Love at first sight is a very romantic notion and can feel absolutely real when you meet someone amazing and feel intensely attracted to each other. But the saying should be connected at first sight because true love doesn’t begin until that “I can’t get enough of you” euphoria starts to fade.
So how do you know if you’re in love or infatuated? It’s tricky because what can feel like love is actually just hopeful thinking. Your thoughts create your feelings, and let’s face it; it’s really hard to find great chemistry. So when you passionately connect with someone it’s very exciting, and as women you have warm and fuzzy hormones being released that perpetuate loving feelings. However, you don’t really know each other yet. At this stage you have physical and sexual intimacy, which is how falling in love begins, but without emotional intimacy it’s just infatuation.
Emotional intimacy naturally grows during the first two months of a new relationship by talking and spending time together, by becoming part of each other’s lives. During this blissful time any issues you have are subconsciously suppressed. Some people call that putting on your best behavior, but you simply don’t know what you don’t know. You may be falling in love; or you may never get past the infatuation stage.
The unfortunate reality is that most relationships only last three to six months. That’s when the hard part begins; it’s the make it or breakup phase. It’s the time that your subconscious issues start to make their way to the surface. They either clash and tear you apart or deepen emotional intimacy and bond you together.
True love requires trust and feeling safe to disclose secrets and deeply personal information. That’s easier said than done for people with unhealed wounds from their childhood and past relationships. Jealousy, insecurity, fear, or anxiety all make emotional vulnerability scary for such people, so they erect an emotional wall for protection. Sadly it also shuts good people out. Relationships need to move forward or they eventually fall apart.
If you are soul-mates you’ll discover you have commonality, which means you have the same ethics, values, and goals. Everyone always thinks opposites attract but that’s only on a superficial level. At your core like attracts like. It takes two similar minded people who are fully committed to creating lasting love; which means treating each other with respect, and sticking together through the good, the bad, and difficult. When love is real it feels easy.
So when you connect with someone great enjoy every moment of those magical first two months, but keep your feet solidly on the ground to avoid breaking your own heart. Keep your thoughts in the present and do not fantasize about your future together. Visualization is very powerful and your thoughts can perpetuate loving feelings and create unrealistic expectations, throwing off the balance of your relationship. Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to get caught in a state of limbo where you feel love for your partner but you don’t feel deep emotional love in return. You absolutely can find better.
This column was written for Plenty of Fish Blog
Learn more about creating a healthy relationship and enforcing healthy boundaries in my book Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices.