Will Moss tells us that “love is not blind - it sees more and not less, but because it sees more it is willing to see less”. Meaning that when we fall in love we see that other person in a way we didn’t before. We cherish and care for that person beyond normal standards. So it’s possible that even though we are in love and see them more clearly for who they are, we also tend to ignore certain behaviours and actions that at one time we would have annoyed us.
When in love our concept of that person changes and the negative things we witness seem to just fade away.
They become the be all and end all person in our lives.
As a result, we tend to create an idealized image of those we are in love with. Holding them in higher regard than anyone else - as if they can do no wrong which allows us to fall in love with the idealized image of that person than for the real, flawed, imperfect human they are.
Where did the concept originate?
The phrase ‘Love is Blind’ first appeared around the year 1401, in Merchant’s Tale by the English author Geoffrey Chaucer.
Over time it was used frequently by multiple writers and academic thinkers alike - including the likes of Plato and Plautus.
However it wasn’t until Shakespearean times that the phrase became popular and well known. English playwright William Shakespeare used it in various plays, including Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry V and The Merchant Of Venice. Given how famous Shakespeare’s writing became it’s no wonder we have all heard the phrase one way or another. He totally popularized it - even Netflix got on board with their reality TV show of the same name.
While in that show contestants are meant to fall in love without having ever seen the person they are communicating with, there is so much more to the “love is blind” concept than simply falling for someone for reasons beyond their physical appearance.
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So what does it mean exactly?
The phrase love is blind simply means that two people don’t just love each other based on appearances or external factors. That instead love is based on many factors - many different elements that we need to take into account.
There are a surprising number of cases out there of people falling in love with their idealized version of their partners - the version that has no flaws and is seemingly perfect.
Some people even go out of their way to try to chase the idea of falling in love, convincing themselves that it’s what life's all about, making it essential that they find it.
That’s how powerful love is. The drive for love is tantalizing.
At the beginning stages of a relationship, it can be very hard for people to honestly admit that they are in love with the actual version of their partners - as there’s still so much left to find out about a person. Things that’ll make you fall harder for them and things that might make you take a step back from it all.
Of course, no one’s out there saying they’re in love with who they think their partner is, as opposed to who they actually are - it’s not that easy to define.
Think about it, you haven’t always adored and idealized the person you’re with, so what changed?
Get ready. The answer may shock you.
You did. You changed. You became blinded by love.
Which leads me to believe in the notion that positive illusions of your partner are essential to forming a romantic relationship and falling in love - without it people would be too picky and would be constantly put off by little things that their partner does.
And so love is blind and people in love do not clearly see their partners negative and frustrating traits. They are blinded from them, and instead create an idealized image, one that only focuses on positive characteristics of their partner.
I for one am totally guilty of this.
It’s just natural right?Why do we become blinded by love?
It’s pretty simple if you think about it.
We idealize the person we love as it tends to show us what we desire in a partner. Projecting what we deem as our ideal mate.
For example, when we are leaning towards an interest, decision or a want we become inclined in a certain way. We realize that there are certain things about this interest that we can’t help but look at positively. We cast aside all negative thoughts related and only see what we want to see.
This idealization of someone you love could also be considered a defence mechanism of sorts, one that helps us to justify our decision in remaining with the partner we have chosen. Allowing us to convince ourselves, and others around us, that the person we have fallen in love with is the ideal partner for us - even when that might not be the case.
The same defence mechanism is typical when we go through with a big purchase, like a car, house or an expensive piece of furniture. We subconsciously spend time reading reviews specific to the product we’ve bought, ignoring all negative comments and features, as well as potential better alternatives. We tend to disregard any negatives and faults with the product we want to buy and convince ourselves it’s the perfect product or service and that no other out there can match it - which isn’t a bad thing.
This is because we are stubborn and set in our ways. Very rarely wanting to change our minds.
The mind is powerful, and at times, it leaves us totally blinded.The magic of falling in love
Positive portrayals of a partner happen throughout the relationship from start to finish.
Although there are times when it’s more palpable - like love at first sight scenarios and for those who are still in the honeymoon stages of love, it is always somewhat present. Falling in love i’s great, blissful, and even magical. A mesmerizing addiction that has us hooked.
When we first fall in love normally the person is someone who generally fits into a type you see yourself with. They might have things in common or act similar to others you’ve dated in the past.
In simpler terms, this person fits the criteria your mind has created in order for you to fall in love.
Now, it’s common for this love at first sight scenario to occur with little to no information about the person.
I mean it’s at first sight - that’s pretty fast - no time to ask questions.
And sometimes when we fall in love we do so not really knowing the in’s and out’s of what that person’s like. We are still figuring out their likes and dislikes, habits and personal taste - causing us to keep them positively elevated in our minds. Learning the details of their personalities with rose coloured glasses on.
However, when we find out more, we also tend to find out some negative aspects that we weren’t initially aware of.
This is where the ‘love is blind’ phrase comes into play. It allows us to slightly dismiss and ignore the person’s new found negative characteristics, in order to carry on idealizing and loving them the way we did before we found out.
This works for some and is the breaking point for others.
Because of this new found information, a more realistic picture is developed - one based on who they actually are and what it actually means to be with that person in love and in a committed relationship.
And this can, and usually does, shatter the perfect portrayal that you’ve been accustomed to.
Ever gone through a break up and wondered how you actually stayed in that relationship? Unfortunately it can also blind us to justify poor behaviour.
Well that’s ‘blind love’ for you.
Accepting your partner
If you do your research, you’ll find that most people who are married say that they are able to tell you their partners' negative traits- both physical and character related.
They can tell you what about their partner makes them annoyed as well as joyful. These are the ones that have grown past the blinding stage and accepted their partner for who they are. They form a new meaning of the phrase ‘love is blind’ as they recognize the negative features in their partner and choose to continue forward despite it all.
Blinding themselves purposely for love.
And who could blame them?
Falling in love is hard, it really is. It leaves you vulnerable and open to criticism.
When you’re in love you get to know the good and bad things about that person, which understandably can cause a strain on your emotions. But fortunately, it doesn’t always have to lead to separation.
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I’m sure we are all guilty of blind love, whether that be now, in the past or will be at some point in the future.
If you want to look past your lovers flaws and bad habits then you’ll need to form a new concept of them. One made from the idealized and realistic version of that person combined.
Remember, at the end of the day we are all human, and so minor flaws are a given. All those perfect imperfections to quote John Legend.
No one is perfect and so no one should chase perfection.
So what do we think? Is love blind? I suppose it all depends on how you look at it.