Home PEx Relationships Love - Principles, Practices & Preferences

The Fourteen Clues Of Love


Special notice about these clues:
1. The order is not important.
2. No clue can stand alone. All clues are important. Failing one or more does not mean you have to break up with your partner right away. It just means that you two are not ready for marriage and need more time to work them out.
3. One-sided loves will not work.

CLUE 1. What Is The Major Attraction?

Infatuation: your main interest is likely to be the person's physical equipment. The main stress is on things you can perceive right away - what you can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. A marriage based only on sex attraction will last no more than three to five years.

Real Love: your interest is in his or her total personality. Before marriage, ask yourself: "What's she going to look like in 30 years?" It is a sign of real love if the answer is, "She will still look beautiful because of her wonderful personality."

CLUE 2. How Many Factors Attract?

Infatuation: the number of factors that attract you are relatively few. Just the smile? Just the pretty face? Just the lovely hair? Just the funny jokes?

Real Love: many or most qualities of the person - and the relationship - attract you. You like not only the way the person looks and talks, but the way he or she thinks and feels about things and other people.

Do you like the person's reactions to personal success? To failure? To tough challenges? To faults in his or her self, and in you or others? What about use of leisure time? And what about thoughtfulness, kindness, courage, temper, and temperament? Does the person have healthy and balanced attitudes toward money, sex, school, family, and friends? Toward the past and the future? What about bad habits? Ask yourself two important questions:

1) How many of the countless characteristics of this person do I know enough about?
2) How many of those things do I find attractive?

It takes time and effort to know a person extremely well. Only then can you judge your reaction to the many, many facets of that person's nature. If many or most of those factors attract you, this tends to indicate real love. When the excitement and romance wear off in a marriage, you need lots of other interests in common to hold you together over the long pull. You need to like each other as well as love each other.

It does not matter much that you like the same kind of pizzas and movies. It matters very much whether you agree on life-style and whether you want to have children; makes lots of money, or having two separate careers.

Two people who are psychological opposites may attract and have a good marriage. Social opposites almost never do. It is alright for a dominant person to have a submissive mate. However, the greater the social differences, e.g. a very rich and a very poor, the greater the dangers. The more you two agree on these issues, the better your chances for success in marriage:

ROOTS: How similar are you as to: Social Class? Racial, national, and ethnic roots? City vs. country backgrounds? Religions?

VALUES: What is very important to you: Religion? Money? Social position and acceptance? Prestige? Sex before/after marriage? Who decides?

CHILDREN: Do you like them? Want them? How many? What about birth control? If so, what kind? Who is responsible for it?

MONEY: How much is enough? Who will make it? Save it? For what? Spend it? On what? Who'll budget, pay bills, do the shopping? (More married couples fight about money than any other thing.)

SEX ROLES: Who'll make decisions? Will both work? Will you share home chores? If babies come, will the wife work outside the home?

WHERE AND HOW TO LIVE: Region? Rural or urban? Fancy or modest?

MAIN INTERESTS: Hobbies? Vocation plans? Education? Recreation likes and dislikes?

INVESTMENT IN YOUR FUTURE: What do you plan to do about war, pollution, poverty, and so on?

CONCEPTS OF MARRIAGE: Permanent? Trust and fidelity? Companionship?

MAJOR GOALS AND HOPES FOR THE FUTURE: What do you want out of life? How will you get there from here? Who can help?

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Can the two of you work out differences? Can you talk over problems with honesty? Can you solve disputes without hurting each other? Do either of you get mad or get grumpy when things don't go your way? Do you feel free to share your true feelings, or do you hold back out of fear or lack of trust and confidence? You'd best find out before you marry.

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CLUE 3. How Did It Start?

Infatuation: tends to start fast. There is no such thing as love at first sight. A human personality is much too complex to permit that kind of instant insight. Your senses show you only the superficial, the shallow shell. Real love requires that you know and like the other person's whole self, and it takes time.

Real Love: starts slowly. Studies have shown that the longer the period of courtship and engagement, the better the chances for success in a marriage. There is no substitute for passing the test of time. A year is better than six months. Three years are better than two, five better than four. The quality of the time spent with each other is as important as the quantity. Understand that people can be great actors. We all tend to play games with one another, to appear to be what we are not. A couple might date for a long period, yet have only a shallow knowledge of each other. You need to find out what the person is like way down deep inside, beneath the display-window mask.

