Is it True Love, Romantic Love or just good ole Lust?

  • I'm sure everyone has looked back at past relationships and wondered "What was I thinking?" We realise in hindsight that a love relationship should have remained at the friendship stage or not even been entered into at all. Why do we go blind when we fall for someone?

    Have you ever been mesmerized by a guy/girl you work or got to school with? Is it merely infatuation, a strong shot of chemistry, or budding love: the real thing? Is Cupid being an impish child or bringing you true love forever?

    Actually, infatuation and chemistry are essentially the same thing. And they are a very, very long way from real love.

    According to Harville Hendrix PH.D. in his book "Keeping the Love You Find", chemistry or infatuation is actually an attraction to a person who combines:

    • The worst traits of our parents or childhood caretakers to infatuate us;

    • The negative traits that infatuate us and we possess but deny in ourselves;

    • The traits that we find infatuating but have been repressed in us by our upbringing;

    • The infatuating traits that society denies our gender.

    That person who infatuates us is, in fact, the last thing we consciously want.

    Hendrix says we all seek our "Imago," an unconscious image of the person our childhood programmed us to fall in love or become infatuated with. The Imago is like a homing device that drives us to repeat ourselves, choosing over and over the facsimiles of our caretakers' worst traits. When we find ourselves saying, "You're just like my father (mother)," this person who infatuates us is our Imago match. For example, a man who is seeking a submissive woman, just like the one that married good ol' Dad, is attracted to a woman at a party. Infatuation strikes! Why?

    He is unconsciously attracted to the way the woman demurely lowers her eyes when she is speaking; the way she is so agreeable. She is unconsciously attracted to his power stance and his take-charge air of authority. In short, he reminds her of her father, a no-nonsense, ruler-of-the-realm. You know, the one she could never please. He protectively puts his arm around her; she nestles his head on his shoulder. Together they contemplate true love and happiness forever. Love? No, chemistry and infatuation!

    We also seek an Imago who possesses traits of our "Denied Self." These are negative traits from our parents that we cannot bear to recognize in our own behavior. Hendrix states, "The anger that is so unsettling in your partner was unconsciously chosen by you not only because it reminds you of your mother, but to substitute for the anger you cannot admit to in yourself. Your perception of that anger is at least in part a projection onto your partner of your own inadmissible anger." By choosing a partner with the traits we deny in ourselves such as compassion or aggression, we can be a whole person without having to take responsibility for aspects of ourselves that make us uncomfortable. We seek in another person those traits that have been buried and repressed in ourselves.

    Romantic love or infatuation is really the "king of self-love." It stems from a desire for self-gratification, not love. Part of what we fall in love with is our lost or buried self. In short, romantic infatuation is an illusion of being in love with another person. In reality, we are in love with our missing selves. We are seeking fulfillment of our expectations by what our mate/lover can give us through association. We unconsciously want our parents back. We then strive to get the desired results we missed as children and make whole our lost or denied selves.

    Other psychologists have added that at least part of infatuation is buried memories of the first times we had actual contact of a sexual nature, even a quick fondle behind the barn. Long after names are forgotten, those memories become part of "chemistry" or infatuation. Psychologists have said for years that behavior that is learned can be unlearned. However, most psychologists agree that the illusions that cause us to become infatuated are quite powerful and would not be easy to relearn.

    Article from: cyberparent

    Love or lust?

    Think about how you really feel about that special person. Decide if you would still have the same feelings for him/her if he/she did something bad or something to hurt you. If your feelings would not change or you thought you would forgive them, you might be in love.

    Decide if you would feel the same feelings towards this person if he/she changed how he/she looked. If you decide that you would not feel the same feelings for that special person, then you probably feel lust.

    Evaluate how this person makes you feel. Determine if you feel love, trust and security from this person. If you feel jealous, ashamed, fearful or anything negative, then it is not real love.

    Get to know them really well before you jump in. Don't jump to conclusions. In many relationships, you may feel love, infatuation and lust all at the same time. So, give the relationship some time. Do your evaluation after you have been with the person for a few months. You really have to know a person well to determine if you really love that person. Talking via the phone or internet is no substitute for face-to-face gut reaction.

    Love is when you care about someone more than you care about yourself.

    Lust is when you want to sleep with them.

    Infatuation is when you can't stop thinking about someone, and you desperately want to spend as much time with them as possible. Usually when you aren't sure if it's love or lust, it's really infatuation.

  • Very very very very very helpful topic!

    So this is what you meant like 2 months ago, when you said what I felt for a girl was lust and not love, and that those feelings were not for her, they were really for myself. It was really infatuation, self love.The girl had traits that I also have, which sometimes cause people to make fun of me, including mannerisms, gestures, and being able to keep up with me at philosophical discussions.

    So that's why I felt we would be such a perfect match!

    This topic really motivates me to let go at last, and keep moving forward. YES WE CAN!


  • Hi Captain,

    I found your article interesting and was hoping I can post my question to you here and that you don't mind 🙂 ❤

    Thanks for reading 🙂

    I'm a capricorn, he's a virgo. He left about 6 months ago, we still talk since we have many mutual friends and we have an adoptive child. When we get into deep conversations it feels like we're breaking up again. I want us to try again, but he says he can't "right now".

    Last sunday we decided to stay away from each other to see if it will help him to miss me more, to show him how life is without me. We decided to only talk about the child and he will take the child 2-3 times a week. He said he will consider the situation, but to not expect him to get back to me within the week.

