When it comes to the subject of love, everybody has a story to tell. At some point in our lives, we have experienced having our hearts broken, falling in love, falling out of love or yearning for someone out of our league. Love does seem to make our heads spin and take the wind out of us when we least expect it to.
Complex and Challenging
The thing is, so much complexity surrounds this subject. There are no clear-cut standards to adhere to. Parents, relatives and experienced friends would often tell you to use your head and be careful with the people you date so you do not end up a fatuous fool for love. We watch countless of romantic movies, read romance novels and try to put ourselves in the protagonists' shoes, hoping that we find our own happy ending one day. And just when we think we've got it all figured out, something happens to challenge our ideals.
Cheating happens. The love you thought would last forever suddenly disappears in a puff of smoke. Both of you are too busy to make an effort. The ex enters the picture. Your would-be mother-in-law does not seem to like you. You suddenly realize you don't really know the person you fell in love with. The challenges are endless.
But be thankful. Challenges can be a double-edged sword. Not only do they measure the depth and sincerity of your feelings, but they also reveal whether you and your partner are meant for each other. Is it really love or are you simply in love with the idea of loving and being loved?
Because love is a complex, multidimensional feeling, you can get stuck in the labyrinth and fail to come out intact. While others cannot seem to move forward and explore the possibilities before them, some people learn from their past and grow wiser.
Love versus The Chase
So how exactly can one distinguish love from "the chase"? Mind you, I'm not an expert on love. No one is. The list I'm going to share to you now is based on a collection of personal experiences and years of careful observation and mulling over the subject. The complete definition of love still escapes me, but I do know how to spot a person who's in it for the chase.
Here are some tell-tale signs that you're looking for something else and not love:
1. Impatience and pushiness
Understand that feelings have their own time and place. If you're in a hurry to get a boyfriend or girlfriend for whatever reason, when you want the person you're courting to give you an immediate answer, when you think everyone you date is "the one," and when you feel bad that they're unable to message you right away, you're actually pushing love away.
Having a boyfriend or a girlfriend does not automatically translate to love. Love endures only because people take their time to know each other - from their best to their worst. Pushing your feelings to the limit instead of letting it build up naturally is a recipe for disaster. Because you're more concerned with your immediate emotional needs, you forget to take the other person into account. That is not love at all.
2. Adopting a trial and error approach
I have no qualms about dating as long as your heart is in the right place. However, serial daters are another story. These people are thrilled with the idea of loving. When the prospect of real love stares them in the face, they become scared and quickly change gears. They want to find true love through dating but the dating game (along with the concept of hookups) gets the better of them.
If anything, this type of approach is hardly conducive to love. You start the game already entertaining the prospect of losing your date - that you can discard them anytime you feel "it's not working." But if little setbacks discourage you from sincerely pursuing someone, how do you think you'll cope once you're in a serious relationship or start a family for that matter? That's something to ponder on.
3. Too much public display
Love speeds best when it's not subject to public opinion. In other words, when you want to have a relationship with the one you love, you're in it for them - and not because you know he or she is someone you can show off to your friends and colleagues.
People who think having a girlfriend or boyfriend will raise their profile in their social circles are certainly chasing the wrong idea of love. It's not love - they just want an ego boost. Real love pays no mind to what others say or think and you enjoy each other's company without a care in the world.
Is It Love or the Idea of It?
Exercise proper discernment and stay away from the points raised above. You will know for sure whether your feelings are genuine or you're just looking for someone to fill the void. Everyone deserves to be loved the way they want to and the best place to start is to know the difference between loving and chasing. Best of luck!