Caution to older people: People at late 20s are tempted to marry in haste.

Caution to young people: You are more likely to be infatuated than genuinely in love.

CLUE 4. How Consistent Is Your Level Of Interest?

Infatuation: a couple's interest in each other fluctuates a lot. One day you feel sure this is the right person for marriage. Then you develop doubts and wonder if the two of you should date others for a while, to test your feelings more. The reason is you are attracted to only a few things about the other person - probably physical and surface traits. Your interest in each other grew rather fast. The roots of such a relationship are too thin to nourish it for long. Sex may also be the reason for lack of consistent interest. If a couple becomes involved in pleasurable sex behavior, their interest in each other may vary accordingly to the strength of their sex urge at any given time.

Real Love: the relationship tends to even out and interest in each other is consistent. If you don't reach the peaks of excitement so prevalent in infatuation, neither do you plunge to the depths. As time goes on, you come to count on your love. You know it will be there when you need it. That is not to say that in real love there are no problems to solve, especially in the early stages of your courtship. Problems of adjustment cannot be avoided. But the longer you know each other, the easier it is to cope when you have real love. The best way to predict the future is to study closely the evidence from the past and the experience of the present. If you had a good relationship all last week, and the week before that, and the month before that, then you are more likely to have it next week, next month, and the year after that.

CLUE 5. How Does It Affect Your Personality?

Infatuation: causes a disorganizing and destructive effect on your personality. Infatuation makes you less effective, less efficient, less your real self. Infatuation is irresponsible and fails to consider the future consequences of today's actions. In such a condition, you might well lose your head and do things you wouldn't otherwise think of doing. You may even foul up your whole life.

One-sided love or infatuation and the PRINCIPLE OF LEAST INTEREST: in a one-sided romance, the partner who has the least interest in continuing the affair is able to control the other person. That's because the one who is more involved has more at stake. No one should use another human being for selfish purposes, but people often do. E.g. a girl who doesn't care much for a boy may keep him just to build up her ego to have someone care so much for her. Or for a convenience that she can always count on him for a date if nobody else asks her. She knows he'll put up with shabby treatment because he's so emotionally involved. Or the boy may demand more sexual favors than his girlfriend wants to give.

Real Love: has an organizing and a constructive effect on your personality. It brings out the best in you. There is an intense and satisfying feeling of greater self-realization and expression, as well as a feeling of having one's own personality reinforced and strengthened and enriched. Love gives you new energy and ambition, and more interest in life. It is creative, brings an eagerness to grow, to improve, to work for worthy purposes and ideals. Love is associated with feelings of self-confidence, trust and security. Love lifted you to new levels of maturity and responsible action. When you love a person you make an effort to be more deserving of the beloved. You want your beloved to be proud of you, so you try harder. Life has more purpose. You make plans and save for the future. Life takes on new meaning, more sparkle.

What if you have loved and lost? You may have had a real love relationship that did not result in marriage. Perhaps one or both of you did not recognize at the time that it was real love. Or some tragedy may have robbed you of your beloved. In spite of the pain of loss, you still are likely to be a better person for having had love. You can better understand yourself and be better prepared for finding success in your future relationships. You will be more mature. You grew through your love experience, and that growth will not all wither away. Whatever happened, real love will have an organizing and constructive effect on your personality.

CLUE 6. How and when does it end?

Infatuation: it stops the same way it starts - fast. The few things you do like about the other person - even those strongly held at first - begin to wear thin. All those other things you don't have in common begin more and more to rear their ugly heads. You begin to quarrels, conflicts, even fights, and then doubts about your "love." Soon you break up, UNLESS you and your partner become involved in mutually satisfying sexual relations. Then sex will frustrate the usual test of time. A good sexual relationship may hold a couple together as long as three to five years. But that's about it. Sex alone will not keep a couple together longer than that. MAKING UP THE TEST OF TIME if you are already involved in satisfying sex relations by stop doing it.

Real Love: it stops slowly. It will take long time to end a relationship and it will take long time to get over it. Love involves meshing many, many facets of two personalities. You grow together and become a unit. The person becomes a basic part of you, of your own personality. If a break comes, you are just not going to be the same. In fact, you may never quite get over it for as long as you live. That does not mean that you cannot love again. Social scientists are certain that there are a number of persons in this world with whom each of us normally can have a genuine, deep-seated love that will last.

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CLUE 7. How Do You See Each Other?

