Do You Really Love Your Partner Or Are You Idealizing Them?

When you fall in love, it's normal for you to create an illusion. However, if you maintain it over time, is this really love? Here, we reflect on the difference between the two.
Do You Really Love Your Partner Or Are You Idealizing Them?

Last update: 20 December, 2021

When you start dating, everything’s usually wonderful. However, as time goes by, you start to know your partner a bit more. It’s then that you discover if you really like and love them as they are or if you’ve been idealizing them and living in a dream.

When it comes to starting a romantic relationship, it’s quite normal to form an image of the person you’ve just met. You tend to give them certain characteristics, attitudes, and personality traits based on very little knowledge. In fact, you base these ideas on how you’d like them to be.

You can’t avoid setting certain expectations and you might find you end up feeling disappointed. However, if there’s one thing that should be a priority in love, it’s accepting your partner just as they are. With all their strengths and weaknesses.

Idealization of your partner and your relationship

Idealizing your partner is all part of the process of falling in love, which, in our culture and society, is the first step to having a romantic relationship. When you meet someone who attracts you and seems to have some of the characteristics that you want in a partner, it’s inevitable that you’ll attribute other positive characteristics to them. In effect, you see them as you want to see them.

You pin all your hopes on that person who seems to be so wonderful and you transfer these feelings to your relationship as well. In fact, you think that the relationship is going to be great and you create an illusion. Indeed, it’s by putting all your hopes in that person and in what you’re building together, that you establish an emotional bond with them.

angry couple as an example of tension in a couple

However, over time, this idealization fades as you get to know each other better. Reality takes over. You now know them intimately, you know what they think, and how they react to different circumstances. At this moment, if your illusions and reality differ a lot, it can cause a real crisis in your relationship.

In fact, if, at this moment, they don’t fit in with what you want, you should really end the relationship. However, sometimes your feelings of desire are so great that you refuse to see reality. In fact, you try to mold the person according to your own ideas, or you just keep searching for that sign that confirms they’re your ideal partner.

You create reality in your mind, in such a way that you even create the people who become your partners or friends. In fact, you build in your mind an illusion of who they are, rather than seeing them as they really are.

Accept and love

When you realize what your partner’s really like, if you decide to continue the relationship, two things could happen. The first is that you tolerate and ignore those traits and attitudes in them that you don’t like, so you can keep your dream alive of how you thought they were. On the other hand, you can accept them for who they are and love them for the same reason.

However, this second option is much more difficult, since it requires effort and perseverance. Indeed, unconditionally accepting your partner as they are is both a difficult and a wonderful decision to take. You accept them without expecting them to change. You don’t complain about their principles, their physique, or their way of seeing life. As a matter of fact, it’s only under these conditions that you can claim you truly love them.

However, if they really don’t fit in with you due to the fact that they’ve turned your life upside down, or compromised your identity and your rights, accepting them unconditionally shouldn’t be an option. In fact, the process of de-idealization of the couple means you assess the weight and importance of those things that don’t comply with what you anticipated and expected. The kind of aspects that could end up being a problem in the long term.

Honesty

Ultimately, loving unconditionally and getting rid of the illusion that you created is an exercise in honesty. Be honest, especially with yourself, think about what you need, what you expect from a relationship, and if what you have is really capable of making you happy. Only then, should you decide whether it’s worth building something that goes beyond your previous expectations.

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