Do you find that every time you meet someone, you think that he or she may be "the one"? You may find yourself getting entranced by everyone and planning your perfect future together before you've even said more than hello. You allow yourself to fall for someone you hardly know based on a gut feeling. There's nothing from the other person yet, maybe not even an acknowledgement of you but you still feel like they're going to be perfect and the two of you are going to live happily ever after. Yet, something always happens: you discover that they are unavailable or uninterested or you hit it off, but break up shortly after, leaving you crushed.
You decide that next time you're not going to get so attached so fast or you're not going to jump to conclusions. But the next time comes and you find yourself in exactly the same situation. The relationship doesn't even happen or it doesn't take off and before you know it you're heartbroken again. How can you get yourself to not fall in love?
Why Does It Hurt?
Regardless of your immediate feelings towards someone, you develop an instant connection with each person you meet. When you see someone on the street you probably have an immediate thought about them even, but when you actually talk with them there's something that happens in your mind and lets you create a first impression. For most it's something about how nice they seem or if they seem rushed, irritated, friendly or anything else. We categorize people based on whether we think we would want to meet with them again or whether we need to meet with them again. However, the more intense your feelings towards someone are and the longer you remain together, the stronger the connection.
What this means is every person that you develop a long lasting relationship with you will start to develop a stronger connection to. If the girl you met in kickboxing two weeks ago stops coming to class and no longer returns your calls you might feel hurt, but you won't feel as upset as if your best friend of 20 years no longer speaks to you. It's because the connection that you've developed is stronger and different from the one you developed over a short time. But for some people that isn't the case.
Even those who were initially rejected can experience a tinge of pain as he or she severs you from what you anticipated to be a meaningful and long-lasting relationship. Those who were actually involved in a relationship can experience near physical pain as the person that they spent most of their time with in the last few weeks, months, or years has left them.
These rejections and break-ups can be devastating as they lead to anything from a temporary heartache to a deep depression. For someone who seems to fall in love quickly these relationships can be even worse because no matter how long the relationship was (a few days or a few years) the pain is the same and they tend to feel it more strongly than others. This is what leads you to wonder how you can avoid falling in love in the first place.
How to Not Fall in Love
Many people need companionship to remain content, but no one wants the prickling pain that comes when the relationship fizzles out or ends abruptly. Even still, you don't want to avoid relationships entirely because you do want to make sure you find the right person and that you will eventually have the type of relationship that you've always wanted. What that means is you need to work on understanding the difference between different types of relationships.
The best way to avoid this pain is to work at relationships that are meaningful rather than relationships that solely exist so you will not have to be alone, but how can you start off these relationships? How can you find the one? You have to be able to look at each person you meet a little more objectively and a little less with the eye of making them the perfect person for you. They may not be and if you sit back and think about that for a moment you may realize it long before you get your heart broken.
It may be wise to recognize the signs for falling in love so that you can decipher between "the real thing" and "passing ships". Although it should be said that it may take some time to determine if you really are in love and that even in relationships that are meant to be, both partners invest time and hard work to maintain it. Your relationship isn't going to be perfect from the start and in fact it's not going to be perfect at any point because no relationship is. But you shouldn't jump into every meeting with someone (no matter what kind of meeting it is) thinking that they are going to be perfect for you. If you just talk with them without those thoughts hanging over your head you may come to the realization right away that they're a good friend or someone you could get to know better but not the right person for you romantically.
Though experiences may vary, according to Dr. Theresa E. DiDonato in her article, "How Do You Know if You're in Love?", the following indicates when you are involved in something real:
You want to spend every moment with them
You want your friends and family to like them
You get jealous sometimes, but can overcome it when your partner is happy or successful
Both of you miss each other when apart
Both of you learn from the other
If none of the above applies to you in your current relationship, it may not be love. That doesn't mean you can't be friends with that person or that the two of you aren't destined to like each other in some way. It just means that you're not actually in love with that person.
For some people who feel like they are falling in love with everyone and that they are always heartbroken it's possible that it's not even real love in the first place. Maybe you're not in love with them but because you've convinced yourself that you are it hurts the same when the relationship ends or when something just doesn't work. If you can objectively look at what the relationship is and isn't you'll be able to decipher your feelings and then you'll be able to understand love better.
For Those Who Are Struggling With Their Relationships
If you find that you are struggling with your relationships, are clinically depressed due to an ending of one, or are involved in an abusive relationship, it may be best for you to consult a certified therapist. BetterHelp comprises of many therapists who are able to treat clients suffering from such issues.