Infatuation: you live in a two-persons world. You two tend to neglect your family and pay little or no attention to your other friends. You turn a deaf ear to your teachers or your boss. You fail to do your homework. You lose interest in things that used to excite you. It becomes not only the most important thing in your world but the only thing that really matters to you. Your relationship tends to be exclusive. Your other friends feel left out, neglected, or ignored. Since this "romantic love" (infatuation) is of such central concern to you, nothing must be allowed to stand in its way. You think you are justified in giving up anything in favor of this amazing event that has happened so unexpectedly.

Infatuation is a vaccine that immunizes you against seeing anything wrong with the other person. You tend to idealize your partner. No one can tell you anything wrong about the object of your affections. At best, you won't believe it. At worst, you may turn against the accuser in anger and rejection. If you are infatuated, you defend the other person against all critics. You just will not admit that he or she has any faults. You idealize not only each other, but also your situation. You two may have gross problems and obstacles to cope with - different religions, hopes, values, family, and cultural backgrounds. Danger signals by the dozen! Yet you are not concerned. You don't even feel the need to think about these enormous hazards before marriage. You think that somehow it all just has to come out OK.

What makes us idealize so much? For one thing, we tend to be on our best behavior while courting. We show only our best side. Another reason is the ""halo effect," or the tendency to judge the whole personality largely in terms of one or two highly admired qualities. One great trait or two can fool us into thinking that the whole person is great as well. And sex gets into the act, too. One study showed that male subjects who were sexually aroused rated the pictures of the same girls to be much more attractive than did the same males when they were not aroused. So in infatuation, you'll tend to see what you want to see in the other person, rather than what is really there. LOVE IS NOT BLIND, INFATUATION IS.

IF IT'S LOVE, YOU ADMIT THEIR FAULTS BUT LOVE THE PERSON IN SPITE OF THEM. You see the person's real merits and build on that. A mutual process is set in motion. Your love leads you to appreciate the best in the other. In turn, as the other person learns of your love, it brings out the best in her or him. You are frank to admit that the other person is not perfect. But you see so much to be admired and respected that you can live with those faults.

Real Love: as with infatuation, in real love the beloved may well be the most important person in the world to you. But there's the big difference. In real love, you expand your world to include the beloved. If you really love each other, you don't abandon or neglect your other relationships. Instead, you just add this wonderful new relationship to all the others you have. It becomes a plus, not a replacement. You still maintain good ties with your family, your friends, your teachers. You retain your interest in your work or studies - assuming that you had such an interest in the first place. Things that you liked to do before, you still like to do. Your world grows larger, not narrower.


No, but infatuation is. Infatuation, like other extreme emotions such as anger, hate, and fear, distorts thinking. Only the passing of time will bring about gradual return to reality. When the ideal bubble bursts - and burst it will - pain and disillusionment sets in.

Again, it pays to be honest. Much of the pain and tragedy of romantic infatuation could be avoided if the couple would level with themselves and with each other. Instead, they hide their faults and misled the other into thinking they are something they are not.

For this they pay a terrible price. Perhaps the most important reason for self-disclosure is that without it we cannot truly love. How can I love a person I don't know? How can the other person love me if he doesn't know me? The answer: HONESTY IS A MUST.

We should behave like small children and "act our real selves."

Time is the infatuated person's best friend. It is both the great revealer and the great healer. When your heart has been broken, time will heal the hurt.

Time also is the best antidote for the deadly poison of idealization. As interaction increases, knowledge converts the dream image into awareness of the real partner. Awareness punctures the dream bubble and brings the relationship down to earth. Time can shield you from plunging into an unsound marriage on the strength of a mere infatuation. Love that is time tested is the real thing.

CLUE 8. How Do Others View You Two?

