The experience of falling in love is in direct response to special qualities of the beloved. By insisting that it is this unique man or this unique woman, the lover rejects any notion that individuals are interchangeable. In this way, love becomes a celebration of individuality. Romantic love is antithetical to promiscuity in which the interchangeability of lovers are stressed.
The lover comes to value all the characteristics of the beloved. This does not mean love is blind, as some claim, but that the lover’s appraisal will be significantly different from that of objective acquaintances.
Some insignificant detail may trigger the initial romantic reverie. The way he/she tosses their hair back or talks on the phone. I personally believe that such details tell much about a person. They are signals as to the way a person sees themselves and these triggers tend to be visual especially for men.
The difference between idealization and falling in love is that in falling in love the lover senses that the beloved can fulfill some deep need. In love the lover concentrates all their desire on the single object of their passion. The lover desires the beloved with their soul and with their body. It is the single mindedness of purpose, the sheer intensity of desire, its power and apparent fixation which alarm friends. The lover has symbolically destroyed the rest of the world.
The vulnerable period of “opening up”
Falling in love is predicated on risk taking. In order to achieve mutual love, one must gamble on opening up psychically to achieve real intimacy and mutuality. One becomes vulnerable by revealing oneself to the Other. Therefore falling in love requires an ability to trust oneself and the beloved and risk becoming the object of fear and hatred. This can be too big a barrier for some who are too frightened they won’t be accepted. In the beginning of love, passion may be nipped in the bud if the lover discovers that the beloved is bad; the beloved’s reputation dangerous, because without trust in the beloved there is no hope trusting that one can safely reveal oneself. Also, the lover may be unable to open up if the lover has been badly wounded before. This is another common barrier to falling in love.
The insecure lover may wage a campaign of seduction and manipulation to woo the beloved. The lover may try to persuade the beloved to love first, before the lover risks opening up. The lover’s manipulations may be successful in securing love. But those who employ these techniques impair their chances of falling in love. Insofar as the lover feels inferior to the beloved, the lover cannot totally experience love themselves. Such a person would prefer to be the beloved than the lover.
Self protective people cannot allow themselves to fall in love until the beloved has already declared themselves. They appear distanced from the normal emotionality of the experience of falling in love, but may change once the beloved utters the words “I love you”.