As we approach Valentine’s Day I thought it would be a good time to ask two related questions about love: Why do we fall in love with the wrong person? Why do we break up and then regret it? Look, it’s no secret that we can make some pretty basic mistakes about love. But why we make those mistakes doesn’t have to be a secret at all. It all boils down to getting smarter about how desire works.
You see, most of us think that desires arise fully formed from inside of us. Whether we are craving a taco, a new pair of shoes or that cutie across the room, we are convinced that our desires are our own independent creations. Wrong! Desires are learned from others, from family and friends, social media, advertising, trends and fads – you name it, we can be influenced by it. Whether we realize it or not, all those influences impact how we fill out that online dating profile page with the list of all the things we want and don’t want in a romantic partner. So when we fail to take into account that we are influenced by who and what other people desire, we may mistake their desires for our own. That’s when the trouble with love begins!
Getting smart about desire is the surest way to untangle our confusion about love itself. Between now and Valentine’s Day I am going to share some excerpts from my book called The Wicked Truth About Love: The Tangles of Desire. My hope is that learning about the different traps we can fall into will help us avoid them in the future. Even people in long-term relationships can get sidetracked sometimes, so this series is for you too.
Let’s start with the Best Friend Forever pattern. It’s very common and you may recognize yourself or a friend in it. The link will take you to a short description and a fun video with original music that I hope will help it all make sense to you. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!