Infatuation: few or none of your family and friends approve of your relationship. Your beloved's friends likely don't think much of you, and your friends aren't very fond of him or her, either. Each of you will also dislike the other's friends. Real Love: most or all friends and parents approve. You like each other's friends and fell comfortable with them, because you have a good deal in common. What brings friends of the same sex together? If you are heterosexual you choose same-sex friends not on the basis of sexual attraction, but because of their personalities and because you have lots of interests in common. You like to talk about and do many of the same things. In infatuation, you have been drawn to each other largely by physical attraction. This is completely different from what attracted you to your same-sex friends. Therefore, since the two of you have few interests in common, few if any of your friends approve of your choice. On the other hand, if you really love each other, your relationship is also base on the many interests you share. You are friends as well as lovers. Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. Since you like in each other the same kinds of things you like in your friends of the same sex, then all of you have a great deal in common. You all have lots to talk about, many of the same interests, a great many similar ideas. Thus you are all far more likely to get along well together. So most or all of your friends will approve of your relationship. So if few or none of your friends approve of your boy or girl friend, beware. Your "love" interest is probably based on physical attraction and sex. But if many friends approve, that suggests that you have much mutuality, many things in common. These factors are basic elements in a real love relationship. It follows, then, if most of your friends approve, you are more likely in love. Ask yourself. "Can you be yourself naturally with the person you love? Does he or she bring out the best in you, or the worst? Are you genuinely proud of this person? Do you enjoy being with him or her in the company of your family and friends?" To these queries we would add one more. Are the same qualities present in your beloved that you like in your same-sex friends? If they are not present, proceed with caution. It may be just infatuation, not love. When parents do not approve of a marriage, the failure rates are very high. Most parents love their children. So if your parents think you're about to make a big mistake, they are likely to oppose it. They don't want you to get hurt, to be robbed of future joy. If they're convinced you're making a poor choice, they just may be right. Since they don't have stars in their eyes like you do, they may be able to see the situation more clearly than you can. If so, then they are being your friends, not your enemies, by showing their concern or by not approving of the relationship. There is one exception to this. In a few cases, parents may not be emotionally grown up, not willing or able to release sons or daughters to live their own lives. In such cases, if the young person is ever to marry he or she must do so against the parent's wishes. But such cases are rare. So if your parents object, be very sure it is they who are immature and not yourself before moving ahead. It's usually a mistake for parents to "lay down the law" and forbid their children to see the person they object to. That will probably just drive the couple into each other's arms. This is known as the Romeo-and-Juliet effect. Studies have shown that parental opposition may actually cause a couple to fall deeper into "romantic love" or infatuation.

There is strong evidence that peer and parental approval tend to indicate love. Divorced persons were almost four times as likely to complain that they and their spouses had no mutual friends. That is, they seemed to have little in common with the other's friends. Happily married couples were far less likely to have problems with each other's parents. Divorced men were three times as likely to list "interference of in- laws" as a major complaint. This bears out the view that real loves are more likely to gain the approval of parents. When most friends and parents object, take special care. They are trying to tell you something you should know. But if most or all of them approve, that is a good sign.

CLUE 9. What Does Distance Do?

Infatuation: absence makes the heart grow fonder - of somebody else! In infatuation Sue and Sam have been interested mainly in each other's physical equipment. That is, what they can see, hear, smell, taste or touch about each other. Such interest is hard to sustain when a thousand miles are separating the couple. Since only a few things attract them to each other, the roots of the relationship are thin. It won't last long unless it gets nourished by a lot of face-to-face contact.

After the infatuated couple is apart for a few days or weeks, they begin to lose interest. After a while the physical equipment of some more available person begins to look good to them. So if it is infatuation, it will die with distance.

Real Love: survives separation. It may even grow. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. Why? Because love is rooted in attraction to the other's total personality, not just physical appeal. When you are in love, a great many of the tendrils of your personalities tend to grow together, to unite you into loving oneness. When you have to be apart, you are not your whole self.

CLUE 10. How Do Quarrels Affect the Romance?

Even a couple united by love will quarrel once in a while. Any time two people seek to merge the many facets of their personalities, there will be rough edges to iron out. That is to be expected.

So be prepared for some friction even if you're in love. You will disagree on a few things. Some aspects of your lives won't fit together well, at least not right away. There will be many adjustments to make, and sparks may fly at times until you get things worked out between you.

If a couple said they never quarrel, one of three things is true. First, they may be lying through their teeth. They've quarreled and they know it. They just won't admit it.

Second, they quite honestly may have forgotten. Over the years a couple may well discover more creative and constructive ways to settle disputes. They don't argue, they discuss. They learn the art of give and take. Third, at least one of them does not stand up for his or her personal rights. That's not a marriage. One dominates, the other just submits.

So the important thing is not whether you quarrel, but the way you quarrel. Ask yourself three questions.
(1) How severe are our quarrels?
(2) How often do they occur?
(3) What is the final effect of quarrels on our relationship?

The answers are good indicators of the nature of your romance.

