The morality of falling "in-love"


#1

How does one tell the difference between these in the early stages (for women)? :

Falling in love
Lust
Attraction
Admiration
A friendship that is getting closer and more intimate (in a non-sexual way)
Unhealthy emotional attachment

I find that as a woman, it is not easy for me to distinguish between these things. I bring this up because A. I have a history of getting unhealthily attached to people, and B. I'm currently in a situation where I think I may be attracted to a man with whom it would be entirely inappropriate to be attracted to, and I will leave it at that. But I don't know if it's simply I admire him a lot, or if my feelings are starting to turn into something that could eventually become sinful. I honestly don't know. For women, "romantic" attraction is often emotional rather than sexual, and it's really hard for me to discern the difference in the beginning.

If it is the start of something inappropriate, how do I know?


#2

The following is just my experience:

  1. “falling in love” requires mutuality. A person needs to guard this part of his/her heart until they are in a relationship where reciprocity is demonstrated. Love is an act of the will. Falling in love is a mixture of attraction and a will (conscious deliberate act).

  2. Lust and attraction are superficial and not to be relied on. If you are lusting after someone, it is a bad start to any relationship. If you are attracted to someone, it would be very good to examine what exactly you are attracted to. Is it because he is charming, aloof and cocky? or because he is humble, kind and devout? If he is is a mixture of these, be cautious.

  3. Admiration is a willful decision. Like attraction, it would be good to ask yourself what you admire about the person.

  4. There’s no such thing as an intimate friendship between a man and woman. If either are married, it’s disrespectful to the spouse and a violation of of the marriage vow. If both are single, why are they intimately friendly in a non-sexual way but not dating/married? Intimacy always includes attraction.

  5. If a person has a habit of having unhealthy attachments to others (holding onto crushes; holding on to relationships after they’ve ended; losing their own identity when in a relationship; trying to find their identity in others, etc), this is not going to magically go away by finding “the one”. If anything, it is the cause of mismatched marriages and divorces. If you sense you have a habit of unhealthy attachments, you will never have a healthy relationship until you address the source of that in counseling. Counseling will bring you from a place of “I need” to a place of “I would like” in terms of relationships. That’s the place to be if you want to find lasting love.


#3

Hi! I am sure this question has been thoroughly discussed elsewhere before. Generally i think you have to figure this out for yourself. There are many people here who will tell you what you should do & what the church says, but - it is your life & you are entitled to make decisions that are true for you. You are also entitled to make mistakes & then to learn from them. Who knows why some people come across our paths = God knows - maybe you should ask.him. Pls avoid scrupulosity - there are more important things. No one knows your personal situation or your heart except you & God - so it is up to you to decide based on what's important to you. And dont be afraid to take a risk. These categories you have are things you can decide on with self reflection & in prayer. What benefit is it to you, to hear all the rules/definitions & catechism teaching, if you honestly still cannot understand it or make it 'true' for yourself? I am catholic & i dont understand everything, but i know what is true for me. Whats that song? 'don't worry: be happy'. Thats my opinion cause you asked for it.


#4

[quote="Caroline723, post:2, topic:328726"]
The following is just my experience:

1) "falling in love" requires mutuality. A person needs to guard this part of his/her heart until they are in a relationship where reciprocity is demonstrated. Love is an act of the will. Falling in love is a mixture of attraction and a will (conscious deliberate act).

2) Lust and attraction are superficial and not to be relied on. If you are lusting after someone, it is a bad start to any relationship. If you are attracted to someone, it would be very good to examine what exactly you are attracted to. Is it because he is charming, aloof and cocky? or because he is humble, kind and devout? If he is is a mixture of these, be cautious.

3) Admiration is a willful decision. Like attraction, it would be good to ask yourself what you admire about the person.

4) There's no such thing as an intimate friendship between a man and woman. If either are married, it's disrespectful to the spouse and a violation of of the marriage vow. If both are single, why are they intimately friendly in a non-sexual way but not dating/married? Intimacy always includes attraction.

5) If a person has a habit of having unhealthy attachments to others (holding onto crushes; holding on to relationships after they've ended; losing their own identity when in a relationship; trying to find their identity in others, etc), this is not going to magically go away by finding "the one". If anything, it is the cause of mismatched marriages and divorces. If you sense you have a habit of unhealthy attachments, you will never have a healthy relationship until you address the source of that in counseling. Counseling will bring you from a place of "I need" to a place of "I would like" in terms of relationships. That's the place to be if you want to find lasting love.

[/quote]

In addition; I do think that this information should help you & is worthwhile considering. If you are able to apply this it would be good. Otherwise there is trial & error/experience!


#5

Usually we find out the answer to this Question when it's to late....
if you find the answer let me know....lol.
there is love then there is admiration as you mentioned... how can you tell them apart..
my clue is this.....
When two people think about the same issues when separated by work etc.
when your having dinner and your toes touch , and you feel electricity going through
your body..
when they offer to make you a coffee just when you think you would love a coffee....
things like that..... if these things happen, then you may be on a winner.


