Most of us cannot even describe LOVE.  We usually form our opinions of what love should be like during childhood and, as we grow into adulthood, experience and society reinforces those opinions.

Many of you have probably been in love and have been hurt in one way or another, eventually making you put your guard up a little more each time.  We are told many times that love hurts, or it’s all for love!  What is love for me?  Well, it’s a feeling, a thought, an emotion, and a “knowing” all wrapped up into one.  So, in this sense, love in itself is an “illusion”, isn’t it?  I suppose so.

Yet, I do know that love is a lot of other things as well.  It is kind, gentle, caring, compromising, honest and loyal.  When you completely love another person, you innately never wish to hurt that person.  The love for your children is different and this blog is focused specifically on the difference between pure romantic love versus the illusion of romantic love, and why when you have an illusion of love, you should walk away.  Possibly even run.

There is a quote that I love:  “Real love is experienced in the absence of fear, pain and suffering.  When any one of those exist, we experience the illusion of love.” – Janet Ong Zimmerman

Those who fall into the trap of an illusion of love struggle with facing reality.  If a disagreement occurs, which it inevitably will (reality), how is it handled?  Does your partner express hurt with reason and calm or does your partner act with hate choosing to mistreat you?

The key here is to know how to communicate – how to disagree effectively and correctly. Additionally, you should know what communication to accept from your partner – what not to accept.

You can gauge the illusion by the frequency and the intensity of the arguing.  Does your spouse purposefully try to start an argument?  If you argue, does he or she call you names?  Do you get abused emotionally, mentally or physically?  Do they give you the silent treatment for days on end?  If this is the case, then unfortunately you may be suffering under the “illusion” of love.

Real love is humble.  When there is discord, your partner will tell you when he or she is wrong, and will admit personal faults.  Real romantic love that lasts will never put a hand on you, or try to harass or manipulate you on a daily basis. Real love will not abuse you or abuse substances.

True romantic love avoids stagnation by making the effort to do what it takes such as taking the time to make the other person feel loved and appreciated.  Small kind words of appreciation or even washing the dishes or doing the laundry make the difference.  Simple gestures like buying flowers for no reason or even making his or her favorite dinner makes the difference.  These examples keep true love separate from the illusion of love.

Communication should be clear and effective, absent of anger and hatred, and possessing honesty, even if you know you did wrong.  These are things that make a marriage or a relationship work and if you are lacking these things early on, they will not magically appear in your relationship.

So let’s get back to the quote and what it means.  Experiencing the real meaning of love happens in the absence of fear, pain and suffering.  If you have any of these things in your relationship, you need to walk away from it, heal your heart and mind, so that you can allow real love to enter into your life one day.

After you have ended your relationship,  there will be times when you revert back to your old ways, believing false truths like, “Love hurts, love is hard to find, love is an illusion anyway, I deserve to be hurt, love is for everyone else except me”.  When you revert back to these paradigms, be compassionate with yourself and forgiving.  Understand that you are doing the best you can with what you have, then take the next step forward, even if you can’t see what is in front of you.  You are only human, and this is a huge learning process, if not the biggest lesson of life to learn.

As your mind and heart heal, you will begin to feel differently, naturally.  This process can be slow or it can be quick, depending on the individual.  You will feel joy again, in the things that brought you joy before you entered into your “illusion of love” affair.  You will be faced with challenges and you will handle them with grace and clarity.  These behaviors will become natural over time.  When we behave in the way we would like our partner to behave, we subconsciously attract that type of person into our lives.  Our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are what we will attract into our lives.  Each day that you focus on healing your heart and practicing self-love, you will feel less apprehensive about love and more excited about attracting real love. You can experience the real meaning of love – the true power of love because during this process you are learning the value and importance of self-love first.  As we always say, love begins with you!