In Love with the Feeling of Being In Love

IMG_5038A term appeared on my e-course forum several years ago: infatuation junkie. Forum members were using it to describe the phenomena of chasing after the feeling that arises during the infatuation stage of a relationship, what our culture calls being “head over heels in love” and is accompanied by belly butterflies and other heart-stopping sensations. It’s an eye-opening moment on one’s journey from relationship anxiety to acceptance and serenity when the person afflicted with the addiction to the feeling of being in love can identify it as such. Naming, which is another term for coming out of denial, is often the first step toward recovery.

It’s understandable that we would chase this feeling. What’s not to love about the feelings of aliveness, meaning and completion that arise as a result of “falling in love”?  Ultimately isn’t that what we’re all seeking – to feel fully alive, to live a life of meaning, and to ease the emptiness inside and finally feel complete? Being infatuated is an ecstatic state, a godlike realm. And that’s exactly the point – or the cultural mis-point: when we assign the state of aliveness, meaning, and fulfillment to another human being instead of where it truly belongs, disaster can only ensue.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with loving that ecstatic feeling; the problem arises in its complete misappropriation. In other words, instead of seeking that sense of completion or wholeness and even ecstasy through one’s connection to source – through creative, spiritual, and other meaningful-work-in-the-world pursuits – we are culturally conditioned, educated, brainwashed, and encouraged to seek it in a human other. What a set up! Even if that feeling is there in the beginning, it will inevitably fade. And then what? Jump ship and start anew with someone else, falling into the deliciously-painful pool of in-loveness only to discover that it will fade yet again? Yes, that’s the trajectory. When the feeling fades the culture wags its admonishing finger with the covert – or sometimes blatant – message, “You’re clearly not in love. If you have to ask, it’s time to walk away.”

It’s not time to walk away. If you’re in a solid, healthy, loving relationship, it’s time to learn about real love. You see, I’ve learned a little secret over the years of working deeply in the world of relationships: when we shift our orientation from what we can get from our partner (that feeling) to practicing specific actions of giving, and when we learn to attend to ourselves in consistently loving ways so that we become the source of our own fullness and aliveness, that coveted, lovely feeling reappears. It doesn’t show up in a blast of Hollywood, Wuthering Heights-esque drama. Rather, it dances in ever so lightly and delicately, like a field of wildflowers on the side of the trail.

You can learn the Love Laws and Loving Action that you should have received through osmosis by witnessing your parents’ marriage, yet likely didn’t (as so few of us grew up witnessing a healthy marriage). You can learn the Loving Actions that you should have learned in school, yet didn’t (as that course was never offered). You can learn them now so that you can learn about what it means to open your heart and create the true definition of being in love that every loving couple if capable of and deserve to feel.

Registration is now open for my sixth round of Open Your Heart: A 30-day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner. Click on the link to learn more, and, if the time is right, I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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* If you want to learn more about how our culture became a nation of infatuation junkies hooked on the drug of Romantic Love, please read We by Robert Johnson.

31 comments to In Love with the Feeling of Being In Love

  • Marite

    Hi Sheryl!

    I have registered for your course and cant wait when it starts ^^

    The only thing is i live in Russia, so we have 7 hours difference.. What time will be calls?

    I wonder if i can participate..

    Thank you, have a great day!

    • Calls are held at a variety of times and call times will be announced when the course begins. You will likely be able to join at least two of the live calls, but even if you can’t join you will be able to ask your questions ahead of time and listen to the recording. Due to time differences, only about 1/3 of participants are generally able to join live, but it doesn’t affect the efficacy of the course.

  • Nat

    Sheryl,

    Thank you for this post. I’ve felt many moments of infatuation with my boyfriend of almost 2 years, but also many times where there was none. I have an understanding that infatuation is a fleeting stage of a relationship, and that deep caring and love are grown and developed. But this also confuses me… I know I care deeply for my boyfriend, and can recognize he is a wonderful man who loves me, but I find myself not enjoying our times together, and it’s been this way on and off during our whole relationship. I’ve stayed though because of the good times we have shared together, and because he is a good man who loves me well. It’s as if at times there is a barrier between us, but I don’t know how to get past it. We have real conversations and do things we both enjoy, but I become anxious before I see him and then can’t seem to find anything I like about him. Do you believe this is a form of relationship anxiety? I’m fearful I’ll never be fully open and able to like my boyfriend, but I know deep down I love him, but I’m always held back from liking him and I don’t know what it is. It’s become like a game of ping pong in my head… back and forth in my feelings for him. Is there hope for us?