#6

Catholic80, I completely agree with Caroline.

The thing is, "What God has put together..." It's His job, and decision, to find - or not find - a spouse for us. We need to get out of His way.

What finally worked for me was taking time. Refusing to let myself be ruled by emotions - including lust disguised as attraction. (Yeah, our hormones can convince us that we're in love - but all they really want is for us to make babies. Just like some men will lie to get what they want.)

I decided that, at least at this point in my life, God wanted me to live as a single woman. So I stopped looking, and trusted Him.

Yes, after 8 years I met and married Mr. Right. But you now what? I don't think we'd have fallen in love if we had met 8 years earlier.

Thank you, Lord!


#7

[quote="Caroline723, post:2, topic:328726"]
The following is just my experience:

1) "falling in love" requires mutuality. A person needs to guard this part of his/her heart until they are in a relationship where reciprocity is demonstrated. Love is an act of the will. Falling in love is a mixture of attraction and a will (conscious deliberate act).

2) Lust and attraction are superficial and not to be relied on. If you are lusting after someone, it is a bad start to any relationship. If you are attracted to someone, it would be very good to examine what exactly you are attracted to. Is it because he is charming, aloof and cocky? or because he is humble, kind and devout? If he is is a mixture of these, be cautious.

3) Admiration is a willful decision. Like attraction, it would be good to ask yourself what you admire about the person.

4) There's no such thing as an intimate friendship between a man and woman. If either are married, it's disrespectful to the spouse and a violation of of the marriage vow. If both are single, why are they intimately friendly in a non-sexual way but not dating/married? Intimacy always includes attraction.

5) If a person has a habit of having unhealthy attachments to others (holding onto crushes; holding on to relationships after they've ended; losing their own identity when in a relationship; trying to find their identity in others, etc), this is not going to magically go away by finding "the one". If anything, it is the cause of mismatched marriages and divorces. If you sense you have a habit of unhealthy attachments, you will never have a healthy relationship until you address the source of that in counseling. Counseling will bring you from a place of "I need" to a place of "I would like" in terms of relationships. That's the place to be if you want to find lasting love.

[/quote]

Thank you for that. It has helped clarify things for me. Perhaps I should explain a bit further.

I definitely do NOT want an attraction to this person! As I stated earlier, that would be completely out of the question and lead to some serious sin. This person is a teacher of mine who has helped me tremendously. I have known him for 2 years now, but within the past few months, I found myself thinking about him and being happy every time I see him. None of the thoughts are lustful or anything of the sort, but I started to wonder my delight in seeing him was more than admiration and friendship. Maybe it's scruples, and then again, maybe it's prudence.

Do I just enjoy his presence because he has helped me so much and he is an awesome teacher and I admire him as a person, or am I subtly getting attracted or attached to him? Is it admiration and respect, or attraction, or both?

Is there a way I can still be around him and learn from him and be prudent not to allow any inappropriate feelings or thoughts? Or am I misinterpreting my feelings of admiration for attraction and just being scrupulous?


#8

[quote="Caroline723, post:2, topic:328726"]
The following is just my experience:

1) "falling in love" requires mutuality. A person needs to guard this part of his/her heart until they are in a relationship where reciprocity is demonstrated. Love is an act of the will. Falling in love is a mixture of attraction and a will (conscious deliberate act).

2) Lust and attraction are superficial and not to be relied on. If you are lusting after someone, it is a bad start to any relationship. If you are attracted to someone, it would be very good to examine what exactly you are attracted to. Is it because he is charming, aloof and cocky? or because he is humble, kind and devout? If he is is a mixture of these, be cautious.

3) Admiration is a willful decision. Like attraction, it would be good to ask yourself what you admire about the person.

4) There's no such thing as an intimate friendship between a man and woman. If either are married, it's disrespectful to the spouse and a violation of of the marriage vow. If both are single, why are they intimately friendly in a non-sexual way but not dating/married? Intimacy always includes attraction.

5) If a person has a habit of having unhealthy attachments to others (holding onto crushes; holding on to relationships after they've ended; losing their own identity when in a relationship; trying to find their identity in others, etc), this is not going to magically go away by finding "the one". If anything, it is the cause of mismatched marriages and divorces. If you sense you have a habit of unhealthy attachments, you will never have a healthy relationship until you address the source of that in counseling. Counseling will bring you from a place of "I need" to a place of "I would like" in terms of relationships. That's the place to be if you want to find lasting love.

[/quote]

I disagree with #4

My husband and I are high school sweethearts, and are still very close intimate friends with some people from back then. One is the godfather of our child. I consider him a brother to me and when he visits we often have intimate conversations.

I think you meant that if ONE spouse is intimate friends with a person of the opposite sex but the other is NOT, then it is inappropriate. Am I right in assuming that is what you meant?


#9

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