I'm not sure about you, but there are times where I will see a guy in the street, become instantly attracted to him, will never see him again, but will start making up loads of imaginary scenarios in my head that involve the two of us living out our lives together. This is me being in love with the idea of the person I think that guy is, but the reality is, he may not actually be like that. You may think that this is a normal thing to do, however, some people also do this with their actual partners. I know I have in the past. Sometimes, things start going a bit wrong between the two and sometimes, as a way to put off the impending break-up and to convince themselves that everything between them is great, at least one of the pair will probably make up the same imaginary scenarios in their head as I do with the stranger on the street, except this time it will be about their partner. And this, folks, is what they call being in love with the idea of someone, but not actually being in love with them.
Of course, this doesn't just exclusively apply to your partner. It can also apply to my scenario above of seeing a random stranger in the street; as well as applying to an ex-partner who you think you miss and are considering getting back together with because you think you still love them. Let me tell you, you don't really love them, you just love the idea of them. You know, that idea of them. Maybe that idea is real, for example, you love the idea of the person your partner was when you first got together. In some cases, that is the person they really are (or were). In other cases, they were pretending to be someone they're really not just so you would fall in love with them.
In terms of the first version, many people may act a bit differently at the beginning of a relationship compared to the end of one. We've all done it. It's not that that person isn't who we really are, it's just that we're trying to get to know someone new and in the process are trying to figure out how we should behave and at what points it's acceptable to show other aspects of our personality. For example, you're not necessarily going to start taking the piss out of your partner in the very early stages of a relationship (obviously, every couple is different), but are more than likely to have started taking the piss out of them at some point later on in the relationship. Not in a nasty way, but just in a way that they can also see the funny side of it, otherwise it's just plain bullying. You (or they) may also be a little bit more attentive at the beginning of a relationship than you are towards the end of it. This is normally because you are both a bit stressed and want to get to know each other and want things to work and just really want to go out of your way to impress the other person. I'm not saying that if you've been in a relationship for a year or longer you're no longer attentive to one another, but I know from previous experience that it can sometimes feel as though that attentiveness and spark that may have existed at the beginning of a relationship has gone, when in actual fact, your relationship will change over time, sometimes for good, and sometimes for bad.
But then you have the second version. This is the version that everyone hopes to avoid, but there are just times where you fall for a version of a person you think exists, when in reality that person never existed and they drew you in under false pretences. I have been in this situation before and let me tell you, it's no situation anyone should ever have to be in. This guy I was with came across as really polite and lovely, but behind closed doors, he was the complete opposite. He would say really nasty things to me about my appearance and weight. He would find it acceptable for him to spend time with girls who were his friends, but if I spent any time with a guy who was my friend I would be completely in the wrong. But in front of everyone else, he was lovely. I kept telling myself that this nice version was real and that it was normal for him to be acting and saying the things he did and kept trying to convince myself that things were the same as they have been at the start of our relationship; when they were very much the opposite of that. These type of people act lovely at the beginning to draw you in and then start turning horrible when they realise that they've got you completely under their spell and that the chances are you won't leave because, at the time, you don't realise that you deserve someone way better than them.
I guess we are all very imaginative in one way or another. For me, like I am sure is the same for some of you reading this, my imagination mostly starts going into overdrive when I see/meet a guy that I really like (either for his personality, looks, or both) and I begin to make up scenarios in my head of what I think they might be like. Sometimes these scenarios turn out to be true. Other times, they turn out to be the complete opposite to what you hoped they would be like. I start to fall in love with this idea and always try and convince myself that this is the person they really are when in reality, they're probably nothing like that. Let's take TV crushes, for example. You have this idea in your head of what they are like as a person and what it would be like if you were together. But the reality is that they're probably not like how you think they are. I'm not saying that they're not anything like how they come across on TV, but I'm reasonably certain everyone acts differently on a personal level compared to how they act on a professional level. This goes for the people you see on the street. Whether you get to see a part of their personality or not, the idea you have of a person is not always real. You can convince yourself that it is, but nine times out of ten it's not. Even if you got part of it right, there's bound to be one part of that person that you got completely wrong. Therefore, you can only be in love with the idea of that person. You don't actually love them.
If you are in a relationship and feel as though things are starting to come to an end, but for whatever reason, you are trying to hold onto it, you don't love that person, you love the idea of them. You love the idea of the person they used to be, but not the person they are now. The same goes for an ex. Obviously, with exes, every situation is different, but in most cases, an ex is an ex for a reason. You may occasionally want to get back with an ex, but at the end of the day, it is more than likely that you are in love with the idea of what they used to be like and are not in love with them as a person now. You may disagree with this, but in the majority of cases based on my own personal experience and from seeing/hearing/knowing about other peoples experiences, it is true, whether you like it or not.
What would you say is the difference between being in love with someone and being in love with the idea of someone? Have you ever been in this situation before? What advice would you give to someone who isn't sure whether they are in love with someone or are just in love with the idea of them? Let me know in the comments below.
Love Beth xx