I still think about what went wrong. Where did we fail? Where did it all go downhill? There were plenty of issues, many of them which I caused. Yet that wasn’t it, not really — not completely. Sure, you could make the argument that my toxic traits and self-destructive behavior at the time would have caused any long-term relationship to be eroded and shaken to its core. You’d be correct.
I was wrong. But there’s more to the story. And so I keep circling back to the same conclusion. You never loved me. Not really, not me. And I don’t mean this is an overly dramatic way, like, “Oh my God, you never loved me.” But you literally didn’t love me.
You may have thought you did, but what you thought was loving ‘me’ simply turned out to be loving the idea of me. You loved the idea of having a boyfriend, of having someone by your side. You love the idea of marriage and raising a family. When we met, you were at a turning point in your life.
You wanted excitement, someone to travel with, someone to break you out of your comfort zone. And at that point in your life, I just happened to fit that criteria. You met me and you were instantly hooked. Not because of me, but because of everything I represented. I was new, different, exciting. I wasn’t your long-term partner, but rather a simple placeholder. You didn’t fall in love, you became infatuated.
I think we sometimes don’t really love the person but rather we find ourselves falling in love with what they stand for. The idea of them rather than the individual itself. And ideas change, our status changes, our needs do. So when we fall for people based on our current needs, needs that may soon change because they’re situational, then we end up confusing love for infatuation.
It’s a dangerous game we play, and if we want to be honest, everyone has played it at one point or another. Chances are, you didn’t even know you were participating. We do it unknowingly and oftentimes without bad intentions.
But when things don’t pan out like we expected, when things become difficult, when our needs change, we oftentimes drop the person that we claim to love and find a replacement. It’s a vicious cycle that we need to be aware of and avoid. A person isn’t a toy that you just return when it’s defective or when you change your mind or become bored of it.
Don’t confuse love for infatuation. Because unlike love, infatuation always fades. It doesn’t last, not ever. You’re passionate about the other person, but when they don’t live up to your expectations, that infatuation quickly evaporates.
When you meet someone, when you date someone, when you start to build a life with someone, be sure to know that you actually love the person and not the idea of them. Don’t date someone just because you desperately want to show off to all your girlfriends how happy and great your life is. Don’t be with someone simply because it’s convenient.
Do you love the person or simply the situation they put you in? Do you love the individual or the fact that that person has money? Do you want them or do you want the security that they bring?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself. Infatuation is intoxicating, it’s addicting. You feel like you’re on cloud nine. But the higher you go, the deeper the fall becomes. It doesn’t last; at one point or another it’ll fail because your feelings for that person will change, either because of something they do or simply because your circumstances change.
The point is, don’t build a life with someone on the foundation of infatuation.