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Are you in a dating relationship (or wanting to be in a dating relationship)?

If so, would the following also describe you:

  1. You have a brain and so you want your relationship to be headed somewhere
  2. You have a heart and so you don’t want anyone to get hurt in the process

If so, then at some point you will want to know this:  is it love you are experiencing or just infatuation.

You still with me? Good, because I want to share with you three FALSE signs of a great relationship. These are three characteristics quite common of romantic relationships which many consider to be indicators that things are all good, when in reality these characteristics tell you very little about the health of your relationship.

Indeed, many see these three FALSE signs as evidence of true love, when in reality they’re clear evidence of only infatuation.

Of course, being infatuated isn’t a crime. It’s quite natural in romance. However…

Mistaking infatuation for true love isn’t merely erroneous. It’s dangerous.

It leads to broken hearts and often worse. If you would like to save yourself this heartache, take this post to heart.

FALSE sign #1: You think your significant other is perfect!

Who wouldn’t want to share a romantic relationship with the perfect person?

There’s only one problem with this desire: no one’s perfect.

And this includes anyone you date.

Also everyone you date.

And everyone you see from afar you wish you could date.

We need look no further than John Crist’s story for proof that someone who seems like the most genuine, humble, decent, and likeable person can harbor disturbing character flaws and serious issues. (Even Captain America isn’t perfect.)

Q: How can we believe we know someone so well whom we don’t really know at all?

A: The halo effect. The halo effect explains our natural tendency to let a few positive qualities we perceive about someone color the way we see them overall. Sometimes, all it takes is just one positive quality: like they’re hilarious, or they think you are hilarious, or they’re easy to talk to, or they’re easy on the eyes.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a romantic relationship, or wanting to be in a romantic relationship with someone who seems too good to be true?

We talk about how to move beyond the perfect dream into healthy reality in this episode from the MAN2MAN memo series, What to Look for in a Girlfriend, on our FMU YouTube channel. And though this video is speaking specifically to the men, ladies will find the same principles apply to their gender.

FALSE sign #2: Your significant other thinks you are perfect!

If the tables are switched and it is you in the position of being idolized, you might feel one of two ways about it.

You could be like, “I finally found someone who gets me; who sees all the good in me that not even my mom could see.” If this is the case, then you have to recognize both the insecurity and pride behind your desire to keep that love coming, because you ain’t perfect.

On the other hand, you could feel this underlying pressure to live up to this “perfect image” your significant other holds of you, not wanting to let them down. Or lose them.

Maybe some of the changes you feel pressured to make are for your best. They may even be changes you’ve been wanting to make, but lacked the motivation until now. However, can we agree that changing your behavior, priorities, or beliefs in order to keep someone thinking you’re someone you’re not, probably isn’t the healthiest catalyst for positive change.

Then again we haven’t addressed the third possibility for your current revered state; namely that you’ve been intentionally projecting this image to your significant other.

If so, how long do you want to keep that up? After all…

If someone can’t love you in spite of your flaws; if they can only love some “perfect” image of you; then they can’t really love you.

Because to be loved you must be loved “as is.” And the depth with which you can be truly loved will be limited by the depth with which you are truly known.

So what do you do if you realize your significant other doesn’t really love you for you? How do you kill the dream without killing the relationship?

It actually begins with relationships other than the lovey-dovey one you share with your ardent admirer and we discuss that in this episode from the MAN2MAN memo series, Prepare to Meet Your Girlfriend, on our FMU YouTube channel. Again, though it’s speaking to the men, ladies will be glad they heard what we’re telling the guys.

FALSE sign #3: You never have conflict.

If you were both perfect, you could expect a conflict-free relationship, but we’ve already established this isn’t true of either of you. Or anyone.

Yet it’s undeniable that many love birds go for weeks, months, sometimes even years without any significant issues. How does that happen and how can that be a bad thing?

Either one of these answers explains:

  1. One or both of you are serious conflict-avoiders
  2. You simply haven’t gotten to know each other well enough yet

This reminds me of a friend we had over for dinner with his girlfriend many years ago. They had been dating for sometime and were beginning to think about marriage. Over the course of the evening it came up that the guy had been raised a staunch Republican while his girlfriend had been brought up as a staunch Democrat.

When my wife and I realized this we were intrigued. I mean, it’s not impossible for two people from different backgrounds to get along together. We already knew this couple was multi-racial, and thought that a beautiful thing.

However, successfully negotiating differences in race, religion, and politics, does require a lot of discussion, humility, understanding, and compromise. This is just one of the reasons scripture has always admonished believers to only consider marriage with other believers.

That said, I knew this couple had already talked through a lot of the challenges their racial differences introduced, so I asked them what conversations their political backgrounds had inspired.

Their answer floored me.

“We have never really talked about it.”

I suggested they should.


They broke up shortly thereafter.

So much for a conflict-free relationship.

What about you? What should you do if you’ve been enjoying a conflict-free relationship. Or what if  you’ve been looking for a conflict-free relationship and need to come to terms with the reality that this goal, while neato sounding, is probably both unrealistic and unhealthy?

We address that in this episode from the MAN2MAN memo series, Are You Ready to Date?, on our FMU YouTube channel. Yes. We’re talking to the guys, but as the saying goes, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. (Or something like that.)

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!