Infatuation: quarrels will kill the relationship, and they tend to become more frequent and more severe. Since your main attraction is physical and the interests you hold in common are few, the few things you do have in common soon prove too weak to give lasting support. The fabric of your romance starts to wear thin. You begin to lose interest. You find yourselves disagreeing on more and more things, so more and more often you quarrel. The words get more harsh and full of mean barbs. You hurt each other more and more deeply – and you may even do it on purpose.

After each quarrel, you kiss and make up. (That part is oh, so wonderful, be it love or infatuation.) But your renewed closeness does not last. The bonds between you continue to go to pieces. Finally, the sour times overshadow the sweet. One or both of you decide that it's not worth the struggle. Hard as it is to do so, you break it off. You may go back together a time or two, but there are no bonds of love. In time, you break for good and go your separate ways. Be glad, not sad! You're lucky you had it happen before you were wed, because happen it would.

Real Love: lives through quarrels, and quarrels become less frequent and less severe. A loving couple has a broader base of things in common. Their relationship can absorb a good deal of strain because it has a firmer foundation. In love you feel more an art of each other, so you have more of a stake in working things out. You see a future together and seek to claim it. You try harder to find good substitutes for conflict. You learn to communicate in more creative ways.

For instance, you can learn to discuss frankly without arguing. Nobody wins an argument; it just confirms both of you more solidly in your own views. One couple makes it a practice never to reply in anger, no matter how great the urge to do so. When one of them gets angry, the other just shuts up until the dust settles.

"I'm sorry" may well be the hardest words you'll ever say but atonements bring at-homeness. It is only common courtesy to show others that we regret a past mistake. Such an admission will likely bring forth warm acceptance and response in kind from the other person. Does love really mean never having to say you're sorry? On the contrary, one should never take the forgiveness of another for granted, no matter how deep the love bond between you. Maybe our loved one does not demand that we say it, but it will be much appreciated if we do.

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Constructive Quarreling

Quarrels can be constructive. An electrical fuse serves to keep a sudden burst of strong current from blowing out the whole power system. It may be better to blow off some steam and spoil an evening than to blow the whole relationship.

While they may do some good, quarrels can also do a lot of harm. Some studies show that quarrels may act more as a hair trigger than a safety valve.

Perhaps the key to constructive conflict is mutual caring and respect. A principle of child rearing could apply here. If a child ever has to be spanked, it should be done out of love, never out of anger or spite. The punishment should indeed hurt the parent as much as the child.

So it should be with marital quarrels. When the couple talks straight with each other, there should never be any doubt about an underlying bond of love. Each should be quite sure that the other deeply cares and is supportive, not destructive. The quarrel should not leave the partners hostile, hurt, angry, or bitter. The motive is to make the relationship better, not tear it down or destroy it - and each other.

Some couples tend to break up and then get back together over and over. They can't seem to get along with - or without - each other for very long at a time. This is more likely to happen if they are involved with sex.

Sound the alarm bell! Most alert counselors know that if a couple breaks up and gets back together more than once during courtship, it's a bad sign. The couple should take fair warning. If it keeps happening before the wedding, it's likely to follow that same pattern afterward - and get worse. Who wants to put up with that for the rest of their lives?

CLUE 11. How Do You Feel about and Refer to Your Relationship?

Infatuation: If a girl is infatuated, time and again she used the words I, me, my, and he, him, his. She did not once use words like we, us, or our. She was unwittingly revealing her true feelings. By the use of these terms she has betrayed that she is still keeping her own identity carefully separated from his.

That tells us that she has not yet come to think of herself as part of a couple. She has not yet invested her self in the relationship. She's still clinging to her own selfish identity. That points to infatuation.

Real Love: Two persons who have real love, on the other hand, come to feel that they are no longer separate, but have in great measure become one. Since they see themselves as a unit, as a couple, they tend to use we and us and our when they refer to what happens to them. It seems only natural and right to do so. They don't even have to think about it. They are simply so much alike in motivation, attitudes, values, interests, and viewpoints that the differences between them are reduced to a minimum. There results a strong feeling of oneness; each person feels fully accepted, protected, and secure. They are still unique, separate people, but they merge themselves into a pattern of common bonds. In this sense they have become "unselfed."

In love, the couple gives up much of their separate selves, yet by doing so each becomes even more fulfilled as a self. A person's identity is not stifled by love; it is enriched. As they become a "we," each is at once a more fulfilled "I." They get double enjoyment out of everything they do. In the first place, each of them enjoys things as individuals just as they did before they were in love. But in addition, they have the added joy of sharing those things with the loved one.

