Do You Go Gaga for Love? 7 Telltale Signs

By Judy Belmont M. S. and Lora Shor M.S.W.

Are you in love with the idea of being in  love or is it the real thing?

Going “gaga” for someone is all about when you are in the initial “help me I am melting into your arms, you are the center of  my universe” feeling we all know–

Only to fall out of love, just as quickly.

In other words, another form of serial dating.

Celebs and regular girls and women alike fall into these different kinds of gaga love, so don’t think you’re alone.  Britney, Jessica Simpson, Scarlett Johannson, Madonna, J.Lo and many others along their ranks are right beside you.

So, how do you know if your feelings for someone are total gaga (infatuation) or real, mature love?

Below are seven tips which can help you decide if you are really in a love that can last or if you’ve really “lost it” and are just going gaga:

1.  Can You Be Yourself?
Do you love and trust yourself without depending on the other person? Real love is about being who you really are, and allowing the other person to be who they really are. Does the relationship make you feel doubtful about your looks and your personality? Insecurity will not bring out the best in either of you!

2.  Can he be Himself?
Love is not about wanting to mold the person into your ideal of what they “could be.”  All too often people love a person not for who they are, but for what they want him/her to be. Our motto:  Change yourself – not others!  Ask yourself, “Am I willing to accept him now for who he is, or am I banking on future changes to be happy with him?”  We all remember when Jennifer Lopez married her back-up dancer, Chris Judd, right?  This 7 month marriage is a perfect example of a woman expecting marriage to change her man into someone he’s not.  Before the public even knew their marriage was over, J.Lo was spotted around town with A-list actor Ben Affleck, talk about moving on!

3.  Remember that The Times They Are A-Changin’
Bob Dylan’s popular song resonates even 40 years later as so much of living is about transformation and growth.  Relationships evolve and change, but love remains constant and can weather the storm of changing times. A healthy relationship is one in which you each grow individually as well as together.  Madonna,  while still a music icon, today receives most of her press because of the young men with whom she associates.  Since her divorce from director Guy Ritchie, with whom she shares 2 children,  Madonna has dated a series of 20-something male models and dancers.  Baby Boomers take note! While these relationships can be fun at first there is really very little room for personal growth or change, which will eventually lead to an unfulfilling relationship.

4.  Do you feel “high?”
Those dopamine receptors in the brain start to kick in when you are in the throes of infatuation and physical attraction.   However, it is similar to a cocaine induced initial high that leads to another new low. MRI studies of the brain have actually documented that the same part of the brain is stimulated when one is using drugs as when one is in the “infatuation stage”.  Pop super princess and tabloid darling Britney Spears displayed a perfect example of infatuation stage when she married Kevin Federline after only 3 months of knowing him.  The couple stayed together for 3 years, producing 2 children in that time, but Britney has since commented that everything, the marriage, the children, came too fast.  So don’t rush the rush, if it is the real deal give your brain time to process it all before making a commitment to Gagaland.

5. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
This popular English proverb made even more popular by Billy Ocean’s song relates to the issue of real love vs infatuation. When the going gets tough and there are real issues to deal with the infatuated get going! People that are infatuated don’t want to hang around through the sad and mad times.  If things don’t go your way, do you run away?  This shows that this love is ‘shallow’ and does not have the depth to serve as an ‘anchor’ in tough times.

6. It’s not all about YOU!
Immature and infatuation is about You – it is what you want, need and crave.  Do you ask too often, “What can this person do for ME?”  In mature love, it is about what YOU can do , or even better, what you can both do for each other!  This does not mean you lose your identity, but rather you become less ego centric ( focused on yourself ) and needy.

7.  Watch out for Vampire Love!
Vampire love is when you suck the life out of another person out of desperation, insecurity and neediness, all in the name of love! No one can be your “everything” and if you say  “I can’t live without him” you are one sorry soul!  Loving someone and needing someone are two separate things, but so often we get them confused.  Remember, you are worthy no matter who you are with or without!

No one can make anyone else happy – we all make our own happiness.  But admittedly, a loving relationship can certainly help a lot–so ahead and go gaga for love. Enjoy it and feel the excitement, just don’t let yourself fall into the same traps as these celebs and go: from love gaga, to temporary insanity gaga.

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Judy Belmont M. S. and Lora Shor M.S.W. are both psychotherapists, wellness speakers, and are co-authors of the upcoming book  “ The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life” due out April 1, 2011.  This self-help book on resiliency teaches us how to get through life’s holes and not get stuck in them!  Their book can be pre-ordered on their website:  www.theswisscheesetheoryoflife.com