Can I Be in Love With the Idea of Who Somebody Is and Not the Guy?

Are you in love with him, or just the idea of him?
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Sometimes people confuse excitement and intrigue for love, especially in new relationships. It can be hard to know whether you truly love somebody or if you just like the idea of who he is. Pay attention to your intentions to see if you really love him or if you are just in love with how good he looks on paper.

1 Projecting the Perfect Image

You may be projecting your idea of your perfect boyfriend onto the new guy you are dating. This usually happens before you get to know all parts of a person -- including all of his shortcomings. When you first meet a person, you may like who you think he is based on your first few impressions. You may even like who you want him to be, seeing traits in him that he may not have but that you want him to have. This is not love; this is most likely infatuation with the person you created in your head.

2 Excited by Newness

The excitement of a new relationship could easily be mistaken for being in love with the person, asserts marriage therapist Ann Smith on the "Psychology Today" website. When you first meet someone, it can be exciting getting to know him and unraveling the mystery of who he is. According to Smith, you may think you are in love with a person, but you could actually be in love with the feeling that you get, caused by the newness of the situation. That infatuation that comes from a new relationship can fool you into thinking that he is the perfect guy for you.

3 Blinded by Good Traits

You may also be in love with the characteristics of a person and not the person himself. Although he may possess traits that look good on paper -- things you might find attractive such as intelligence, a sense of humor and charm -- you may be so focused on them that you cannot see his faults. He may have other traits that you would usually not like, but you are too blinded by your love of his attractive characteristics that you do not see who he truly is. There may be more to him -- negative or positive -- than you are taking into consideration. According to a "Psychology Today" blog post by psychiatrist Gordon Livingston, people are more willing to overlook the flaws when they are desperate and may convince themselves that they love the person.

4 Committing to True Love

Love is more than just a feeling -- it is a process, suggests marriage therapist Mudita Rastogi on the PsychCentral website. Love is shown through actions, such as being emotionally supportive when your boyfriend is having a bad day. Truly loving a person is a choice to accept him for who he is -- good and bad traits -- and committing to show him love every day through words and deeds. If you truly love the guy more than just the idea of him, you would be able to imagine sticking by him through tough times, even if it means something that you found attractive about him has changed -- such as his appearance or social status.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".