    He called me late last night, he hates talking on the phone and especially late at night. I didn't answer,didn't leave a message and he didn't text me either. He called again today, I didn't pick up, but he left a long voicemail with just background noise. Today he has the child. I'm giving him space to see life without me.

    Will we try again? Will his heart soften and his mind be open to the idea of trying again?

    Blessed Be

  • Contessaluna, I will answer you here but you should really post your own thread if you want a reading from me. This thread is for discussion of the topic.

    You answered your own question - "When we get into deep conversations it feels like we're breaking up again." Your partner is seeking a more light-hearted relationship as he feels very burdened by the responsiblity in your relationship. He wants more play and fun. If you can offer him that and not be so serious and tense in the relationship all the time - learning to balance fun and responsiblity in equal amounts - there is a chance for you two to succeed.

  • THANK YOU <3!!! Ever so humble....

    To stick with the topic of the thread, I must concur with the whole "finding your parent in your partner"... My high school boyfriend was to the T like my father and they are the same sign! However, slowly I learned that he wanted to control me just like my father and the relationship went south...

    I also in a relationship were it was just lust. The man had power and wealth and I was able to share it with him, however when it came down to being romantic and doing little things it always felt forced... I stood for his great movements in bed!

    Now I find myself loving someone that I wish I wasn't hurting and have decided it best to just leave it alone. I want him to be happy and if I'm making him miserable it pains me so. I don't want either of us to be in pain. Happy productive people is best for society...


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  • Hahaha, I'm probably in no position to say this as I'm only 21, but I BET there's plenty of non-teenagers to whom this information can still come to prove useful ^_~

    Though when one has nothing else, and is feeling lonely, it's probably hard to decline someone you're infatuated with, or feel lust for. But that's another story.

  • Loneliness is not a hole that can be filled by other people.

  • Dearest Captain,

    Excellent article! Thank you so much for sharing it. I'm very interested in phychology and have read similar articles on why we choose the people we do to share our lives with.Your article expressed some of the complexities in very easy to understand terms. "Loneliness is not a hole to be filled by other people" So true but I'd like to ammend that by adding "or things". What I'm beggining to understand is that so often we are not taught how to truely care for ourselves emotionally. We are often told as children that our very strong feelings of rage, sorrow and excitement are bad or wrong. That leaves us as adults, still having these feelings but not really knowing how to deal with them. Your article touched on the observation that we often seek to express these feelings threw other people.

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  • But lust without love is empty and unsatsifying in the longterm.

  • Mellove, so true what you say. Someone in Australia recently suggested people should be made to take parenting classes because of the skyrocketing in crimes committed by children. While I don't think people should be forced to do it, I wish there were classes available to help people work through their issues before they become parents so that they don't pass them on to their children. So that they become good role models and are able to give a good example of what real untainted love is.

  • I live in California and I really believe people not knowing what love is and not being able to handle their emotions is a world wide problem.( At least in developed countries) Parenting classes would be a huge step in the right direction. However, when you start to look at extended families and how patterns of behavior repeat, it is honestly amazing that any of us break out of them. I have a cousin that lives in Australia and so it will be very interested in how the parenting class idea plays out. I think if you are required to take classes to be able to drive a car, then basic parenting classes should be a minimum requirement prior to being responsible for the life and developement of another human being.

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  • Captain, I am so glad I came across this. Thank you for posting it. It does help some. However, I had some questions I thought maybe you could help me with. I've been in an on again off again relationship for a number of years now, and while I do believe I love this person, there are times when I question the relationship. There have also been times when I've stated out loud, even to other people, that I know this person is no good for me because of personality traits that seem a bit controlling. We are from different states, a pretty good distance apart and wouldn't have even known about each other had it not been for the internet and certain circumstances. The way we met led me to believe (at first) that we were meant to find each other because we were soul mates yet there are times when I wonder about this as well. I am currently in a situation with this relationship where I'm not sure what to do. I really hate giving too much information out in an open forum this way which is why I'm being so vague (and hoping that you can still help without many many details). If the vagueness makes it too difficult to give advice, I will happily email you if given your email address or give you mine if there is some way I can delete the post containing it immediately after you've received it. Anyway, what I was wondering about is simply this: if there are times I question this relationship and actually believe that it would be better to end things, then why is it there are other times when I feel like being with this person is just so simply amazing? Why am I so confused? And if I truly need/want to walk away, why can't I?

  • Email addresses are not allowed on this forum, unfortunately, Silentscreams. You could start your own thread in the psychic section if you need to ask more questions.

    This friend of yours has a kind of hypnotic fascination for you in that you are actually attracted in part to his bad qualities. You feel that his bad side mirrors yours and that you should stay together because you are so alike in this respect. It's like you feel you have met a kindred dark soul, but two wrongs don't make a right. It is not a healthy situation or attraction so I advise you to follow your own advice and break it off.

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    WoW you dont know how much i needed this makes me wonder if i ever was in true love i dont think so judging by this article

  • but what purpose does infatuation and lust and chemistry serve i mean i cant get over this guy even though he reminds me of my mother with all his stop whining remarks and his judgemental comments that he swears are not and with all his grow ups and motivational talks he is never really there when i need him just like her wow what a eye opener but why do i feel safe with him ughh me and my curiosity

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