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You Can't Help Who You Fall In Love With

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TrulySad posted 10/22/2013 16:59 PM

I've heard this phrase many times, when talking with my friends about my relationship with a younger man.

I wanna yell at them...

If that statement is true, than our W's have the perfect excuse.

I realize they are being nice, and wanting me to be happy...but damn it, of course you can help who you fall in love with!

I'm rambling.... Sorry

notquiteoverit posted 10/22/2013 17:10 PM

I kind of agree with the statement that "You can't help who you fall in love with". But I look at it this way: Cheating is not love. If someone is allowing their AP to degrade themselves by cheating and being a dirty little secret, then there is very little love and no respect in that relationship.

Darkness Falls posted 10/22/2013 17:17 PM

Nonsense. When this is said in the context of an affair, the logical response is that the WS/OP should never have put themselves in the situation in the first place in order for feelings to develop. In the context of any other relationship---you feel what you feel, but if that relationship is otherwise toxic/harmful/damaging to your life, the person in question always has the choice in whether or not to remove themselves from the situation.

These days, I believe that less credence needs to be given to "feelings" and more to "actions." I can say I love someone all day long, but if I treat them like dog shit, then is there really any difference between saying "I love you" and saying "I hate you"?

HFSSC posted 10/22/2013 17:19 PM

TrulySad, I agree 1000%.

I went on a rant about this a while back.

"Falling in Love" requires a set of deliberate choices. You meet someone. You are attracted/interested. You choose to spend time with them. You choose to begin to relate on an intimate level.

It's like someone who crosses a busy highway, then a mine field, climbs over a barbed wire fence, jumps on a rusty zip line and then when they fall in the water, throws their hands in the air saying "What did I do? I didn't mean for this to happen."

F*** that noise.

silverhopes posted 10/22/2013 17:23 PM

*sigh* Yes, we can help who we fall in love with. We can choose whether or not to feed the chemicals that might link a bond with a particular person. That's why the 180 is so effective if a person wants to genuinely detach from someone.

If you want to avoid falling in love with someone...

- Don't hang out with them. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, but more often than not it just makes you forget them faster. Especially if mental NC is also in place.

- Think of one turn OFF about said person. Then think of it each time a "good" thought comes up. Make it a habit. Makes it easier to let them go.

- Learn to separate a person from how you feel about yourself when you're with them. Isolate what feels so good and learn to recreate that feeling WITHOUT another person's involvement. For instance, did you feel on top of the world because you felt gifted or skilled? Getting a perfect video game score might give you that same rush.

- Identify what is or isn't healthy about being in love with a specific person. That involves acknowledging what healthy values are first (disadvantage if you don't know what healthy values are - which is different from knowing and actively disregarding them). If you're in a relationship, then any person outside of the relationship as an "in love" candidate is an automatic disqualifier. Do not explore, do not "just friends", do not collect $200 or lose more in child support bills.

Yeah, you can definitely help who you fall in love with. They're just unstable chemicals, really. Once you realize that, it takes away some of the fairy dust from the whole thing. Real love is built.

foundoutlater posted 10/22/2013 17:41 PM

You canít choose who you find attractive (maybe) but you sure as hell choose what to do about that. Hell if that were not true I donít think monogamy would exist at all.

purplejacket4 posted 10/22/2013 17:42 PM

Yeah I disagree with this. I had infatuation feelings for several people that I purposely stopped because in my estimation they were not right for me in the long run.

I've felt infatuation even since I've been in my long term relationship with fWS. I recognized it for what it was and would wait for that person to do something silly or something that I strongly disagreed with and I snapped out of it. My secret is I knew boundaries. One person I was attracted to actually propositioned me and I pretended to be oblivious to it (like it was a joke). That was the something I needed to stop the attraction. Because PJ4 is NOT a cheater. Blech.

vivere posted 10/22/2013 17:45 PM

Ahh yes you can, just like you can help who you fall out of love with.

Now, if you were to say you can't help who you're attracted to I'd be more likely to agree. That initial attraction you feel when meeting someone for the first time, that's far less calculated. It's also not love.

[This message edited by obliviousnownumb at 5:46 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

Simple posted 10/22/2013 17:55 PM

I completely disagree with this. I've known many couples who learned to love each other that started as a friendship. I am a firm believer that you can choose who to love... and not love. That in order to have a successful marriage you have to look at your partner and choose to love them every day.

