We’ve all heard the saying, “Love is blind.” This blindness typically occurs in the first few months of dating someone new. When infatuation is high and emotions are so strong, they can overwhelm all other concerns, even if this new person is completely wrong for you.
If you feel these strong feelings or even love for this person before knowing the important things about them—their childhood, past relationships, how they deal with emotions—you could be blindly in love. But is blind love really bad or can it be romantic?
Blind love can be fun, new, and exciting, says Julie Williamson, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in relationships.
“If it’s someone you haven’t known in other contexts—someone you met randomly—the mystery of getting to know them can be enticing, especially if the attraction is strong. Also, not knowing the person in other contexts, means you’ve only experienced them in a romantic context, so you don’t have potentially negative aspects of the person creeping in on your newfound excitement.”
In addition, fantasizing about the ‘what ifs’ can be romantic, as well. But with the fun and romance associated with blind love, comes the pitfalls… some of which can be dangerous.
“Blindly ignoring signals, your intuition, or friends and family who love you can cause you heartache later,” says Kim Olver, a coach and author of “Secrets of Happy Couples.”
We can also be setting ourselves for a failing relationship by rushing into something so quickly.
“Blind love can be dangerous because we can find ourselves emotionally, physically, and maybe even financially attached to someone we don’t very well. We set ourselves up for being duped down the road when that person doesn’t turn out to be who they said they were, but we attached ourselves before truly getting to know them,” says Williamson.
Dr. Racine R. Henry, a NYC-based licensed marriage and family therapist, says it can also cause abuse and a power imbalance.
“If a person knows they can cheat, lie, or otherwise mistreat their partner and still have that other person’s loyalty and affection, a lack of respect can develop. In less serious ways, blind love can be interpreted as a lack of standards or boundaries,” she explains. “Maybe your partner won’t include you in their personal life, or invite you to any events. If a person knows you’re blindly pursuing a relationship with them, they may not feel the need to consider your feelings.”
Given the potential risks that come with blind love, it’s important to identify when you’re in it and whether the relationship is taking a healthy path or a dangerous one. If blind love prompts you to not express your needs or downplay when your feelings are hurt, this can be a dangerous, slippery slope.
“However, if the blind love holds you accountable to your partner and reminds you of how the other person forgives and respects you despite your own flaws, that can be the beginning of a mature and healthy relationship,” says Henry. “Love, in any form, should never involve suffering.”
Another key sign the relationship is heading down a dangerous path, is if your family and friends are encouraging you to end the relationship. Often when we’re blind in love, the only people who can see the relationship clearly are those closest to us. So take what they’re saying into serious consideration. These are the people you know love you, care for you, and want you to be happy.
The reality is, most relationships start out blind because it takes a while to really get to know someone. “Unless you take a relationship at a turtle pace and work on a friendship first (aka NO SEX), most relationships start out as a blind or chemical based love. It’s how our bodies are wired and programmed,” says Sue Sexton, a licensed psychologist.
“For anyone who wants to play it safe, create a rule for yourself to build friendships first. The foundation of a friendship can always evolve to a meaningful lover and partner later, in fact the odds are greater for this positive outcome.”
And, Sexton adds, if you just can’t control those physical desires, have firm boundaries like, no moving in, no borrowing money, no sharing private account information, etc.
“Keep other parts of your life separate until you know each other at least a full season first (as in a full year),” she advises. “Because the chemical love usually wears off by then.”