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What are new love affairs made of? Butterflies and rainbows. Fantasies and dreams. Sex that makes your toes curl spiced with passionate screams.  These are the things new love affairs are made of.  End scene. Exit characters. Time to face reality.

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Falling in love has always made my head spin, in a beautiful flowy way. At least that’s what I thought in those moments. And each and every time, I eventually became dizzy, lost control, and bumped into the wall of reality. People are complicated and falling in love has a tricky way of gently coating this fact. So a challenge arose from this, one of the toughest I’ve encountered.

This magical encounter rekindles our longing to belong to someone deeply and have this other person belong to us. It’s almost inexplicable what exactly attracts us to a particular woman or man, and maybe that is precisely what turns us into unconscious love zombies where it’s ‘lights out’ and our vision becomes blurred.

It may be interesting to pause for a moment and inquire — maybe for the sake of being truthful to ourselves or our partners, maybe for the sake of taking responsibility for those moments of unconsciousness and its consequences, and maybe just for the sake of sheer curiosity to understand how our minds work. We may find signs that can reveal precious information to us about what we’re looking for, what we desire, or what we should run away from.

It’s worthwhile taking a moment and becoming aware of some red flags that may be true about your current love relationship or looking back at some relationships from the past or new ones that are forming right now. Not necessarily in order to end or change them, but rather to create conscious choice and less projection into them.

Here are a few of these red lights that can provide insight into the deeper dynamics behind what we call ‘love.’ Remember, it’s not necessarily about changing these, but being aware of what experience they might create. Mindfulness is key here.

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I love your potential.

Potential is something everyone has. There is a sincere longing in most people to manifest that potential, but on the path of life there may be innumerable circumstances and misunderstandings that won’t allow us to realize it.

It is beautiful to recognize someone’s potential, but to build a relationship based on it is a wild bet at best. Even more than that, if that potential is not realized, we will usually feel disappointed because the love for it also carried the expectation and even the demand for its manifestation.

You challenge me to grow.

Suddenly there is someone out there who doesn’t allow us to find the easy way out, but demands that we  give our best and try harder. Who doesn’t want someone to believe in us?  In most cases this need to push another originates from our own need to discover something more in ourselves.

However, once the challenge has been taken and accomplished, we no longer have the need for that person to push us and the relationship lacks that urgency for change.

I can learn so much from you. (Imbalance)

This is more so about when we have an imbalance in roles. Learning from each other is what relationships are about. But what happens when just YOU see the other as a teacher? One partner becomes superior and the other inferior, as the teacher is leading the relationship and the other is following. The result is dependence.

In most cases the teacher doesn’t take his or her partner seriously and subsequently the mutual respect is hurt. The student can feel the imbalance and won’t feel good enough. Over time, once more matured, the student will look for a more balanced partnership.

I love someone much older or younger than me.

Love can cross many boundaries and age is one of them. When there is a large age gap it also means that one has already lived significant life stages while the other has not. Having a family is one such significant life experience. In order for partnerships to work it is important that both can look forward into a joint future, which for many people means having children. And for older partners this means being ready to start over again, while for the younger it’s critical to respect the past the older partner is coming with into the relationship.

You are a special person.

Who doesn’t want to feel special? We all do, and yet it is perhaps one of the most common relationship traps. “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met” is a common sentence when we’re in love, and yet, come on. It is a way for us to feel special by being with such a special person, but as time does it’s thing, we sober up and begin meeting the ordinary person our partner is.

Wanting and often manipulating the relationship to stay special by way of idealization is a sure way to stay blind to who our partner is and to avoid mature love. Oddly enough, a deep love needs to acknowledge the ordinariness both bring into the partnership, and find the love and care that wants to nourish this ordinariness by moving through the ups and downs of life.

‘I love your quirks’ and ‘I love you back because you love them.’

You surely know the personal traits of your partner that you found so cute and different at the outset of the love affair. Maybe it was an obsession with detail or an awkwardness when talking to people. In any case, it is only a matter of time until the quirk will create a division between you and your partner.

What we call quirks are often a distortion in our personality and they often create pain for ourselves and others. Seeing one another for who we really are is an act of love.

Our values and cultural backgrounds are not important; our love can withstand everything.

It is a high aspiration for us all to move beyond religion, traditions, beliefs, languages or any other defining characteristics. Yet our cultural upbringing can subconsciously define us. It gives us a large part of our identity and sets us apart from others. Often cultural differences within the same country can impact a relationship. Our background in many ways is our parents and as much as we want to break free, we are deeply connected to our roots.

A love that discards those difference dismisses what we deeply love, and that is our family and cultural heritage. Even if we call it a blind love, it still is love. Respecting our love for what is familiar keeps us humble to what is true to us, instead of using idealism to look away at what sets us apart.

No doubt that these difference are meaningless on a deeper level and as spiritual beings, but still need to be met with respect and awareness.

Our intimacy creates such strong connection.

Sexual chemistry between two people is a substantial and important connecting force. We can be blinded by strong sexual attraction and chemistry, and label it as love. Good sex or intimacy can point to physical and emotional needs that are fulfilled, and at the same time we need to ask ourselves if other areas of the relationship are working well too. Intimacy often serves as an escape from dealing with our inner complexities and fear when it comes to relating with another person, while giving the impression that a deep connection is present.