If we keep acknowledging crap sayings like these, they will not help us be happy. I've always had a saying that true love is hard work. Just look at my signature line. That crap saying that you can't help... is in the same line as "soul mates" to me. They are fantasy, they are not real and a sign of immaturity regarding relationships.

To make that statement true: "you can't help who you're attracted to". That's more appropriate than using "love". Now what you do with that attraction is purely in the realm of self-control. I find many guys attractive but it doesn't mean I can't help but have sex with them...

Hope that helps.

[This message edited by Simple at 5:56 PM, October 22nd (Tuesday)]

TrulySad posted 10/22/2013 19:07 PM

If we keep acknowledging crap sayings like these, they will not help us be happy. I've always had a saying that true love is hard work. Just look at my signature line. That crap saying that you can't help... is in the same line as "soul mates" to me. They are fantasy, they are not real and a sign of immaturity regarding relationships.

This! Exactly.

While I know my friends mean well, and are only trying to make me feel like there is nothing wrong with dating a younger man...when they say you can't help who you fall in love with...it's a kick in the gut. I see him betraying me again, years down the road, but then using this bs excuse as a reason.

I didn't go walking down a street one day, trip, and oops, I fell in love with him. I allowed myself to get to know him. To see where the feelings would go. And crazy me, over time I came to love a man who showed me so many reasons why he was special and just felt right. Every step I took, I was fully in control.

Love isn't an accident. It's a verb, and one we are clearly in control of.

StillGoing posted 10/22/2013 19:54 PM

Of course you can help who you fall in love with. Don't share so much of yourself that it happens. Ta da.

Artemisia posted 10/22/2013 20:58 PM


What a great thread. So many great, thoughtful and funny posts. Sometimes I think everyone should read SI, regardless of experience.

Bobbi_sue posted 10/23/2013 01:59 AM

"You can't help who you fall in love with". But I look at it this way: Cheating is not love.

It is my opinion that you absolutely CAN help who you fall in love with, but I acknowledge there are some who "believe" otherwise. And for those who believe this "just happens" then I am all the more disgusted if they make promises and vows to someone never to cheat...because in their heart they know someone else may come along and it won't be their fault or within their power to stop them from falling in love with someone else...

Cheating "is not love" is obviously a true statement, but yes, can cheaters can be in love with each other, regardless of their bad motives, lies and sneaking and other things most of us don't associate with love. I don't really think it is helpful for BSs to believe that because someone is cheating, it is not possible they are in love with the AP. The bottom line is of course they had the power to stop themlves from falling in love with that person long before it happened, but if somebody says they love someone, I believe them since I also believe that love is defined by the person feeling it, not by someone else.

Trulysad, I don't know how much younger your SO is and it does not concern me, but I commend you for acknowledging that you looked at the overall situation and decided he was okay for you before you allowed yourself to fall in love.

Spelljean posted 10/23/2013 12:52 PM

Only to those with low emotional intelligence. Being a "slave" to one's emotions is immature thinking.

If you were a slave to every single emotion that you felt, you couldn't get through a day without changing your mind about 100 different things. If we understand our emotions fluctuate about countless things, why can't we apply that logic to our emotions about a particular person? Because we catostrophize "losing our possible soulmate or love of our life" and therefore choose to hold on to THOSE emotions as appropriate, necessary for life, and "right."

Ostrich80 posted 10/23/2013 17:37 PM

I agree 100%...before you fall in love, there's attraction, right? If I found myself feeling attracted to someone that's off limits to me, I would put miles of separation between myself and them, not necessarily physical since that may not be an option but mental miles. Once a person caves into that attraction and feeds it...oh boy, your going down the deep hole

On another note, I think falling in love and falling in lust can get crossed up. They are 2 different things. Yes you feel lust when your in love but lust can get emotions going they get confused with love..especially if your looking for a reason to take the forbidden fruit if ya Kwim?

[This message edited by Ostrich80 at 5:40 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]

Scientist posted 10/24/2013 09:57 AM

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "falling in love". If it means being attracted then spending time to let the attraction grow into love, then yes you can help falling in love. But if it only means the initial attraction then, no, you can't help who you fall in love with. But whatever you mean by it, you CAN help what you do about it. You can help whether you end up in bed with them, deceiving your spouse, and f??king them. That is choice totally independent of falling in love, however you define it.
It is pathetic that WSs use this as an excuse. Part of the art and pleasure of being an adult human being is that you do not just act on your base impulses, but you THINK before you act (or, better still, you think and don't act..).
Nothing excuses infidelity, but this excuse is the lamest of the lot.

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