Recently, I have been noticing an abundance of couples who seem madly in love. The only problem is they’re on billboards and movie posters. It has to be something more than great acting which communicates this dopamine effect. Is there something, beyond the sexual urge and the infectious look of bliss, that makes us want to trade places with these glowing gals?
I’ve done a little research, watching TED conferences about “The Brain in Love” and searching statistics on happy romances and failed love affairs. Yahoo.com news stories occasionally promote “10 Things That Turn Him On and Off,” but I resist the urge, knowing the advice is as common as horoscopes are vague. The most accurate data I can find on the subject of counterfeit love comes from experience and reason.
For example, a child unaffected by disillusionment and fear will easily tell you that hitting and yelling are not appropriate displays of affection. In fact, they suggest a lack thereof. Lying, likewise, indicates a massive insecurity and inability to encourage another’s good.
I understand these are extreme examples. Therefore, in an effort to make this post genuinely applicable, I am going to suggest evidence of less-than-love on a much subtler scale.
Disrespect: Making crude jokes nonchalantly, “copping a feel,” trying to impress you with stories of alcohol tolerance (or intolerance), treating your friends or family rudely, assuming you will end the date by having sex, or being late for engagements are signs of disrespect. This person is not upholding your dignity. Give yourself permission to demand real love that cherishes your very presence.
Distrust: Any truly loving relationship is built on trust. If you cannot rely on your man or woman to be out of your presence while simultaneously remaining faithful to you, your values, and your needs… this is not love. Yes, self-confidence is necessary on your part because low self esteem can be a supremely unhealthy trait. However, honesty with yourself is also vital. If stories aren’t matching up, cause for suspicion is rooted in facts (and not neuroticism), or your mate consistently leaves you at your most needed hour, chances are you can’t trust ‘em… so drop ‘em.
Impatience: Some people struggle with overactive anger, either by nature or nurture. Likewise, some people struggle with sloth. Both are avenues to impatience. If a person truly loves you, he will offer patience with your underdeveloped skills. She will encourage your mature development. Most importantly, this person will realize that no one in the world is perfect, and as such, you are bound to have some quirks.
Guilt: The instillation of guilt and the withholding of forgiveness are sure signs of counterfeit love. If you have hurt someone, be well aware it may take time for them to regain trust in your character. However, if they continually remind you of your failures, they are childishly wallowing in the past. Apologize sincerely, make retribution if necessary, resolve to be better, and go live life.