3 Things You Should Avoid Falling in Love With

And 3 others that you totally should fall for

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Love is not like mathematics. It has rules but there are more exceptions than rules. It has scientific proofs, but it’s not something you can manufacture by mixing a few elements together using the right method. Yes, it might have the same biochemical effect as eating a whole lot of chocolate, but it’s clearly not the same, no matter how much you love chocolate. It can develop over time but in some cases, no time in the world is enough to create it between two people.

It seems that love is a force on its own and we can only observe and experience it once it’s there, to enjoy it or to suffer from every side effect of it — such as disappointment or heartbreak or unrequited love’s hopelessness.

But love is a choice. It seems that we can’t really predict who we would fall in love with and there are countless unexpected love stories. In its unpredictability, there is such beauty that we are willing to give up on our rational reasoning, say goodbye to our principles or expectations, let go of our boundaries and just give in.

You might not be able to control who you fall in love with, and when, and how. But there are always turning points, decisions to be made — still with a level head, before you give in to infatuation and devotion to an extent that no rational argument can reach you.

Here are three things that you should try to avoid falling in love with, for your own sake, and for the sake of a relationship that is worth nurturing.

Potential

It’s amazing how believing in someone can help them soar. It’s great how supportive partners can bring out the best in each other. It’s the best thing when you find someone who believes you are capable of everything and they are willing to show you every day how much they think you are worthy.

But potential, on its own, is not relationship material. Just because you see the best in someone, just because your love is talented or has a huge potential that you see in them, it doesn’t mean that they will ever live up to your expectations. Talent, discipline and commitment don’t always go hand in hand. Potential is only a promise of the future — an idealised mirror-image of reality when you think you see what they are capable of.

Look for proof of that potential. Don’t settle for mirages and distant future hopes. Find the present worthiness, instead of looking into the future and a lot of what-ifs.

The idea of love

We are bombarded with images, illusions, imperfectly depicted perfect love stories — where you meet your other half, your soulmate and twin flame, and finally the world will make sense. Literature and pop culture is full of impossible but desirable love plots — and we buy into it. We let it all convince us that love is always unconditional, or it’s not love. We believe that perfect matches exist, and they should always feel easy. We are already in love with the idea of love way before we even meet a potential partner who could be good for us.

The idea of love is deceitful — and it’s very dangerous to fall in love with an idea, instead of the facts and reality. We tend to ignore red flags in the name of love. We tend to lower our standards in the name of love. We tend to forgive dealbreakers in the name of love. Because the idea of falling in love is so attractive that we are willing to sacrifice values, boundaries and expectations to get it.

Don’t fall in love with an idea, fall in love with the person — with their imperfections and flaws, but always having your eyes on reality.

Promises

Promises can be great, truly inspiring and hopeful — but a promise is nothing but words. Words are important and can mean a lot. Words can help you figure out whether you are on the same page, having the same expectations and values. Words can woo you but their worth only shows if they are kept. Actions are worth more than mere words. Sometimes actions can be less glorious than aptly crafted promises, but they are truer and more reliable in their down-to-earthness.

Don’t fall for promises, don’t fall for words without actions, don’t let your desire to hear what you want to lure you into places where promises are not kept. It takes an honest and committed person to live up to their words, and this honesty and commitment are what you need — not just illusions.

And three things you should totally fall in love with.

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is not a weakness, but one of the most powerful strengths that you can ever come across. Only people who know their boundaries and who experienced suffering can understand the power of letting your guards down with someone. Vulnerability is about trust and respect. Vulnerability says: I know you could hurt me, but I trust you that you wouldn’t.

Vulnerability is letting go of ego and pretences and baring your soul and mind to someone even if it feels scary. Vulnerability is knowing that we are human, and we can make mistakes because we are not our mistakes, we are a lot more than them.

If someone shows you their true self, their vulnerable, human side — that’s something to marvel at and cherish. If someone is willing to admit that they are wrong, that they are imperfect and they don’t expect you to fix them instead of them, just letting you watch how they pick it all up, that’s a sign of true maturity. Vulnerability is relatable, so relate to it and fall in love.

The way they make you feel

Infatuation and feeling in love are probably the best feelings you can ever experience, but the butterflies in your stomach usually come from uncertainty and nervousness, not love. It’s amazing if someone excites you so much that you lose sleep over them, but you need to carefully examine your feelings and check-in with yourself regularly whether your love is coming from emotions or from clinging to unavailability.

If someone is worth falling in love with, they will never make you feel uncertain about your own worth, they will never make you question yourself and your values. Sure, they might push you to aim higher and become a better version of yourself, but not at the expense of your self.

Fall in love with someone who makes you feel worthy and appreciated, ditch the idea that you don’t deserve attention and commitment. If you feel at ease, if you feel calm and relaxed, if you feel heard, seen and understood just the way you are — that’s the kind of feeling to look for and fall for.

The way how they treat you during and after a fight

Not all couples fight, but as we are just human, it happens that we have disagreements, misunderstanding, miscommunication or a clash of opinions. To have a fight in a relationship is not inherently bad and it’s not good either. A fight on its own doesn’t indicate anything.

The way you fight — on the other hand — shows a lot about the maturity and commitment of the relationship. If your significant other fights fair and fights respectfully it’s more a sign of maturity than avoidance of any disagreement.

You aren’t supposed to feel great about a fight, but you aren’t supposed to feel like shit, worthless and unloved either. You should feel safe to express your opinion and you should feel loved and appreciated even if you don’t agree or if you are working your way through a difference of values.

Fall in love with someone who fights you the right way and more importantly, who not only fight you but also fights for you and supports you in your fights against others.

Don’t forget that in a lot of cases, it is your love that makes someone special, not the fact that they really are special. When you love someone, you give them more credit, you forgive their mistakes easily, you lift them higher than they could reach on their own. And when it’s all gone, all you are left with is an ordinary person, with their imperfections, flaws and human problems. The way they can make you smile matters more than their potential they might never realize. The way how you feel next to them means more than how they feel by your love. The way how you can fight together is more important than who wins in a fight between the two of you.

Fall in love by all means. Find someone who is worthy of your infatuation, your admiration and your respect — but make sure that you take care of yourself in the process and not setting yourself up for disappointment and heartbreak.

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail

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