Thursday, March 19, 2009

Infatuation - The Evil Twin Brother of Love

Love's evil twin brother, infatuation, is an obsessive compulsion to receive emotional support from another person. "Falling in love" in this manner involves the irrational expectation that the same emotion will magically appear in the other person. If this fails to occur, the infatuated person feels hurt. Infatuation is common, especially among singles, and especially younger, inexperienced folks. The Ancient Greeks expressed pity for the man suffering this sort of love, a "madness" sent by the Gods in their view.

Those prone to becoming infatuated are often lonely and generally feel discontented with their lives. Long-term, these individuals should try to break free from the patterns of behavior that have caused them unhappiness. I recommend our "How to Be Happy" page as a tutorial to asserting control over one's emotions and learning how to minimize the harmful negative feelings.

Having experienced both sides of the infatuation equation I have a few words of advice for those that are "under the influence." When you are infatuated, unless you are gifted with uncommon wisdom (but in that case you would not be infatuated in the first place!) it is seldom clear what actions are proper and what actions are improper. Situations vary, and I cannot give general advice on what to do. I can give general advice on what actions to avoid. People commit the same mistakes in case after case.

Once upon a time, during the hottest part of the summer, which seems to bring out the craziness, not to mention meanness, in people a friend of mine was bit by a Venusian bug. He arranged a dramatic confrontation with me, alone in a park, over his attraction to me and my supposed hidden desire for him. He had apparently been brooding about this for a long time, which is scary. (Even now, I hear from other friends the crazy things that he says, and his friends number fewer and fewer.) Brooding over others is both impolite and stupid.

He had cobbled together a complicated, highly detailed theory consisting of a dozen pieces of "evidence," lifting my words or actions out of context and misreading love out of my actual friendship and good nature. He carefully ignored the overwhelming evidence to the contrary! Like a lawyer in a courtroom, he argued his thesis that I was in love with him and just not showing it. Hint: if someone isn't showing love, it's not there. In his fantasy, my current lover, with whom I enjoy a monogamous relationship, was no longer needed! We had to confront him, Mr. Looney Tunes explained, with the "truth." As I continued to calmly but firmly deny this nonsense, he became increasingly angry and made all kinds of accusations that I was "deceiving" either myself or him, or possibly both. This guy was nuts. People who are considered nuts do not generally have many friends nor are they happy individuals.

The moral of this story is, if you do nothing else with your life, at the very least, try to be a happy person and avoid making problems for other people. This experience has led me to compose several maxims regarding infatuation. Without further ado, here is a short guide on how NOT to act when you feel "in Love" :

  • Don't allow yourself to believe for even one moment that the OTHER person is also "in Love" (infatuated, obsessed) with you--this almost never happens-- if you feel any doubt then trust your doubt. If you can at least avoid deceiving yourself when indulging the vice of love, then the resulting pain will be much less. Do NOT blame the person you love for not "being honest" about what you think is their deep passion for you. Do NOT blame the person you love for "stringing you along." You string yourself along! The only person that makes you love someone is--you! The proper thing to cultivate is "self-control."

  • LISTEN to what the other person says. If he says, "I just want to be friends," or "I'm not interested in fooling around," then HE MEANS IT. Don't double-guess another person! Don't arrogantly think "you know better than he does about his own mind." These errors will come back to haunt you. And you had better listen to other people, if you have any desire for good social relations! If you fail to listen, you will miss many clues that could spare you from humiliation and rejection. Listening requires LOOKING at the other person, IN THE EYES, and watching their face and hands. Listening requires NOT DAYDREAMING, but taking in each word that is said, and the way in which it is said. If you are not in the habit of listening CAREFULLY, now is a good time to start practicing!

  • Do NOT brood over the other person. If you find yourself thinking about him or her "all the time," and the other person does not return the compliment, that is unhealthy. Exercise, socialize with other friends, join a club, get involved in other activities. Love yourself and do good things for yourself.

  • NEVER commit any hostile act against the person you love or once loved. Be wise enough to "walk away" from a situation where you are unwanted. Having failed in love, there is no good to come from receiving hatred in its place. Display grace, dignity, and honor, and others will respect you for it however grudgingly.

  • Don't take yourself or your love too seriously. View it as "a game," something that should be "fun" and "entertaining." Do NOT allow yourself to get depressed over love. Certainly don't entertain thoughts of suicide or whatnot. Love yourself! Don't fret over whether other people love you. Recently, an attractive woman told me that she had entertained thoughts of marriage with a man, until they broke up. She had had suicidal thoughts after the break-up. He was now with another woman. I was not too impressed with the man and wondered what on earth she saw in him. Really it boggles the mind that someone could get so fired up over a silly infatuation. Get over it! Take to jogging two miles a day. Go for a walk. Read a book. Make a new friend. NO - ONE is worth killing yourself over, or even getting depressed about. If you only knew the other person better you probably wouldn't want them so much in the first place!

  • I got this from
    I just love it and felt the urge to post it somewhere so I couldn't
    lose it. ^-^

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