    • Lauren

      I’m right there with you, Nat. Something came to me just now while I was reading your comment, and forgive me for the cliche, here… But I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “we accept the love we think we deserve.” Sometimes I think I have a hard time accepting love from my boyfriend (of almost a year) because I think I don’t deserve it, so I subconsciously (or consciously) push him away. I tell myself he’s not the one, that I don’t love him, that we aren’t supposed to be together, it’ll never work, etc. etc. etc. Doing this creates anxiety, when in fact, it’s not about my boyfriend at all – it’s about learning to accept the love that I deserve, and of course, give it in return. Sheryl has written on irritation and every so often, when I’m feeling irritated or can’t seem to find anything that I like about my boyfriend, I go back and read that post. I hope it can help you, too!

      http://conscious-transitions.com/when-you-feel-irritated-with-your-partner/

  • onedayatatime

    Even though I don’t have a history of having multiple relationships I still go through times where I just crave and want to run off in infatuation. I have to admit I go off into dream land. Even without playing this out (outside my head) it still feels like it leaves a path of destruction. Now is one of those times and I think it usually correlates with summer and nicer weather. I think I have noticed that even the music I listen to or want to listen to changes somewhat. I think part of this is letting of go of that “blast” I want to feel. I have absorbed SO many messages that say life is about feeling and trying find this “blast”, of course from something outside of ourselves, so it’s hard to let go of.

    • The key is to channel that longing for aliveness into your own creativity and passions. Follow the longing to the source and you will arrive at the gem of wisdom at the center, which has nothing to do with leaving your loving relationship to find a temporary thrill.

  • Hannah

    Hi sheryl,
    I have been reading through lots of your blog posts recently (even from a few years ago) and they have helped me immensely with understanding how my brain works with anxiety and why I often over think and why I am feeling a particular feeling of anxiousness. My mum has noticed a big difference in me not having any major anxiety outbursts at home and I put this down to your blog posts! Its so good to see that there are other people who think like me out there…
    I have been thinking of doing the e-course but it is something I would like to think about properly first because of the cost and I also live in England so not sure if it’s even available to me?

    I understand it’s incredibly hard for you to reply to so many comments along with all the work you do, but I just have a couple of questions… I understand that in your blog posts you have written about the first stages of love and how it can be confused as infatuation. But I have felt complete love for my boyfriend from day one up until now (over a year later)(even though I have some anxiety days) so does this mean that what I am STILL feeling towards my boyfriend is not love and infatuation still? Because I don’t particularly agree with it entirely, I feel it is possible to feel love and infatuation at the same time? Or unless I never had the infatuation period with him very much. Also, we have spoken about marriage and kids a lot and I have always had day dreams of doing this because I have alrways thought this is what I wanted with him, but the other day he said he wanted to start saving a little bit every month to go towards a future wedding, which at first made me happy but there was something inside me screaming and trying not to make me happy if you understand what I mean? It was almost as if I was stopping myself from being happy about this or I got anxious because it’s more of an action rather than speaking about it and perhaps I’m not quote ready for marriage just yet. I spoke to him about this later that day and told him it scared me a little, but I felt guilty because I felt scared! I don’t want to feel scared about that but what I don’t understand is why I felt scared that time and I haven’t any other time?
    Do you think the e-course would benefit me and which one?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m so glad my articles have been helpful to you. It sounds like what you’re feeling is real love toward your boyfriend, and that the in-love feelings are still present for you. That’s wonderful! And the voice you’re describing in your head is classic fear trying to keep you safe from taking the risk of loving. You don’t need to feel guilty for feeling scared; most people are scared of love on some level. The Conscious Weddings E-Course would benefit you even though you’re not engaged. About 80% of the material is applicable to anyone struggling with relationship anxiety and, yes, it’s available worldwide.

      Warmly,
      Sheryl

  • Lex

    Great aricle! Unfortunately O cannot afford your course(s) now and I am scared of what to do. Now that anxiety has faded I just don’t feel love 🙁 And what does it mean ig I have to work on myself in order to feel love…that sound strange honestly. It feels foced and like I’m lying! What do I do? 🙁

  • loveisallaround

    Hi Sheryl,

    When is this round being offered?