CLUE 12. Are You Selfish or Selfless?

Clues 12 and 13 may well be the two most important in the list. They have to do with whether a couple are self-centered or other-centered. They deal with the basic, core attitude that each person displays toward the other. Such elements will be crucial to the success or failure of any marriage.

Infatuation: Why does Mike like to date Kate? She's the school's Homecoming Queen! Not that he likes her all that much. She is pretty and popular, but she's also spoiled and selfish. Still, he likes to date her because, since she's the "queen" of the school, dating her makes him the "king." He's the envy of all the fellows when they see him out with her. So he dates her, not for herself, but for the boost it gives to his ego.

If you are infatuated, your ego response to the other person is mainly selfish and restrictive. Your prime interest in the relationship is what it does for you.

Maybe you know someone who keeps a guy "on the string." She doesn't care much for him, treats him like dirt. But his devotion to her builds up her self-image.

Then there's the guy who wants to overhaul his partner over to suit himself. He is not content that she be herself. He wants to change her into the person he wants or needs her to be. These are both examples of selfish infatuation.

It's not wrong for you to have your personal needs filled. Every person needs that. But when you’re overriding interest is your own selfish wants and needs, when you have little or no concern for the wants and needs of your partner - then that's not love. It's infatuation.

Selfish Sex

Some people date others just for the thrill of necking or petting - or more. Sex is utterly selfish, using the object only to get satisfaction. If a person’s interest in another is just sex, then when they are through having sex with this other person, they are through with them, period - until they get the urge to have sex again. In real love, there is always concern for the welfare or happiness of the other person, regrets their lovers absence even right after sex, wants to be together with their lover, feels lonely without them.

Real Love: your ego response tends to be unselfish and outgoing. You care as much about what's good for the other as for yourself. You want her or him to get as much out of the relationship as you get. Love is a state in which each one of two people realizes that his or her happiness can be attained only when the other also is happy. As a consequence, each one lives not only for one's self, but for the other, sometimes even more for the other than for one's self.

If you're in love, you will share thoughts, feelings, attitudes, plans, hopes, interests, even intimate things you would share with few if any others. And the more you share, the more committed to each other you will become. If you are in love, you will also want to keep these shared secrets pretty private - even sacred. You will want to keep your physical expressions of affection quite private. You will shy away from obvious necking and petting in public. It is no accident that those who display a lot of affection in public also tend to get low scores on emotional maturity tests.

Commitment - a Law of Life

Not only is the unselfish commitment of one's self essential to a happy marriage. It is also important if we are to gain fullness of life in any are. One of the basic secrets of life is that a higher fulfillment of self comes as a result of committing one's self to something higher and greater than the self.

That's a lesson that the so-called "me" generation needs to learn. Such a commitment helps us to rise above mere concern with our own selfish needs and wants. It opens whole new horizons of value and meaning for our lives. The person least concerned about self is the person who becomes most fulfilled.

Loving a spouse or a family not for themselves but because they are your spouse and your children then that is selfish - another kind of self-love. This, like any other type of self-love, serves to keep you from finding your peak of fulfillment. So if you are to be fully mature, your circle of concern needs to reach out beyond the self, even beyond your own family and local community as well. Indeed, now our loving concern must include all people everywhere - the whole of planet earth.

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CLUE 13. What Is Your Overall Attitude?

Closely related to your ego response is your general attitude toward your partner. Are you concerned solely with what you get out of the relationship? Or do you find yourself wanting to make sure the other person is happy, and that his or her needs are also being met?

Infatuation: your overall attitude is one of taking from the relationship. You will find that your main concern is what you are getting out of it, plus what you hope to get in the future. The other person is seen as a means to gratify your own personal needs and wants, to attain your own goals and satisfactions.

You like the person not for what he or she is as a person, but for what that person does for you. You use the person as a stepping-stone to get things you want. Your partner helps you get attention, go places you like, satisfy your sex urge, climb the social ladder, get out of a bad home life, or a host of other private ends. In short, you exploit the other.

Such an attitude will not help you build a long, happy relationship. If you are willing to use the person for your own advantage before you marry, you will no doubt do so afterward as well. You will marry not for love, but for self- centered reasons such as greed or lust, position or prestige, a life of ease or security. These are scarcely the elements of real love.

