Do you know the difference between real and counterfeit love? Just like any counterfeit object or characteristic, it can be tricky to know and identify the real from the fake. Sometimes, even experts can’t tell what is genuine and what is not.
The fake stuff resembles the real thing in many aspects. The facade can look exactly like the true article. Hollywood sets with their cardboard exteriors are good examples of that. So when it comes to falling in love, if the object of your affection looks good, sounds reasonable, and seems to feel the same way you do, you may not get it that she is not what you think she is.
Even your friends and family could be fooled. You may hear people say, “You two are just the perfect couple. You are so lucky to have found each other!” People will often give you the opinion you want to hear. So you have to be aware of the red flags when you meet someone. When you combine chemistry with hope, loneliness, and longing, you might not be able to see if the love is real or not.
What are the defining characteristics that can signal to you what is real and what is fake? What are the warning signs that you need to pay attention to? Essentially, the fake love fades away or evaporates quickly when the chemistry wears off. But love endures, showing up in the actions and deeds of the two people.
Here are the signs of fake love:
Fake love, which is chemistry only, lasts anywhere from three weeks to a year and a half… and then disappears. Real love loses the immediacy of the chemical rush, but retains chemistry while it grows deeper and calmer. The onset of both kinds of love is marked by obsession. For a period of time, the two people in love cannot think about anything but the other one. They may lose weight, lose sleep, and lose all concept of time. Nothing else exists for them except the other person. When this chemical high wears off, the true picture of the person emerges. This can take some time.
Fake love is based primarily on physical intimacy and what two people assume about each other. They can see no problems; they cannot see characteristics that may create disharmony in the future; they cannot imagine any imperfections in the other one. Idealized qualities, lives built on fantasy, and a perfect future together is all they can think about. Each one insists that the other one is the greatest person they have ever met. The problem is, they haven’t really MET each other yet. They are relating to their idealized version. When this cyclone of projection comes to an end and the dust settles, the true person will stand before them. Then they can see each other through a clear lens and decide if they are right for each other.
3. Fairy Tales
Counterfeit love feeds off of the stuff of fairy tales. The women in the story want Prince Charming to swoop in and carry them off to the perfect life. They will have riches, happiness, and love in a land where nothing ever goes wrong. The man in the story, who felt like a frog, gets kissed by the princess and feels handsome, brave, and dashing. When two people get together and fall into the chemical cocktail, they may unconsciously believe this stylized version of life. When the chemicals wear off, they may discover they like each other, in which case, real love can develop. Or— the chemicals become toxic, the guy goes back to being a frog, and she takes off the tiara.
4. The Future
When two people meet and fall into chemistry, they may begin to plan their future together within weeks. Their “real” selves are not talking to each other here— it’s their counterfeit selves that can’t be trusted to make clear decisions.
What does REAL love look like? Fake love involves conflict, drama, and pain, once the chemistry wears off. Real love evolves into service, thought, care, and sincere emotions for the other. Real love is shown in loving acts – over and over – with no one keeping score. Real love responds to the needs of the other, flowing effortlessly from one day to the next.
Real love happens when two people honor each other’s values, standards, and purpose. They don’t just talk about it, however. They live it. They “do” love.
Interview: Kelly Wilson author of For the Love of Horses: The Wilson Sisters' Inspiring Journey to Save New Zealand's Wild Horses
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