  • Help

    Hello.
    I stumbled upon your website recently while looking for anything that could help me.
    I was in relationship for almost 2 years with a wonderful girl, she’s just the greatest person I know and eventually we decided to get married and I was suppose to move with her to her country, cos we live in separate countries. Marriage was suppose to be just formal so I can move there. I was happy about it and I didn’t have much doubts about it until we got married, suddenly I started realizing how serious the thing is, I started having million doubts, I even broke up few days after we got married, I regretted it day after but I still managed to hurt her. I start asking my self what if I don’t like her and then I start analyzing her and then if I see something I don’t like, like messy hair or something I get anxious, the thought of not liking her is devastating and I get very anxious and even have panic attacks, the anxiety is so severe it paralyzes me. Then questions like what if I don’t love her, or if it doesn’t work out or something like that. I just go down a spiral made out of anxiety fear and anger. I’m by nature very sensitive person and I have history of bad relationships, I lost my parent when I was a kid, so I know I have been traumatized.
    Right now I feel like things are getting worse, like the fear is taking over and I can’t do anything. I’m tense just by being around her, I’m always anticipating something, analyzing. It’s exhausting. There are times when I feel wonderful, like everything is back to normal, like we’re okay again but then something happens and I go back to fear mode.

    I really don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t wanna run anymore, the thought of losing her is devastating but I feel like I’m just wasting her time being like this, something inside me just doesn’t wanna let her go, she’s too important. I wanna be normal. I read most of your posts and it helped me a lot but I have days when I think that everything is in vain and that self help is not sufficient enough. I don’t even know what I want. Few tips to help me fight I guess…
    And I just want to thank you for the stuff you’re doing and for help because I’m aware how these things can be devastating for people.

  • Mary

    This is a beautiful post, I really needed another one about this ‘infatuation’. The moment I learned about this it was a big relief, but also a very sad idea that this is not what love is (as we are all told by our culture..), because it is such an addictive feeling. But on the other hand, I currently am in a relationship in which I really want to learn about love very badly, because I don’t want to lose this great, sweet, interesting and kind person! I had the periods of infatuation and longing (we had a long distance relationship for a short amount of time), but since a couple of months he is really committed and available. This is really new to me. In my eyes, men were never really available, committed, and even sweet. This was my part, I thought, and I should keep them interested by being available, committed and the sweetest person ever (I now recognize that this constant effort was probably my feeling of ‘love’).. but with this person this is not the case anymore. He is open, ready to give all his love, time, effort and attention to make me grow. And I want to grow more than ever, this is why I went to a therapist a couple of weeks ago and I am reading a lot: about mindfulness, your site, some topics/ books you recommend. It has been very helpful so far, but ‘my fear’ keeps looking for ways to scare me.
    When reading this post for example, I want to become my own source of fullness and aliveness, but I am also very scared that when I reach this state, this will lead to the awareness that I have to break up.. after reading a lot I understand that this is my fear voice that does not want me to take to risk to change, since I am in a supportive, committed, equivalent relatoinship.
    This also accounts for living mindfull. When I experience moments of mindfullness and I become aware of them, I am immediatly scared because I am happy without thinking about my partner. So I am scared that this means I have to leave him.
    I am trying to sit with it and to push through. I am looking for ways to reach fullness and aliveness. Are journaling and having therapy ways to reach this? Or are for example hobby’s ways to reach this? I also want to let go of the scary thought, that when I reach this aliveness I will become aware that I have to leave my partner.. but I don’t know how…
    Somebody any insights about this?

  • Joanne

    I have been reading your website and I am very impressed with the advice given. I was in such a state of anxiety towards christmas just gone, I felt as though I could have gone to sleep and not woken up. Like most people who have written here, I have a lovely, lovely partner who is my rock and he is so supportive in every area of my life – all of my family love him. However, I started to get this “not in love” feeling after roughly 18 months of the relationship (I have never been in a relationship longer than that before) and I got so anxious about it that I googled “I’m not in love” which lead me to your website (although not before I was reading all sorts of information that I should be leaving the relationship and I was forcing something). It was such a relief to find you here and I am so grateful to you for your articles etc.

    Since I have been having a read regularly I actually went back into the “in love” stage and could not believe how lucky I am to have such a great man in my life for the first time ever. However, I have found that when I am with certain friends (who have admitted that they do not think my partner is good enough for me “looks wise” as he is not the most attractive man) I find that I feel so depressed after being in their company and do not feel the same about my partner. I am almost ashamed of him!! That makes me feel terrible and I try to shake the feelings off but it takes a while. The other day someone asked to see a picture of me and him and they made an insulting comment about him and when I got upset they said they were “only joking”. This also made me feel bad. Tell me, is it normal to feel anxiety in this manner? Does it mean I am with the wrong person even though most times I am amazed by this lovely warm man and do find him incredibly attractive?

    • It doesn’t mean you’re with the wrong person at all, and I imagine if you tune into yourself you know that’s true. What it means is that you’re a highly sensitive person who is easily influenced by others’ opinions:

      http://conscious-transitions.com/absorbing-other-peoples-lives/

      There’s no reason to walk away, and to do so would be giving in to fear’s influence. It sounds like you have everything it takes to have a great, lifelong relationship. The only problem is your own fear.

