Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson first gives you three quick examples of what can happen with false love; then tells of how false love is a lost and re-found concept; next touches on usual, common false love disasters; followed by some ways to protect yourself and loved ones from such disasters.
Has Something Like This Happened to You?Enthusiastically, and to everyone she met, Audrey professed her love for Bobby saying, “I know I will love him forever”. Six months later she broke it off to pursue a relationship with CJ. Dietrich and Elizabeth both absolutely knew they were in true love with one another because their feelings for each other were so strong and not like anything they had ever experienced with anyone else before.
Two years after their marriage they were in divorce court wondering why those feelings had vanished. Faith and George had fallen in love with each other at first sight. Their first months together were so very ideal, romantic and oh so passionate. They were totally certain true love had finally come their way.
A few years later neither one of them understood how Faith could have become so involved in a torrid affair with Harold, a married man with children. Now after much anguish and struggle, followed by reasonably good counseling all these couples came to the same answer as to why things went the way they did. All of them, independently, discovered they were led astray by one form or another of highly deceptive and destructive false love. They all then went to work on how not to do that again, plus how to grow and get into healthy, real love.
The Lost and Re-Found ConceptAt various times in history, it has been common knowledge and common practice to consider the issue of true or real love versus false love. Not so very long ago there were magazine articles, books, lectures, panel discussions, sermons and many late-night, private, intimate discussions about this very topic. When this was a common focus people seemed to have been more careful about deciding whether they were in a state of real love or something else. Lots of different terms were used to indicate that easily and quickly concluding that one was in love might be unwise and even dangerous – terms like enamored, moonstruck, smittened, love sick, having a crush, a dalliance or fancy (still used in the UK), and my favorite, twitterpated. All of these, and others, at least seem to have helped open the mind to the possibility that something other than true, lasting love could be occurring.
Perhaps because of the modern tendency to quicken, shorten and simplify everything, or perhaps because the ‘love’ word came to be a synonym for sex, or because it became popular to say that love was indefinable and, therefore, false love was indefinable too, these terms and related topics dropped from common usage and consideration. Once in a while one still hears the word ‘infatuation’ and newer terms like ‘main squeeze’ and ‘significant other’ which can imply that the existence of love is still in question. Some think it would be quite good for the older terms to come back so that we would have more categories to think of besides just ‘in love’ or not.
Thanks to modern science and much improved understandings and definitions of love, the subject of ‘real love’ versus ‘false love’ is once again something that can be productively considered (See Definitions of Love).
False Love DisastersFalse love can be seen as the cause of many divorces, many ‘broken hearts’, many addiction relapses, many betrayals, many deceits, many violent abuses, many wasted efforts, many neglected children and spouses, many severely hurtful episodes and no small number of love relationship-related suicides and murders. It has been common to see all these kinds of problems as stemming from individual mental illnesses, personal inadequacies, character flaws, personality disorders and the like.
Increasingly research into relational dynamics shows that interrelational syndromes and mutual patterns of maladaptive interaction, influenced by certain kinds of relationally triggered, bad brain chemistry may be more the root cause, or at least a strong contributor to what is happening in these personal disasters. False love syndromes seem able to happen to mentally healthy individuals as well as others. The well-adjusted, do indeed, also have love disasters, as do the highly intelligent and otherwise successful people.
False love ProtectionIf you develop a good awareness of how the various forms of false love can seduce, trap and harm you, and an awareness of how healthy, real love is different from false love, you may be able to protect yourself from false love relationship disasters and their accompanying, considerable agony. If you teach your children about the possibilities of false love, you may help protect them from false love disasters. If you go to the trouble to learn about ‘real love’ and ‘false love’, you may help protect yourself and others from relationship calamities. If you talk-over with friends and family what you are learning and ideas about ‘real love’ and ‘false love’, your understandings and awareness are likely to grow considerably. By doing these things you can protect yourself and help protect your loved ones.
See mini-love-lessons concerning various forms of False Love below.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Who would be a good person you know to have a discussion with concerning ‘real love’ and ‘false love’? Will you initiate that discussion?