December 2, 2014

True Love: Illusion or Reality?


It is said that love is a universal language which is spoken by all sentient beings.

Some say that the highest form of love is that between mother and child. Others are sure that it’s the romantic love between two individuals.

This article raises the question of whether romantic love is indeed the highest form of love. You may agree or disagree, but at the end of the day we all ask ourselves if romantic love is an illusion or actually exists.

Today I ask you to consider that maybe it isn’t the real thing that most of us are taught to believe it is.

Why is this?

What we like to call “true love” could simply be an illusion that falls in our ego’s best interest.

Below are eight things that can be mistaken for love in our romantic relationships.



Let’s all recall the first couple of weeks of our current or past relationships. During the first days of any rising relationship, we all lead the life which we led before meeting that special someone.

Most of the time, we get nervous and hesitant before leaving to our date. We think of the pros and cons and wonder whether the person or the date is eligible.

We shouldn’t fail to remember the other person’s flaws which we spot and the innumerable comments which we raise in our own minds.

Fast forward a month or two: we won’t even recall the mixed emotions which we experienced or the blemishes that we glimpsed.

The reason is that we simply get used to everything about the other person.

Habit might really be one of the things that keeps couples together. How many people have we met who are afraid of leaving their relationship?  Be it the person, his friends, the sex or the plans, it’s all sacrificed for the sake of habit and we all know that habits die hard.

Attachment to habit.

It’s not only about getting used to the other person but it’s also about getting attached to them. Habits in relationships can turn into blind attachment.

The tears that we shed and the sadness that we feel when we lose our partner are a consequence of attachment.

We think we are melancholic for losing “love” when really we have lost an identity and a known pattern that was familiar to our mind.

Catch yourself remembering something about a long lost partner—what you really recall are memories which involve both of you. It could be the times together, the sexual experiences, the intimacy or the dreamy compliments.

No matter how we spin that wheel, we are remembering what made ourselves joyous and that’s what makes us sorrowful.


In all romantic relationships there is a certain kind of attention that is offered. Whether we know it or not, we are often in love with the amount of attention given by our partner rather than with our partners themselves.

What we label “love” might simply be an addiction to what the other person is providing.

I was putting this into the test by asking people in relationships “what they love about their partner”—I even asked myself what I loved about my past partners.

I can tell you that most of their answers (and mine) were based on the same thing: their answers were always related to themselves. For instance, “I love my boyfriend because he makes me laugh,” or “I love my girlfriend because she is kind to me.”

Rarely did I hear someone actually commenting on the partner’s traits.


Freud linked sexuality to every stage in our life, starting from very early childhood. If we are as sexual as Freud claims, then we must subconsciously fear losing a partner when there is sex involved. Again this is something which relates to attachment and addiction.

Sex is associated with abundant pleasurable emotions that leave us directly hooked to our partner. Even the slighted feeling–as the pleasure of smelling our partner’s natural scent–can become an addiction.

Mutual interest.

We’ve all had a crush on someone who didn’t like us back or fell in love and it was one sided. And how long did that last?

When we wonder why it didn’t work out, on a conscious level our answer would be something similar to “he’s just not the one for me” or “it turned out she wasn’t my type.” But the real answer is probably that it didn’t work out because simply he/she didn’t like/love us back.

It is not an ugly truth—it is plainly the truth. We simply don’t need to engage in anything with anyone who is not into us. The sad news though is that most of the time, the relationships we enter, started by acknowledging the other person’s interest while we weren’t even drawn to his looks or who he is.

I personally hear many stories that go like “it’s really ironic how much I love him now when I didn’t like him two years ago.” What we don’t realize is that any hate or dislike might shift in a blink of an eye if we know we are liked, loved or admired.

The masks we wear.

There is something I always say: “You know the real face of your partner only when your relationship ends.”

Even for the couples who have known each other or were friends before being in love, there is a certain mask which we indirectly wear whenever we start dating.

This mask is worn in order to get the other person’s attention and keep him interested. We fear messing up or doing something wrong which might push our partner away, thus we reinforce the idea of keeping the mask on as long as it requires.

The love we have for ourselves.

Loving someone more than you love yourself is an endeavor which requires abundant consciousness.

The truth is that most of fights and break ups in the world happen because we put ourselves first—not that it’s a bad thing; it’s a just another statement to reinforce my thesis.

If we come to think about it, there are plentiful relationships that ended because of the inability of compromise–which I love to call “team work” or “thinking for two.”

The numerous partners.

If “romantic love” does really exist, why do we fall in and out of love many times? Emotions arise and emotions die and we always leave relationships when they no longer serve us or when we find something better.

Where’s the consistency in this?

And once we look back we do regard our past as an illusion, denying or merely remembering any felt love?

With those words, there is one answer that makes its way to us, raising with it more questions to ask ourselves.

I truly believe that romantic love is not the highest form of love. There is one universal limitless love in this world which we can give and feel to everyone and everything. But sadly, capitalism, the music industry, the movies industry and commercialism made us believe that we need someone with us in order to love ourselves more, to live more and to feel more.

The question that I’m asking today is whether it’s possible to be comfortable with our own solitude, with our own skin, loving everyone as if they were partners to us, without the need of actually engaging in a relationship?

I say we can be in love with the whole world.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Author: Elyane Youssef

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: rejik at Flickr 

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elyane Youssef  |  Contribution: 882,940