  • Not Okay

    I think a lot of my issue is this. I long for an aliveness that I used to get when I felt something for my boyfriend. Some people say that after the honeymoon phase you sometimes realize you’re not as compatible as you thought or you don’t like them as much as you thought you did. I’m always afraid that that’s what’s happened. I’ve also dealt with HOCD, or what I thought was that. I just accepted that I might be attracted to girls and it went away, but it came back when my boyfriend and I started getting serious. I’m always afraid that, chemically, I’m not capable of loving a man and that that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. But I don’t have the urge to drop him and go for women. I tell myself that, but it doesn’t seem to help. My anxiety isn’t as bad anymore. I mostly just feel really sad about the whole situation.

    • The gay spike and all intrusive thoughts are flares sent from your inner self designed to get your attention and invite you to turn inward and give yourself attention. The longing for aliveness is a longing that needs to be met by you:

      http://conscious-transitions.com/longing-for-aliveness/

      • Not Okay

        What kind of things are typically the issues when your inner self needs attention? And how exactly do you connect to that part of yourself without making yourself even more anxious? 🙁 Whenever I try to think about the problem, more intrusive thoughts appear and keep me from ever reaching any good conclusion.

        • Attending to your own grief and fear. Healing unfinished transitions. Working with issues around core self-worth. Asking how lovingly you’re attending to your physical, emotional, and creative/spiritual self. The key is to learn how NOT to think about the thought itself but to see the thought as the sign that it’s time to turn inward.

  • Rachel

    I really needed this article and your website has been a life saver.

    I came out of a seven year relationship with an ex who was constantly promising to move in together and get engaged but in the end couldn’t commit. There were various red flags in the relationship but I chose to ignore them to my cost in the end.

    A month later I met the most amazing man and we had an amazing three weeks before he had to go back to work (he works abroad). it was like I had always known him and instantly felt comfortable with him. He had been gone two days before I started panicking about how I felt, even asking if I loved him, would I love him and almost convinced myself that I couldn’t carry on with the relationship because I didn’t have any butterflies or anything. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t pay attention in my job and spent ages feeling sick about the situation. Around the time of him going away, I had started on hormonal birth control and (with a history of anxiety and depression) I am convinced that this contributed in a way.

    Three months later and I am off the birth control and with the help of this blog I feel so much better. I still have awful days like today where I panic that it isn’t right and that I can’t be with him. If I hear a story of someone else’s relationship going wrong then I immediately feel that it will happen to us. I have gone from a pursuer distancer relationship, to someone who is so available and has said that he wants to look after me. He has already put up with so much from me these past few months.

    I have moments where I am convinced that I don’t have relationship anxiety and that I just don’t love him, but I want to love him so much. Does it sound like I have relationship anxiety or am i just kidding myself? I really don’t want to walk away from this man but when I have days like today sometimes I don’t think i have much of a choice.

  • Klewis23

    Hi Sheryl, thank you for writing yet another wonderful post. I was wondering if you had any insight as to why anxiety does attach to a relationship especially when you’re in a healthy one? I have been reading through your work for over a year and I attended trust yourself last summer. I seem to go months without having a single day of questioning my relationship, and then will be swept up in anxiety for days or weeks. It’s like all my healing work comes crashing down over night and I can’t seem remember the important lessons I’ve learned. I definitely can tell why some of these times come on- like when I haven’t been connected spiritually or creatively to myself for awhile, or I drink too much on a weekend. But I guess I just get confused as to why my anxiety never attaches to my career choice or my friendships but rather to my partner. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

    • I’m not exactly sure, but my best guess is because our intimate partners are the closest people to us so they have often serve as a mirror for our own projections. If we’re off-kilter inside, it often shows up first as projection, and our partners serve as that mirror.

      • Klewis23

        That makes a lot of sense! Thank you for the response! You’ve pointed me to your article “Living God’s Will.” Which has helped tremendously in my fear of “God not blessing my relationship” because we don’t share the same faith at this point. I read a comment in that article where you stated that difference of religious beliefs are normal concerns but not a sole reason to leave a relationship. we are able to connect spiritually in most other ways – through our love for nature and through existential conversations. He also supports me by attending church with me. I was just wondering if, from your experience, you categorize different religious beliefs as a red flag if both parties are respectful and supportive of our differences?
        Thank you so much

        • Quick answer to your question: no! It’s a frequently asked question and my answer is truly an emphatic no.

          • klewis23

            Thank you so much Sheryl! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to answer! Your work has truly saved mine and many other relationships!