12 Things It's Okay That You Mistook For Love

12 Things It’s Okay That You Mistook For Love

1. Sympathy.

It’s not your fault that you fell for someone who listened to you and actually cared. That doesn’t happen often in this self-obsessed, busy world. You found a kindred spirit who gave you something your heart not only craved but intrinsically needed. You opened up because you felt safe, you trusted that person, and you became emotionally vulnerable with them. It nourished your soul and thus you mistook it for love. Don’t feel silly. It’s an easy mistake to make.

2. Avoidance.

You thought that the person you fell for was on the same page when really they were just avoiding the topic at hand hoping that it would somehow go away. It isn’t your fault that they have emotional issues. You don’t have a responsibility to fix that person – but you do owe it to yourself to recognize the warning signs in the future. You deserve better and you shouldn’t let yourself fall for someone who doesn’t have the courage to tell you the truth.

3. Friendliness.

Interactions between humans are often confusing. One person thinks they are putting a certain vibe out there, but the other person might receive that information quite differently. It’s all about perception, so don’t feel bad that you mistook someone’s friendliness for love. It’s easy to do. If that person had been very honest and clear with you, you wouldn’t be confused. Next time you’re better off asking what you need to know – no matter how scary that might be.

4. Flattery.

It’s natural to develop an attraction to someone who compliments you and appears to think highly of you. Everyone likes to feel good about themselves. Perhaps this person laid it on so thick that you assumed there was something more there. Don’t blame yourself – that speaks either to a lack of awareness on their part or plain old carelessness in handling the feelings of others.

5. Indecision.

You can’t control someone else’s emotions or read their mind. This is the scary and risky problem with falling in love. If the two of you aren’t communicating, it’s quite easy to mistake many other things for affection. You might, for instance, think that someone is committed to you when in fact they are confused and still in the midst of trying to decide what they want. If they don’t communicate that to you, there’s no way that you know what’s going on. Don’t beat yourself up for thinking they wanted more than they did.

6. Dependence.

This is so commonly mistaken for real love that it’s almost laughable. You develop an attachment to someone, and whether it’s mutual or one-sided, it’s not a healthy, true expression of feeling. It’s additionally confusing because all relationships do tend to carry a bit of interdependence with them. That’s why you have to give yourself a break if you end up thinking you love someone – or that they love you – when in reality you’re only dependent on each other to a fault.

7. Banter.

You think you’re flirting and falling for each other. They think you’re just having a good time. It’s annoying but it happens quite a bit. It’s tough to tell if you’re on the same page with someone when you don’t know that person very well. What they may assume is simple, harmless conversation could look like the beginnings of something real to you. It’s complicated, and you can’t get upset at yourself for confusing the issue.

8. Narcissism.

Unfortunately, it’s rampant and narcissists are very good at manipulating other people, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s okay that you mistake the games of a self-absorbed sociopath for something more – how would you ever know better? It’s incredibly difficult to tell what’s going on under the surface. All you can do is save yourself before it’s too late.

9. Apathy.

Yes, it’s really messed up, but sometimes people literally hang out with you because they have nothing better going on. They figure, well, this person is into me and I’m bored, so why not? It’s incredibly insensitive and selfish. Do you deserve better? Of course, you do. It’s not your fault that they intentionally misled you for their own gain. It’s already hurtful, so don’t add to the pain by giving yourself additional grief.

10. Dishonesty.

This is related to apathy but it’s even crueler because it’s active deceit that the person knows is bound to hurt you. They probably hope you won’t find out, but that’s an unreasonable expectation. Whatever they’re lying to you about, it’s messed up, and it’s nothing you can control. You have to do your best to let it go while knowing you couldn’t have prevented it.

11. Manipulation.

You thought that someone genuinely cared about you, but in fact, they were using you. It’s incredibly common, and again, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for having optimism. You’re out there attempting to make a real human connection. That’s a beautiful, brave undertaking. Sometimes you really can’t tell that a person is manipulative – after all, it’s their mission to get you to trust them.

12. Hope.

Dear, sweet, human, don’t give up hope. No matter how many times you take a gamble and your dreams of love vanish into the haze, keep on believing. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who keeps on trying after being let down time and again. Fight the good fight and know that it’s no crime to hope that something is love, even when it’s not. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Amy Horton

Speak your truth. Be kind. Stay present. And don’t forget to play!