Real Love: If you have found real love, you more and more want to give to, not take from, the other person and the relationship. You want to share, give of yourself to your beloved. You are intent on doing all you can to bring happiness to the other just as long as it does not spoil chances for his or her future fulfillment, or threaten your future together. When you are in love, you want your beloved to be as happy as you are. If you haven't yet reached that stage, then you probably do not love.

CLUE 14. Are You Jealous?

Infatuation: jealousy is more frequent and more severe. When you're jealous you want to keep him or her wholly to yourself. You are, in short, being selfish and possessive. Your concern is with what you want, not with what the other person wants. You're afraid that he or she might enjoy - or give some attention to - someone other than yourself.

Such a response is selfish. Your attitude is one of taking from your relationship. You are not willing to release the other person to do freely what he or she finds enjoyable. In effect, you are saying: "I want you to be happy, but only if you do what makes me happy. My happiness comes first, not yours." That is a sign of infatuation, not love. Jealousy is strongly associated with divorce. More than three times as many divorced than happily married persons report mate jealousy.

Real Love: If it is love, jealousy is less frequent and less severe. Not that you will never feel jealous. None of us ever gets to be 100% selfless. But the more you love the other person, the more you are able to release her or him. Release is an expression of trust, respect, and acceptance. To the extent that your love is not selfish, you can be free of jealousy.

If she likes to talk to another boy once in a while, he will not restrain her freedom. He wants her to be happy, even though he might prefer that she talk only with him all the time. She will not mind if he on occasion likes to dance with some other girl. Love does not restrict, it release. It does not imprison, it liberates.

That's why it's so important that love be mutual. If you love, you trust. That means you need someone worthy of that trust. That way you can free each other to be your true selves, in full confidence that your trust will not be betrayed.

As your love grows, so does your trust and confidence. More and more you learn to avoid the things that displease each other. As a result, jealousy comes to be less frequent and less severe. At length it may all but disappear.

If you set out to save your life, that's a selfish intent. The result is that you lose out on life. You miss the joy of giving, of being useful, of feeling needed.

SUMMARY CLUE: In real love, if you love someone so much that you want that person to be happy, even if you are not the one to make him or her happy, then you really love that person. But be sure you have read the signs right before you give up such a love.


A good, lively infatuation can be a grand and glorious thing. So when it hits you, don't do anything drastic about it right away.

First, be sure you don't get swept into some "quickie commitment" that you might later regret. By all means, take lots of time. Remind yourself that if the real stuff of love is to be found in your relationship, it will still be there next week and next month - and next year. No need to hurry into anything. You can never go wrong by taking your time. If your love is real, it will not fade. You can afford to be cautious, to wait. Be slow even to label it love. Above all, remind yourself that infatuation is never enough to build a marriage on.

Second, don't be too quick to get involved in sex. You will no doubt want very much to have sex. That is quite normal. The urge may at times seem too strong to curb. But sex can lead to a whole flock of new and needless complications. It can dull your ability to think straight about your relationship.

Infatuation May Grow into Love

If you determine that you're infatuated, not in love, you don't have to rush to end the relationship. Infatuation can and sometimes does develop into real love. Assume a wait-and-see attitude. If it doesn't last, fine. You have made no rash commitments, and you haven't dashed into sex, so you need have no regrets. If and when the break does come, you can much more easily accept it. Breaking It Up After you've given a relationship a fair trial and you're convinced that it's an infatuation with no future, you may want to call it quits. If you decide to do that, of course, try not to hurt your partner any more than you have to. Remove the arrow with great care. Be as nice about it as you can.

At the same time, you do the person no favor by putting off the breakup. That is cruel. As soon as you are sure of your decision, tell him or her right away. It may not come as much of a surprise. You have probably dropped some strong hints along the way that you had your doubts about the relationship.

In any case, be perfectly honest - and gently firm. If you see no future at all in the situation, make that quite clear. If there is no hope, offer the person none. And explain in full your reasons for the break. Remain friends if you care to. But be firm in you decision before you act, then stick by it if you feel you are right. Remember, if it's infatuation for both of you, you will both tend to get over it fairly fast.

If the person threatens you in anger, stall until you can get protective support from parents or friends. If he or she tries to hold on to you by threatening self-harm or even suicide, that is a bluff - unless the person is mentally sick. Even so, you cannot be held responsible for the immature reactions of others if you've done your best to be kind and considerate, yet truthful. A relationship that is continued under the pressure of threat is no relationship at all.


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