There’s something about the lushness of spring, when the grass turns from brown and patchy into a deep green that springs up almost overnight that makes the world feel a little kinder. As the early spring flowers begin to bloom and the trees have begun to bud, most all of us feel a little lighter inside and somewhat hopeful about our futures.
The old saying that our fancy turns to love when spring arrives still has the ring of truth to it. Mating season and mating rituals are instinctually bred into every living species, although humans tend to put a unique spin on these behaviors with every new generation. Cultural norms shift with time and what we think is “okay” in terms of sexual behaviors and what we say out loud about these behaviors are often markers of these shifts. Although marriage isn’t as popular a goal for young people as it once was, it seems that the human heart and basic instincts still encourage us to seek companionship and connection, sooner or later, with a romantic partner.
When You thought it Was Love, But it Wasn’t
Some of us may still get confused about whether a new relationship is love or lust. For some, the distinction never even matters; for others, it can be a pretty painful awakening when we realize we’ve been misled by our hearts or our partners.
Being infatuated can feel like what you think “real love” should feel like, but it’s not going to turn you into a better person the way that true love will. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are wondering if what you’re feeling is genuine love that will have you poised for growth or frantic infatuation that might make you feel alive at the moment, but will burst like a bubble when the thrill is gone!
Love’s Little Litmus Test
Here are 10 questions to ask yourself if you are in the early stages of a relationship that seems to be sucking you into a vortex of obsession rather than leading you into a relationship of sustaining focus.
- Are both my partner and I mutually engaged in this relationship and are you both on the same page regarding the depth and intentions you both hold about the relationship?
- Do I fully trust that my partner cares as much about me as I do about him or her?
- Does this relationship encourage me to bring out the best that I can be and to treat myself with the same tenderness with which I treat my partner?
- Does my partner see me clearly and encourage my strengths while minimizing judgment of my shortcomings?
- Do I feel energized, not overwhelmed, by this relationship and feel that I am more than I was before this relationship began?
- Is the relationship strengthening over time and are trust and mutuality deepening, even if the demands of the world are requiring us to spend less time together than when the relationship first began?
- Do I feel that I am growing as a person, expanding my perspectives, and feeling more self-assured and confident in who I am as this relationship as continued?
- Does this relationship encourage feelings of bonding and connection that motivate us, to build new connections with others as a couple?
- When spending time alone after time spent with my partner, do I feel drained and empty or fortified and strengthened?
- Does this relationship make me feel as if I need only this single relationship in order to feel satisfied or do I feel that this relationship motivates me to want to experience new opportunities for engagement with life, friends, and inter/intrapersonal growth?
“Instant love” or “love at first sight” is an indication that this person has triggered some instinctual response within you and due to the primal nature of the response, it can feel like a life changing event. Lasting love may begin with a tidal wave of instant attraction, but while its force may begin at tidal wave strength, its power is not through destruction but through the ebb and flow, like waves in the ocean, over time.