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How To Handle an Infatuation

It happens every day–to good people, to people with good marriages. They didn’t intend for it to happen, “it just did.”

Cupid is the most mischievous of the gods. He enjoys shooting his arrows at the most unlikely people at the most unlikely times. Falling in love is not only unpredictable, it is often most inconvenient, especially if you are already married or you fall in love with someone who is married, or the person with whom you fall in love is thirty years younger or older or happens to be your physician or pastor.

The myth of Cupid incorporates a profound truth about human nature. Romantic love is a compulsive, irrational feeling. In terms of strict mental hygiene, romantic love is a form of mental illness because of its distinctly neurotic quality.

If one of Cupid’s arrows strikes you at the wrong time, what can you do to recover from the infatuation with which you have been smitten? Or is there anything to be done but suffer this most enthralling and most painful of emotions?

First, you must realize that romantic love cannot be controlled by an act of the will. The forces at work in romantic love are among the most primitive and powerful psychological impulses within us. No amount of logic can make them go away. You cannot talk yourself out of love, nor can anyone else talk you out of it. It is useless for a friend, spouse, counselor or priest to tell you that it is not good and that you should just let it go. You did not seek Cupid’s arrow, and you cannot remove it by a courageous act of the will.

However, romantic love can be starved. If you find yourself in love with someone and if you have enough of your wits about you to realize that to pursue the relationship will only bring pain either to yourself or to your family or to others, your only hope is to begin starving these feelings.

You feed love through friendly, social contact, and you starve it by cutting off such contact. “But,” you say, “it is impossible to avoid seeing the person, because the two of us work in the same office.” In that case you should avoid chit chat over coffee or at any other meetings. If you must speak to the person, make it a strictly formal, “Good morning,” and nothing more.

You must remember, however, that starving Cupid is like draining Lake Michigan. It will take a long, long time to see results. For weeks, even months, you will probably continue to have intense feelings about the person you love. And if your relationship has become sexual, you will surely experience even more acute withdrawal pains. You will find yourself day dreaming about your love. The pain of separation will seem unbearable. Be assured, your love will not die easily.

But if you continue to starve them, your feelings will eventually subside. After several months you will discover that you are not so preoccupied with images of the beloved and that you can get on with life without him or her. Cupid told you it was impossible to live without this person, but Cupid has played a trick on you. You really can live without this person.