue to get a predictably euphoric sensation whenever you indulge in what-if, could-have-been, or might-still-be, thoughts. 

Why do some people fade from our consciousness and others become the "one that got away?" 

Infatuation 

While infatuation is often defined as being short-lived, it can lead to something much more mentally and emotionally permanent - call it a gateway love drug. 

Sometimes, infatuation never fully goes away. It transitions into something more intense and lasting. 

Sadly and strangely, you don't know if you're simply infatuated or psychologically "in too deep" until time has passed. 

Only in hindsight do you know if someone has permeated your life so strongly, you may never be able to fully let them go - even if only in your mind's eye or imagination. 

Obsession

Why do some people smoke one cigarette or have one drink and never do it again? And others smoke and drink excessively their whole lives?

Why can some people go through life having one love affair after the next without any apparent residual regrets or ongoing desire?

Why do we become obsessed with someone, who at least on paper, is the worst person we should ever be with?

Answer: obsession (aka compulsive thoughts, addictive mental behavior, uncontrollable recurring thoughts)

Dolly Pardon has a great song entitled, "Here You Come Again" with the lyrics: 

"Just when I've begun to get myself together

You waltz right in the door

Just like you've done before

And wrap my heart 'round your little finger."

Just as ex-smokers and ex-drinkers try to avoid being exposed to those habits so as to not be tempted, we all know there are certain people who hold a strange power and influence over us - inexplicably. 

Mania

Perhaps the reason for being love addicted to someone has more to do with how we all swing from one extreme emotion to another. 

While it's difficult to draw the line between normal mood swings and conditions such as bipolar, we all experience emotional ranges from pain to sadness to euphoria. 

If there was a way to know how we're going to feel in the future if we stop seeing someone we currently love, we might be willing to hold on more tightly to someone while we still "have them." 

What is love?

Unfortunately, we don't know if we can live without someone until we try living without them. 

Will our minds, bodies, and souls forget about them and, therefore, move on to someone "better" for us? 

Will infatuation turn to obsession and mania - long term?

Is it possible we can't know if we truly love someone until they're gone?

Is it possible to love people with different levels of intensity ranging from pleasant attraction and admiration to compulsion and addiction-level obsession? 

It depends. 

For most of us, "Love" is something we actually experience and is retributed. In other words, love is the process of learning, growing, and sticking together over time - come hell or high water. 

For some, "Love" doesn't have to be "real." Why do you think we're embarking on a virtual world of sex robots and "invisible" romances where we can present ourselves as we wish to be seen - not as we actually are. 

That's the whole concept of the metaverse: you enter a world where your dreams and fantasies feel like they're coming true. 

Summary

There's nothing wrong with fantasies and dreams. If allowing yourself to occasionally wonder what it'd be like to "try again" with a past love brings you emotional joy and euphoria, give yourself that indulgence. 

If virtual love feels real enough for you, follow your digital bliss and enjoy. 

If, like an expensive piece of chocolate or a grass-fed filet of Wagyu beef, you occasionally wish to indulge yourself with the thought of romantic possibilities with someone you just can't seem to get out of your mind, what's the harm?

But if you're looking for the real thing, that's gonna require something in short supply with all the technological temptations we face.

Actual love means hanging in there, even if only by your fingernails. 

So to paraphrase Dolly Parden, if someone's got you wrapped around their little finger, at least be consciously aware of it. And know, you're vulnerable to their desires and commands. 

Do I know what love feels like? Yes, I do. 

Do we sometimes get another chance to re-explore romance with someone whose love survives the test of time? Of course. 

Can true love exist as merely a fantasy in our minds? 

Not fully. 

And unlike compulsive smoking and drinking, nobody's ever died from too much love - no matter how you define it.

love

Jonathan Morris Schwartz

Jonathan Morris Schwartz is a speech language pathologist living in Ocala, Florida. He studied television production at Emerson College in Boston and did his graduate work at The City College of New York.

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