How To Tell If Someone Loves You or Just The Idea Of You

A lot of guys look good on paper but when you get down to who they are vs who you wish they were you'll often find the two are very different.   My whole life, people have always fallen for me hard and fast, only to be left baffled when I step outside their perception of who I’m “supposed” to be.

It hurts. It’s a specific kind of pain when you realize someone loved the curated version of you, the persona of you, but not the real you.

After too many times of falling into this trap and finding myself bending myself to try and fit into the “box” in which my partners placed me, I finally decided enough was enough. The only way to get out of the cycle was to examine the patterns weaving their way into my relationships.

So, here it is: how to tell if someone actually loves you or just the idea of you.

They fall in love with you after the second date.

When a person would tell me they loved me on the second or third date, I thought it was because he genuinely saw something in me that was stirring up intense feelings.

Now, I’ve wised up. When love is professed too quickly, I’m out. Because it takes time to really, truly love someone.

You don’t even know me, so how can you say you LOVE me three dates in? You’re loving the fantasy you’ve created and projected on to me.

It took me too long to realize love at first sight only exists in the cheap rom-coms I hate anyway. It isn’t a real thing.

Lust at first sight, however, is definitely real, and while it’s tempting to confuse the two, they are very, very different things.

They’re thrown off when they discover you’re a multifaceted human.

We all have a front, a cover with which we arm ourselves to survive in the blistering world. I’m not going to march into the office the first day of a new job and express my slew of vulnerabilities, traumas and fears.

No. In fact, I’m going to present a neatly gift-wrapped version of myself to my co-workers and save my insecurities and fears for the people whom I love and trust.

There is always that moment in a relationship when a new partner sees the person beyond our persona. The raw, stripped-down version of who we are.

You Start To Play The Role You're Cast In

This is the most dangerous part of all. When I would start to open up and reveal the hidden parts of my partner, I could sense this isn’t who they signed up for — so I stepped into a role he wanted me to be so he wouldn’t leave me.

He wanted the fearless partier? Well, dammit, I could play that part. He wanted the artistic, fashion-loving, sophisticate? I’ll score that role and nail the sh*t out of it.

Everything would be fine. Until I found myself lying awake at night, heart thumping out of my chest, sorely exhausted and irrepressibly anxious from putting on an act — and from being found out.

Now, I stopped. I don’t let myself get in deep with someone who only wants Zara on her own terms.

Don’t ever, ever play a character. YOU are so much more interesting. Cuff only with the person who loves all sides of you. Someone who loves the multifaceted, gorgeous little human you are.

I don’t want to be with a curated version of a person. I want to be with a real person, with strengths and flaws aplenty. I want all of it.

And if someone doesn’t want all of me, they can't have any of me

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